Monday, September 13, 2010

goals: ride the entire virginia creeper trail

I've actually already ridden the Creeper Trail with Patrick, twice. The entire thing runs from Abingdon, through Damascus, past Green Cove Station and finally to White Top Station in Virginia.

The typical trail biker takes a shuttle to Green Cove and coasts down to Damascus (with a little pedaling). If they catch you riding up the trail, they'll likely give you a "You're going the wrong way!" and a friendly laugh.

The first time Patrick and I got on the Creeper Trail, we started in Damascus, headed to Green Top, then back to Damascus. About 30 miles total.

The second and most recent time we rode (three and a half years ago), we road from Abingdon all the way to White Top, back to Abingdon. That was 70 miles.

So why is this a goal? What do I want to do differently?

Well for one, I'll be about 30 pounds lighter than I was on the last ride. I'm just curious to see how that changes my experience.

Also, no more tears. NO TEARS!

Ummm, because I totally cried at the end of the last ride. And by "the end," I mean the last ten miles. My butt, etc., was sore. My legs kinda stopped working. And I kept getting slower, in the most excruciating way: When I was 7 miles out, I looked at my speedometer and it read 7 miles an hour, and I thought "Yes! Just one hour!" Except that when I was six miles out, and I looked at my speedometer, it read 6 miles an hour. Sisyphus, indeed.

I'd like to finish the ride with a little less pain; I'd like to enjoy the ride up a bit more. And I'd like to be an overall better cyclist by the time we tackle this.

Patrick and I are planning to head to the trail in November. For the first time in years, I got on my bike yesterday for a serious ride. It was about 23 miles and not challenging at all (except for the length of the ride). And I was wiped out. My heart was actually in pretty good shape, but my legs -- it was ridiculous. I got to a point about halfway through the ride that I lost all will to push harder. Luckily, I have a cyclist husband who's willing to slow down his pace, guilt-free.

goal strategy

- I've been attending spin class at least once and week, and I'll keep that up. I'll focus on building up my resistance to those climbs the instructor pushes us to do.

- I want to get back on the road with Patrick for some long, leisurely rides. They'll be warm-up versions of the Creeper Trail, but I want to spend as much time with my butt in the seat as possible.

- I think working on my abs (I'm attending at least one ab class at the gym a week) will help me tolerate a lot of time in that seated, hunched position.

- And going prepared will help: plenty of water, hearty snacks. I think I may have been able to handle our 23-mile ride better if I'd had some nuts and fruit.

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