Saturday, April 20, 2013

The Proclaimers, Spring Training, and a few other notes

So, what's been going on?

S and I made a New Year's Resolution to put 2000 miles on the bike this year. This mileage goal probably isn't that impressive compared to more seasoned riders, but for us, this is a task that will require some intentionality to achieve. It's certainly not an impossible goal, but it's one that will require consistent effort. So, like The Proclaimers professed (proclaimed?) "I would walk 500 miles (and I would walk 500 more)," we'll be biking 500 miles, then biking 500 more, then repeating that sequence.:) We're really excited about this. We're close to meeting our quarterly goal of 500 miles by the end of April, assuming we can get a longer ride in this weekend and the next.

How has our riding been going?

I can safely characterize our rides so far as: wind, wind, and more demoralizing wind. There is nothing like wind to suck the lifeforce out of you, like nothing else. Maybe it's always this windy, maybe spring has just been unusually harsh, or maybe the wind is affecting us more due to our improving speeds, but man, oh, man, is the wind just so ridiculously horrible. There have been rides where it seems we have headwinds in every direction we turn (I realize that's probably not possible, but still....) One ride back in February, the crosswind gusts were so serious, I was having a hard time keeping my bike in a straight line and not ending up in a ditch along Tuckerman Lane. When I'm in these positions, I try to conjure up Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen in my head and try to remember the pieces of advice they give during the Tour de France coverage (something about eschelons?), but nothing helps. I'm developing my lower back muscles as I spend so much time in the drops trying to keep out of the wind as much as possible. I keep thinking that when the weather heats up, we'll somehow be happy to have wind, but I am not so sure.

A secret trail

I hesitate to mention our secret trail, but I feel I have to mention it because I can't believe how little use it gets, compared to the jam-packed Capital Crescent and the W&OD. We've recently discovered a nice 32-or-so mile round-trip run from our house out to Lake Artemisia in College Park. We start on Sligo Creek Parkway, move on to the Sligo Creek trail, and then the Northwest and Northeast Branch trails, along the waterway, and through parks, beside the tiny College Park airport, until we reach the lake. The trails are well-marked, well paved, and seemingly lightly used. What gives? I don't know. But we've found it to be a great, flat recovery ride along lovely scenery.

On Sundays, Sligo Creek Parkway is closed to vehicular traffic between Takoma Park and Philadelphia Avenue. It's not a long stretch--maybe a mile? -- but it is a flat, winding road along the creek. It's hard to get more scenic and peaceful.

Finally, if you see this guy cycling around:

....he's with me.

1 comment:

B said...

Yes, it's entirely possible to have headwinds both ways, since early-ride winds and late-ride winds often have different patterns.

E.g., in Chicago I had a commute not far from the lake. There was one block that was consistently a steep headwind for both morning and evening trips. On good days, I'd blame the triangular building on the block for this pattern; on bad days, I'd just assume the world hated me.