Today I went on a very difficult bike ride, perhaps the most difficult I've ever done. It was only 15 miles, and I've done rides with greater total elevation changes, but not on similar terrain. The other climbs I've done were gradually up, climbing to a high point and then turning around. This was route traversed canyons, up one side, down the other. Eight of the miles were flat. So, 1300 feet in 7 miles, up one side, plateau, down the other, repeat.
I've driven this route before and the hills can make a car overheat in the summer. The cool part, of course, is going down the hills. The steepest hill was a switch back, so I didn't get to let it open up right there. But, there's a section that's 1/4 mile long and here's what happened. Note that the big number is the speedometer (it's reading interference from the phone) but the number 49.4 was the max speed on the ride.
That speed on those skinny little tires is kind of scary, especially one old country back roads that receive minimal upkeep. To make matters worse, with my head down gravity and wind conspired to pour gobs of sweaty sunscreen in my left eye. One eye, down a road I've never ridden a bike on going 50 mph. AWESOME!
I also thought I'd share a cool graph. The hills are fairly accurate, but for some reason, the computer changed the distance from 15 and change to 21 miles. So, the inclines are actually considerably steeper.
Today, after the first steep climb at mile 4.7, which was actually the worst climb as it just kept getting steeper as I went, it struck me why running hills is easier than riding them. Hills are the hardest part of either sport (in my opinion), but while running, I can zone out and just push. As long as I can provide oxygen and fuel to my muscles, I can go. While riding, I'm using a machine to the limits of my ability and there's a certain coordination/dexterity that is a learned behavior, not an inherent genetic ability. Both sports are largely mental, but the equipment changes things. Some people prefer the aspect of the equipment, but not me.
Saturday I'm going to run a few miles at the high school track, just see how everything feels. At this point, I'm concerned that I actually have a broken foot instead of just a sprained one. There was never any significant swelling or lack of strength, just pain. But it's not healing like a minor sprain. I hope I'm just getting old and it really is a sprain!
The real issue, on the other leg, the Soleus/Achilles is feeling better and better. Just some minor pain this AM at the bottom of my heel when I got out of bed. But those types of pain are normal for me as I've really trashed both of my ankles in two separate accidents while in the military.
Anyhow, while that was the hardest bike ride ever (only one other comes close), it was also the most exciting. Like running, I fought NOT to bargained with myself during the ride:
Take the easier route home, you're tired. You'll make it up later.
No, I got this, though that last hill is scary.
When it hurts, you're getting to the good part.
Last thing: Plateau...I've not broken it. Since dipping down to 208 my weight has fluctuated from 211 to 215 like before. I'm not really worried about it and only share to keep record of some of the events that occur as one loses weight. My body fat is dropping and I'm putting on muscle, still visibly so. I'm stronger each week and the width of my hands and feet are shrinking, while veins bulge in places never before seen. And considering that I've been on vacation for three weeks and have maintained my weight is an accomplishment. I've got free reign over the pantry, fridge and could swing by Wendy's for a frosty at any time. So, I'm doing ok. :D
I will stay the course for now, and continue to fight those bad eating habits (though their number is ever diminishing).