Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I am toast!

I've been here in the swamps of North Carolina for the last several days. Until today I had only been out for rides of about 10 to 15 miles. There has been a lot of family going on and with the shorter days I haven't gotten as many miles as I thought I would.

Well, today I went for a ride with the beautiful red head. She is doing very well. She looks like she's been doing it for years. She just hasn't gotten any base miles at all. I think I might just win her over!

After warming up with her, I headed out on my own. My goal was to go out to Highway 410 and just ride straight ahead for 20 miles and then turn around and ride 20 miles back. Once I reached Bladenboro I saw a sign that let me know the town of Chadburn would come along right about the time I reached my goal. So, I set my sights on Chadburn.

Man, I was flying! It wasn't because I was going down hill either. It doesn't get much flatter than around here. If you stop pedaling, you stop rolling. But here I was easily hitting 25 mph and holding it there. I intentionally made myself slow down because I was afraid I would wear myself out.

I made it to Chadburn averaging over 22 mph. At a couple of points in the ride, I was pedaling at 21 mph with one leg and then the other. Wow, I would be knocking these 40 miles out in no time!

My euphoria ceased when I reached Chadburn and turned around. As soon as I did, I realized why I was making such good time. I turned into a pretty strong headwind -- which of course was my tailwind on the way out. What a sinking feeling! I knew I had just as far to go back and it would be 100% into the wind.

I was lucky on the way back to get up to 19 mph. As I went between coves of trees I would get a little relief and get speeds up to 20 mph. Then I would be out in the middle of cotton fields and the wind would nearly stand me up at times. It was time to suffer.

I kept at it getting the occasional motivation from the dogs that came out to chase me. Of course, that just used up energy I needed to fight the wind. I felt like I was in some Roman myth with the wind god laughing at me. As I would speed up to fight against the wind, he would just blow all the harder.

Amazingly I was able to hold my 20 mph average speed for the trip until mile 38. That was right as I entered Bladenboro on the return. Four more miles to go... My average dropped like a rock at that point and I ended up with a 19.6 mph average. It felt so good to get off the bike. My Garmin told me I had burned 2,800 calories. I said, "Yeah, right!" I felt like I had burned away two days of my life!

I'm reminded again why I love riding in the Upstate. Sure, those climbs are hard, but there is time to recover. Around here it is just dig in and hold it. I imagine the climbing makes for stronger legs, but the constant pedaling has got to do something good for you... I think.



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