That’s More Like It

Winter’s been stubbornly hanging on here in eastern Kansas, with more snow, more cold temperatures, and even an ice storm last weekend.

I haven’t been out much on the bike in the last two weeks, and those were mostly short spins.

I’ve been thinking about my fit issues (see 76 Miles: Ouch, That Hurt), but haven’t come to any real conclusions.

This week has actually been a fairly active one for me. Monday, I walked perhaps two miles through snow/ice-covered fields and woods. Tuesday I drove down to Hillsdale Lake and hiked maybe four miles on the trails there. Wednesday, I walked 4.5 miles on gravel roads near my house.

A side note: Gravel roads, while great for bike riding, kind of suck for walking. There are only a very few route choices within a short distance, and while the scenery is interesting and varied, it’d get old quick. And dogs are far worse on foot than on bike. On a bike, you’re by them in just a few seconds, but walking, you have to listen to them yammer for several minutes. Annoying. I think walking is one activity that’s much better in town (or at least in small towns or urban areas; suburbia is very unfriendly to pedestrians).

By Thursday, the temperatures were moderating, and I got out for a nice 22-mile bike ride.

Friday, I headed out in early afternoon, thinking I’d do maybe 30 miles. But the sun was shining in a cloudless sky, temperatures were pushing 40°F, and the wind was very slight. I hit my 30-mile turn-around point, and just kept riding and riding.

I finished up a few hours later at 51 miles, and felt great. It was the best I’ve felt on the bike in a very long time.

No foot problems. Very slight beck-shoulder tension, but not bad at all.

I’m now wondering if my previous difficulties were less fit problems than acclimation problems. Was this a case of too-much-too-soon? Did I ramp up my mileage too quickly? Perhaps…

I did do something to address the foot numbness issue. Working off the theory that it was caused by combination of the toe warmers and sandals, I decided to switch from sandals to regular shoes. But my shoes are exactly the right size, which makes them too small when adding multiple layers of socks.

So I purchased a new pair of shoes, one size larger than normal. I found a good deal on a used pair of Exustar Comp 420’s on eBay. They’re a few years old, but appear to be nearly new; there’s no wear at all on the tread. And they seem to work fine with several layers of socks. And thru 73 miles over two days, no numbness at all. Yay!

So the plan is, to try ramping up the mileage again, slower this time, and hopefully the weather will start to be more cooperative. I have a big week of riding and adventure planned for mid-March, and a 200K Brevet on late March. It should be a big month for me.

February, even with the lousy weather, was a pretty good month mileage-wise: 323 miles over only 9 rides. I might even get a few more if I get out on Sunday…

A couple pics:

The after-effects of an ice storm. Ice was perhaps a quarter-inch thick, and covered all the grass and trees.

On the shore of Hillsdale Lake, with the cold wind off the lake stirring up the mud along the shoreline.

No pics from the bike rides. I was covering familiar territory, and the scenery’s not much to look at this time of year, unless you like endless shades of brown….

DirtBum Written by:

I enjoy riding bicycles all over -- city streets, suburbia, rural roads, gravel roads, dirt roads, rail-trails, and singletrack. I love exploring the countryside and finding the interesting and historical treasures hidden in plain sight. You can follow my rides on Strava.

One Comment

  1. March 13, 2010

    The road seems perfect for a cross country bicycling. Makes me feel like to ride a bike right now!

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