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Rocinante Goals

October 20, 2013

Prior to this weekend I had ridden the Magnum trike (need to come up with a name for my trike) three times: 0.4 miles around the bike shop on Friday, October 11th, the day I bought it, 1.1 miles the next day riding on the Tanglefoot Trail, and 1.5 miles the next day, Sunday, just riding out of my driveway and a short distance locally.  So, a total of three miles the first weekend I had the trike.  “Pathetic,” you say (I heard you, don’t deny it), but given that I can tire out taking a shower I thought it was a fairly good weekend.

Last weekend it was all brand new and I was learning what I could currently manage, but I set two simple goals to achieve by year’s end: trend upward on each week’s riding distance and be able to do ten miles on a single outing.  I think of it as trending upward as opposed to riding more miles each week simply because some weekends weather may preclude riding, and I’m not sure the roller I bought is going to work out for riding — or pedaling — indoors.  But if, as time progresses, I can generally do longer distances on an outing and tend to bike (trike?) more miles per week, I’ll call that goal met.

In theory I get every other Friday off from the salt mine, but this weekend didn’t include one of those Fridays, so Tanya, Zach, and I planned to go riding Saturday morning.  We got to the trail around 8:30 or so, clear day, cool (didn’t check the temperature, but cool), overcast so no sun issues, and a fairly strong breeze blowing.  Tanya, Zach, and I were riding, but predetermined we wouldn’t try and stay together the entire route.  I climbed aboard Maybellene Clyde Eugene Shadowfax the Magnum trike and headed north.  Heading north lets me start uphill, meaning it would be downhill coming back.  I hadn’t even made the first mile marker on the previous weekend, so was targeting at least getting to that mile marker.  There and back would be a two mile ride, and I hoped to push past that to do at least another half mile, getting in a five mile ride.  I thought it a bit ambitious, but worth a shot.

The first mile went by surprisingly easy, and I stopped at that point for a short breather.  I don’t plan to push things; I’ve ridden in the back of an ambulance once, many years ago, don’t want to do it again.  I think moving from extreme couch potato to someone who is physically active should be a reasonably slow progression.  But I did think another mile would be doable.  I had started at mile marker 25, and was at mile marker 26.  I decided to see if I could make marker 27, so I pressed on.

The slope changed somewhere around mile marker 26 from a slight uphill climb to a slight downhill slope.  As the Tanglefoot Trail is a rails to trails project, there aren’t any really steep climbs, but I don’t need a steep climb to notice it’s more difficult, thank you very much.  The small grades are noticeable to me, even with the twenty-seven gear options on Old Red Red Triclops the Magnum trike. But I geared up (down? Still not sure if it’s up/down) and made good time over the next mile. I rode up to mile marker 27, two miles (actually 2.06, but who’s being exact (ME!)) from where I started, and paused for another rest break. Assuming I made it back, I had exceeded my target for the day — but I was feeling good, so decided another mile might be doable. Geared down (up?), Trikezilla Bocephus Magnumous Rocinante . . . yeah, I’m a Rush fan, hopefully Don Quixote won’t mind, and I’ll be set for any black holes or windmills I might encounter . . . Rocinante it is.

So, where was I? Oh yeah, Rocinante’s gear settings allow easy pedaling for the grades you face on the Tanglefoot Trail, I was still feeling good at the second mile, so decided to push on one more mile. All downhill, meaning up hill on the return, but what the heck. The nice thing about the stretch after mile marker 27 on the Tanglefoot Trail is that you have been through all of the Pontotoc intersections. Cars have the right of way, so you have to slow down to a near stop — or stop — at each of these intersections. From mile marker 25 to mile marker 27, there were seven intersections to navigate. Losing speed to a crawl or a complete stop each time was a pain, and those were behind me. I decided I could make another mile, so proceeded on.

In the reclined position on the trike I’ve a tough time visually knowing if I’m going slightly uphill or slightly downhill, but based on pedaling and gear settings, mile three, from marker 27 to 28, was a slight downhill grade, so easy going.  I stopped again at marker 28 to take a breath.  I got my iPhone out, checked the map/satellite, and noticed how close I was to the twin trestles that go under Highway 278.  I wanted to go over those trestles.  Heck, I thought, what’s another mile (in the back of my brain was a voice say “It’s another mile back!” but I successfully ignored that voice).  The last mile had been uninterrupted by crossings, cars, houses; it had been a nice ride through trees, it was still cool and comfortable, and was still overcast.  I went for it.

Did the next mile quickly as it was downhill, though the trestles were a tad disappointing in that I couldn’t see over the sides and the wooden planks rattled my brain cells.  I had wanted to check the view, but didn’t stop.  I plan to start taking my Nikon D5100 with me once I get a smaller case for just the camera and attached lens I can carry in Rocinante’s luggage bag on the back rack.  I’ll stop and take some shots when I do.

Mile marker 29 was a bit past the two trestles, and I again pulled in for a rest.  At this point I knew I didn’t need to push on, but just manage the four miles back.  I’d vastly exceeded what I thought I could do even if I collapsed now — which I sincerely hoped I didn’t do.  I was still feeling  good, though I was getting tired.  I felt I could make it back without much trouble, again resting at each mile marker, so was very happy with what I’d done for the day.  Yeah, ten miles was only an extra mile and back, but I didn’t think it would be wise.  The ride back wasn’t bad, though I was very happy to cross the hump and head downhill that final mile.

I didn’t notice exactly what time I started or finished, but would estimate close to two hours, so under 5 MPH.  That’s okay, I’d like to get that up to eight or nine miles per hour, but I think time will take care of that.  This morning, I went back and did another four miles (yes, I’m sore) and rested routinely on that trip as well, taking a couple of extra rest breaks on the return as I seemed to tire more quickly today.  Total time was 45 minutes, so bumped the average speed up to 5.3 mph.

If you’ve read this far, first off congratulations; you are part of an extremely select few.  Second, you may be thinking What a pitiful fellow, 15 miles in two weeks, I do that in the first forty-five minutes of my daily ride!  I that is your thought, let me point out if you averaged 50 miles per week over the last twenty years, you’d be at 52,000 miles.  My total during that time was about eight miles on a bike I bought about eighteen years ago.  Let’s see, naught carry the naught, you need to do 97,500 miles over the next two weeks to show the same improvement.  🙂

Cost-wise, I’ve a drastically reduced the expense of Racinante; adding twelve miles this weekend dropped the price per mile of riding the Rocinante from $1,367 to $273.  It’s almost a bargain now.

Enough for today, World; keep hanging in there.

Your friend,

Rick

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