To reward myself for having a day off of work, I decided to go for a bike ride. After completing a marathon, I’m been mulling over training up to do some kind of a triathlon thingie. Sunday — yesterday — I did my 20&20 deal, running 20 km and riding my bike 20 km. Why not reinforce that with some more pain?
I headed off into town, and looped around to the north and along the river. The city was alive with everyone heading off to work or just plain already working, and the weather was nice and cool. The scenery was awesome. And the road was flat. I’ll just take it nice and easy, I told myself, and maybe do 25 flat miles. The bike path followed the road up around the bend in the river, and then the paved bike route just ended. But a dirt one went further. So did I.
It was gently angling up, climbing gently. Well, this is fine, I told myself. It’s not too hard. The path was following the river, and was cut into what was becoming a cliff. Up above me somewhere was the K?nigstuhl, up on the peak of the ridge line. I certainly can’t try and ride up there — at least not today, I told myself. Not a 1600 foot climb.
And then I came to the proverbial fork in the road. The path split — some of it went down, and some of it headed up. I was at about the ten mile mark. I’ll just ride up the hill a little bit, and see where it goes.
Four or so miles later, and I was at the K?nigstuhl. Wow, I can be an idiot sometimes.
I rode almost the whole way up. There were two stretches when I did not — one ten minute stretch that was very steep and with very loose gravel, and on which I could not keep traction, and one very short spot where I had to walk to get up and over to a paved road that intersected my path. Other than that, I was in my lowest low gear, and just grinding it out the whole way up.
Ironically, I practically did not see another soul the whole time I was climbing to the K?nigstuhl. Once — just once — I stopped to drink some water, and while I was sitting there sipping away, out of the woods comes another guy on a mountain bike and sporting legs of steel, and he rolls by me as if it was no big deal. Why did it have to be when I was sitting on my laurels?
There was some real beauty on this trip. On one stretch of paved road, just after the K?nigstuhl, it was dark and dreary. The road was wet — smooth and dark. The canopy of trees seemed to wholly block out the sun, and if I could see through them, I knew there was nothing but clouds, as they were rolling through the area. And then POOF! something changed, and spots of sunlight broke through the trees and make patchwork of the wet street. It was a neat trick.
When I had been riding up one particularly steep part earlier, the path on which I rode had no overhead cover, to trees blocking out the run, and it was all open and airy. And as I came to a little rise, I could see a significant change in the foliage — no underbrush now, and big trees with lots of canopy. Well, I thought, if I’m going to get jumped by elves, this would be the place. It was right out of The Lord of the Rings or something….
The best part of the whole ride — besides the views — was the ride back down. I had two choices — down the roads, where I would compete with the cars, or down the dirt trails I run, where I would certainly fall and die. I chose the latter, of course. It was a blast. My hands hurt from pressing the brakes so much. I developed a farmer tan at the sock line — my legs were caked, just caked, in mud. But it was awesome.
I put together a Google Earth file of the trip. It actually has two files of the ride today — one that is color coded for the change in elevation, and one that is color coded for the speed. Both of these I generate at this website, which will take a Garmin file (I split the history file here) and spit out a Google Earth file in any of a number of different ways.
We took the kids to the pool tonight; princess has swim class, and the boy had swim team practice (!). While there, I scoped out the hours and days when I can try to get into the pool. Current thinking is something like this:
- Monday: AM (meaning before work), ride. Lunch, gym.
- Tuesday: AM pool, lunch run
- Wednesday: AM pool, lunch run
- Thursday: AM ride, lunch gym (maybe)
- Friday: Rest
- Saturday: ride and run, or all three maybe.
One option down the road, post swim lessons, if for the daughter to join the swim team, too. If that happens, I’ll likely look at the senior league — it’d be just 20 euros (annually!) for me to join, and train Monday and Thursday nights.
Um, yeah — training on a German team. That would be different.