2000 miles and counting

2000 Miles on a bikeThis picture was taken yesterday, about 5 miles south of town. It’s the odometer on my Trek 1000 road bike, crossing over 2000 miles. I bought the bike about a year plus 2 weeks ago, so basically I’ve ridden 2000 miles in just a bit over a year.

So, for a year of road biking (this is my first road bike – always rode on mountain bikes before), here are some of the highlights:

Biking with horses

One day last summer, I was riding north of town when I passed a farm that had several horses in a very large enclosed field. I’d often passed this place, and the horses would usually stand there and watch me go by. This time, they decided to run with me.

Horses are generally much faster than people. A pro racing cyclist might be able to produce 3 horsepower of energy for a couple of seconds, but will only be able to sustain about half a horsepower for any length of time. (A horsepower is about 750 watts. Lance Armstrong could sustain 400 watts for a long time, and could hit 2000 for just a couple seconds in a sprint). I’m far from a pro racer, so I wasn’t even doing that. Yet the horses weren’t just running as fast as they could to run away, they were running right alongside me, just a few feet away.

When we got to the fence at the end of their enclosure, the horses slowed and stopped, but looked at me as if to say “just remember, we could drop you.”

My First Century

In cycling lingo, a ride of 100 miles is called a “century.” I rode one last July, taking the better part of a saturday to ride to Nauvoo and back with another cyclist I’d met during one of the local club rides. I was actually surprised at how tired I wasn’t. I thought I would be exhausted and in pain by the time we got back, but I actually felt pretty good. We did the century in just over 6 hours, which I’m told is a pretty respectable time.

Fastest I’ve Ever Gone

Last fall, the local cycling club went for a ride that included a big hill out by a rock quarry. A friend challenged me to race DOWN the long, reasonably steep hill. On the way down, my top speed was over 52 MPH (84kph). It was both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time – imagine the damage it would cause to crash at that speed, especially wearing typical road bike clothes, which don’t offer any protection from road rash at all. I later joked that if I ever do that again, I’m taking my helmet off first so that if I do crash, I likely won’t live to deal with the aftermath.

Oh, and I lost the race. Archie topped 55 MPH that day.

So, a year of serious road biking, and I’ve done some interesting things. This next year I hope to do another 2000 miles (or more!) and have even more fun pushing myself, staying in shape, and making new friends.