Monday, July 31, 2006

July 21...100+ degrees, again!

Did the Wye Mtn loop again for my long ride, which was OK for the first 40 miles. It was the last 22 miles that nearly killed me. Since I started the ride at 8:15am, it was about 11am by the time I headed toward Two Rivers to finish the last hour and a half. There was no air, I couldn't breath, and my feet were on fire! I cursed the stupid socks I decided to wear that day thinking they were the problem. I finally stopped and ripped them off my feet and rode back to Pinnacle Mtn park without socks. I had serious doubts about making it back to my van. It didn't matter if I was going up hill, downhill, pedaling, or not pedaling, I could not breath! I had plenty of fluids and food so I knew that wasn't it. My only prayer was that I would return safely to the park. I was extremely thankful once I did. I finally found some use for the breathing techniques we learned in Lamaze since it didn't help whatsoever during childbirth.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Tuesday, July 18...it's 106 degrees!

Yeah, today I'm supposed to ride for an hour and fifteen minutes, and guess what? It's just 106 degrees down here in tropical Arkansas! So I decide to ride at 3pm after I finished with lectures. Even though the temperature is excruciating I think it will be OK riding flat on the Little Rock river trail.

So I drive down to the trail, passing the bank thermometer that reads "106" and I park my van, which is the only vehicle parked at the start of the river trail. Unusual? I thought I was just one of the only fools to attempt a workout on such a hot day. I did all the usual prep stuff and then got on my bike and proceeded down the trail. I got maybe a mile down the trail when I noticed an orange plastic fence blocking the path. What's that all about? As I got closer I noticed the wooden bridge which connects the trail to Riverfront Drive was closed. Now what? Well, to make a really long, miserable story short. I decided to ride up River Mountain Drive, a 1/2 long incline of about 10%. It wouldn't have been so bad had there been some oxygen in the air, but there wasn't. So it was pretty miserable. I managed to ride for about 55 minutes around a "rolling hill" neighborhood close-by. I couldn't wait to get back into my air conditioned van. I just love Arkansas summer!

Rain Ride, Friday, July 14, 2006

Here I go, out on my weekly long ride, alone, from Pinnacle Mtn. park, for 3.5 hours. Fun, huh? I liked the Wye Mtn. ride so much the week before I decided to do it again! And just to make things interesting for me this week, Mother Nature decided to send some rain upon me.

It wasn't too bad at first. I was thankful for the cloud coverage so that the sun wasn't beating down on me. It was all good until I reached Hwy-300 heading back toward Pinnacle Mtn park. Then the down pour hit...and it didn't let up! I thought about pulling over and waiting for the rain to pass over, but realized it would just take longer to finish the ride and I was already in somewhat of a hurry since I had to pick up my sister at the airport at 1pm. There wasn't any traffic on the roads. I don't think two cars went by me between Hwy-113 and Hwy-300 so I figured, "What the heck. It'll be good riding experience in case it rains on IM day." I did learn a few things. Sunglasses are not good protection from the rain. They just blind you. Even with wearing contacts, you're better off taking the glasses off and getting rain in your eyes, otherwise you won't be able to see a thing in a down pour. Braking with wet tires is scary. Fortunately, I didn't have the need to come to a complete stop at any point during this ride, but if the need arose it would have been a challenge. It's just like driving in the snow up north, you have to "pump" your brakes otherwise you'll spin out.

The rain eventually let up. But just when I thought it was over I got rained on some more, not as hard, but just enough to irritate me. Boy, was I happy to have that ride over with. The whole time I was riding I thought Milan would be home concerned about me riding in such conditions. I came home to find out it hardly rained at all in Little Rock!

Friday, July 7, 2003, "Why? Mtn" Ride

So today I decided to try a new bike route. After talking with some people at master's swim practice this morning I decided to go out to Pinnacle Mountain and do the "Wye Mountain" route. It sounded a little scary, but I needed something a little more challenging than the flat River front trail. I wanted a "real" ride.

Well, a real ride is exactly what I got. I have to admit, my first concern was "Am I going to get hit by some redneck driving a truck?" Once I got going on highway 10, heading west-bound, which I had never even driven because the furthest west I ever had to go on Hwy-10 was to the Super Wal-Mart at the intersection of Hwy-10 and Chenal Valley, I actually started enjoying the scenery (if that's what you call it). I finally got to see where "Joe T. Robinson Elementary and High Schools" were, where my friend teaches. I finally got to see what Lake Maumelle is, even though it doesn't make any sense to me that it's out that way when Maumelle is south of Little Rock (in my mind). But whatever, I was out on an adventure ride and I was enjoying it. The weather was perfect for July in Arkansas - it was about 85 degrees with little humidity. Can't beat that!

So I kept my eyes open for Hwy-113, which I knew according to the map I would have to make a right turn. I was thinking up until that point that this ride was not bad at all. Then I got to highway 113. And then I realized why it's called "Wye Mountain", because the whole 5 miles of that highway I kept thinking, "Why am I riding up this road?"

It was like any other unfamiliar territory...long and really hard. I tried to focus on other stuff around me rather than the pain I was experiencing with the endless uphill ride. I managed to be distracted by a couple of dead snakes on the road. Then I saw a sign that read "Little Italy - 8 miles", and I was absolutely surprised! No one ever told me there was a Little Italy in Arkansas! And my first thought was, "I wonder if they have a bakery that makes Cassata cakes?" From the looks of the area I was in it was doubtful.

I finally arrived back at Hwy-300, which I knew would take me back to Pinnacle Mtn where I parked my van. What I didn't know is how far out I actually was. Fortunately, there were no stray dogs to be chased by, no snakes or other wildlife to run over, and the ride out Hwy-300 was actually very serene.

I kept looking for Pinnacle Mountain thinking it had to be close, but there was no mountain in site. Then I started wondering if Iwas riding past my friend Tammy's house because I knew she lived somewhere out off of Hwy-300. Once I started seeing signs for "Roland" I knew I was heading in the right direction. I finally returned to Pinnacle Mountain Park after 2 hours and 30 minutes and 40+ miles of riding. I felt like a REAL Ironman in training!