A Long Day in the Saddle

84.6 Miles

That’s a new distance PR for me. Not since my Durango to Moab day 2 50 miler ride (http://www.strava.com/activities/20542419) have I put in this many miles. And even then, it was only 50 miles.

Very rarely to I get time to put in basically a whole day on the bike. As it turns out the wife and kids were out of town this weekend, which afforded me the luxury of such a ride.

gran-fondo-1-v1That and the Strava Gran Fondo Challenge kept staring me in the face every day that I uploaded my ride data to Strava.

With the wife and kids away, I began thinking I could go for a nice long ride, shooting for a possible century ride. I briefly tried to see if there was anyone else doing a big ride that day, but as I didn’t set up anything before hand, I didn’t get any bites. So I sat down, planned out a route using Strava’s Route Builder and set out to complete the challenge and possibly more.

The weather was to be pretty much perfect with temps in the 60’s and low to no winds. What little wind there WAS supposed to be, was to be out of the south east, so I planned my route such that I would be heading home with a slight tailwind. As I don’t ride this kind of mileage regularly, I also looked for less elevation in climbing.

With those two thoughts in mind, I came up with a route that would take me through Austin and south east towards Lockhart. I wouldn’t quite make it all the way to Lockhart before turning around and heading back home by way of Buda. My plan was to stop in Buda for lunch before returning home.

I woke up, had a good breakfast, saddled up and headed out around 10AM. The ride across Austin was uneventful but interesting as I had never ridden my bike across Austin before.

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After getting through Austin, I turned south near the airport and continued along low trafficked back roads. It was a beautiful day and this portion of the ride was easily my favorite. There were very few cars and it was nice to see the farms and pasture lands scattered around the area.

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The first pit stop came around mile 33 at a convenience store. It was perfect place to stop and refill my water bottles. I also had a Coke and a 5 Hour Energy.

I then continued my south easterly course towards Lockhart.

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I did hit a couple of stretches of dirt/gravel roads which I wasn’t expecting. It wasn’t a big deal really and I was able to navigate the roadways without issue.

I eventually made the turn and started heading towards Buda.

Up to this point I had been making sure to ‘eat’ a gel, power bar or other quick energy food at least once per hour. Even still, I could feel my resources draining and I was looking forward to stopping in Buda for lunch at Subway.

At mile 55, I started sensing that I was running really low on reserves. I wasn’t sure how much farther I had to go, but assumed it was only 15 minutes or so. It turned out to be closer to 30, but that last 30 minutes as I made my way to Subway was tough. I was struggling, mostly mentally, and even while riding through the Cabela’s parking lot, my mind was wandering and I was solely focused on getting to Subway for some real food and a break.

I even pulled out in front of a car in the parking lot. Fortunately it was a non issue, the guy honked at me. I can understand his irritation, but at the time I was too out of it to care. In all honesty, I was riding in a very unsafe manner at this point and I will need to make sure I don’t get to this point in the future.

At long last I made it to Subway and settled in for a large lunch.

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After Subway, I had about 25 miles back home. I was running short on time so I knew that it wasn’t likely I would be able to tack on any extra mileage to try to reach 100 miles for the day.

I tried to follow my planned route back home, but I didn’t like some of the roads that were being suggested. I ended up nav’ing another route home via Google Maps and followed that home. I have since reviewed my route made some adjustments for the ‘next time’.

The ride home was uneventful but again interesting to ride through some of the south Austin neighborhoods. When I finally made it over to familiar territory in Rollingwood, I got to do the triple hill climb on Rollingwood drive. This final climb was a bit of a kick in the nuts after having put in nearly 80 miles for the day.

At any rate, I rolled on home to complete the ride with 84.6 miles. Completing the Gran Fondo challenge and adding a new distance PR for myself. It was a great day in the saddle and a fun little solo adventure.

My ‘tweaked’ route – http://www.strava.com/routes/141449

My actual Strava ride:

About TC

Long time mountain biker, recent mountain bike racer. Borderline unhealthy obsession with mountain biking, constantly drawn to hit the dirt and share my experiences.

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