First outdoor ride of 08

There it is...my first outdoor ride of the year. Maybe someday I'll get a digital camera so I can post real pictures instead of crappy screenshots of Google Earth or MotionBased (below).

Last year I rode a little outside in January and February, but I didn't really start riding outdoors until March 10. Considering how horrible this winter was, I didn't think I'd get an outdoor ride in until April. But the weather has fin
ally taken a turn for the better.

So this year I get my first ride in on March 14th...not bad. Only 4 days later
than last year. On my first ride last year, I rode 50 miles to Belleville and back on a Saturday morning. The temperature was in the low 50s and I remember the ride was hillier than I thought it was going to be and I was pretty tired when I got home.

For some reason, I haven't really had the cycling bug yet this year. Bike-
o-rama got me a little fired up, but not as much as I'd hoped. Maybe it's because everything is still covered in snow, ice, sand and salt. The last 2 days have been in the 50s and the snow is finally starting to melt and the grass is starting to show in a few spots. A few of my co-workers went for a lunch ride today and we talked about it for a while when they got back (Dennis hasn't been on the trainer much this winter and he hit a heartrate zone we didn't even know existed on the lunch ride - good stuff). Then I overheard some more of my co-workers talking about the weather changing and how we'll be able to ride outdoors soon. Then, at about 4:00, I checked the weather and it was 49 degrees and sunny. I stepped outside, and it felt really warm (when winter is as cold as this one has been, 49 degrees feels really, really warm). All of a sudden, I felt the need to ride outdoors...immediately. Spring fever. I love it.

My plan was to ride the trainer tonight, but I figured if I hurried home after work and got on my bike right away I could sneak in a one hour ride before the sun went down and the temperature dropped. I had to scramble to get ready since I wasn't prepared to ride outside, but I managed to get out the door by about 5:30.

What a rude awakening this ride was. I've been hitting the trainer pretty hard this winter - and quite a few of those rides have been 40+ miles - so I figured an easy one hour ride would be...well...easy. I forgot how much tougher it can be outdoors. You get this false sense of fitness on the trainer. Sure, you have to pedal the whole time and you don't get any breaks at stoplights and you don't get to coast downhill, but you don't have to deal with hills or wind or rough roads. Almost all of my riding on the trainer has been steady state intervals. I
haven't really trained for those spikes in power and heart rate you get when climbing or riding into a strong headwind.

I didn't go all out tonight, but I didn't make this as easy as I sho
uld have either. I got a little excited being outdoors and decided to push the pace a little more than I had planned. I thought the roads were going to be horrible, but they weren't that bad. A pleasant surprise. I thought I was going to feel strong and fast after all the miles on the trainer (about 1,250) this winter, but I didn't. An unpleasant surprise. I never really felt that good. My legs hurt on the climbs and riding into the wind. I've been training mostly in an aerobic HR zone, so every time my heart rate climbed above 80% of max I struggled. I thought I was in better cycling shape than I am.

Even though the ride didn't go as I expected, it was a lot more fun than being on the trainer. Time goes so much faster outdoors. I've got my work cut out for me, but that's okay. There's still plenty of training time left. The weekend forecast is looking pretty good so I might get out for another ride or two this weekend and see if I can improve my bikejournal ranking of 4267 (in addition to my spreadsheet and trainingpeaks, I log my miles on bikejournal.com - only because that's where I started logging them so all of the miles I've ever ridden are logged there - logging miles is a bit of an obsession for me - it's a sickness - I need help).

I have a 2.5 hour ride scheduled for Sunday, but I'm thinking I might do that ride tomorrow instead. Maybe I'll ride out to Belleville and back like I did last year. I really enjoyed that ride.

Cheri's even thinking of bringing her bike up this weekend so she can get in a ride on Sunday. I'm thinking if I do my long ride tomorrow, I can do the Shamrock Shuffle on Sunday (5K) and then go for an easy ride with Cheri (it won't be as easy as it should be though because she never lets me get off easy - she likes to attack when she sees I'm tired - yeah, that's the way she rolls).

Spring is in the air. I'm fired up.

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