The club ride was a hills sufferfest today. Not something I really wanted to do, even in a shortened “B” version. In any case, I wouldn’t be able to go along with them, because I didn’t leave my driveway until 8:25 a.m. — 10 minutes after the club ride was scheduled to leave. So I struck out on my own. I figured I’d head south, to Kyle. That would make about a 45-mile round trip, and I wanted to get more miles than I’ve been getting lately.
Conditions were perfect. Partly cloudy skies giving way to sun, temp about 65 (18C), little wind to speak of. Because it was Easter Sunday, traffic was way down from its usual numbers. About 12 miles into the ride, another rider pulled even and we exchanged pleasantries. He was the first one I’d seen all morning. He easily left me in his wake, but that was fine. I was just out to enjoy the ride.
The route was the same as the one I’d done on my birthday, although the turnaround in Kyle would mean a shorter overall distance. I sailed through Buda well before the churches along Main Street would be packed for Easter services. I was glad to see that traffic was just as light on Farm-to-Market 1626, which I would be on for several miles.
The last few miles into Kyle are nice, since the road was resurfaced last summer. At the convenience store that is our traditional turnaround, only two other cyclists stocked up on Gatorade and energy bars. I got a Gatorade G2 and a bar myself, and poured the G2 into one of my water bottles. Then, I decided I wouldn’t be turning around. I could continue down the road toward San Marcos. It’s a nice road, one I enjoy riding, and what the heck — it was a really nice day. I figured I’d head to a convenience store I know in San Marcos.
By now, the sun was turning up the heat. I rode another seven miles to Five-Mile Dam Park, and instead of turning around there as we did on my birthday ride, I kept going. A hairpin turn, under a railroad trestle, and across the pretty Blanco River. Now, I was seeing a lot more cyclists. Two pelotons — one from Team Roadkill, an Austin club, and one from a team of serious-looking racer types that I didn’t recognize — passed by heading in the opposite direction. The road was slightly uphill for me, and I realized that I was pedaling very slowly. I pulled over under some shade trees, and took a break.
Resting only about nine miles after the last (long) rest is a bad sign. I figured I’d gone as far as I needed to today. I headed back up the road and reached the redone section in Kyle that is now smooth as glass. That didn’t prevent two time trialist types from passing me like I was on a cruiser bike — the woman in the lead was easily pulling a guy much bigger than she was. After a nice fast stretch into Buda, I reached another convenience store that has been a regular stop on our rides. It was good to get into the shade — the temperature was quite warm by now — and refill my bottles with cold water. Only about an hour to get home.
I was pleased to see a road that I’d been bypassing because of construction is now all finished. Riding in the smooth asphalt shoulder was nice, as was the new center turning lane that let me make a left turn without worrying that traffic coming up from behind would hit me. I got home without any problems, and unlike me, I did not flop on the bed for a two-hour nap. I was fully energized and wide awake. Final numbers for the ride: 60.5 miles at an average speed of 15.3 mph. Overall, a good day.
And it occurred to me that if I can do this kind of ride again, it will go a long way to helping me build my mileage and my endurance — both things that suffered last year. So I’ve concocted a new plan called “A Metric A Month.” If I can ride a metric century each month, not only will it be good preparation for some rides I’m keying on later this year, but it will make me a stronger rider all around.
So now I’ve got two of them. Last month’s birthday ride, and today’s. And yes, I know that 60.5 miles does not a metric century make. So what? It’s close enough, and this is MY plan, so I’ll work it the way I want. Let’s just see if I can stick with it.