31 August 2011

Bike-commute day 77—to work

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

It was kinda threatening rain this morning as I left. I had expected rain last night, as advised by WeatherForYou, but nothing materialized. Then upon seeing the heavy cloud cover this morning, I checked the weather radar, and found a line of lighter showers on their way across eastern Indiana. Judging by their progress over an hour and a half, they wouldn't reach Dayton until after 9 a.m. So I decided on riding.

It's been dry here even through close to noon.

I observed carefully how I felt in my ride. It seems strange how my feelings of energy vary througout the ride, though the waves of energy ebb and flow much the same every day. On the first two miles, which is predominantly downhill and in residential areas, I feel great and often think, Well maybe today I'll do some strength training with several sprints.

But by the time I have crossed the Monument Avenue bridge and descended to the river, that feeling dissipates first into managing the descent with little hand braking and more cadence controlling the down the hill, then into maneuvering the double corner and gaining momentum as I pass by the low dam. Then come several minor technical points with the transition from asphalt to concrete below the YMCA, a patch of weathered concrete detritus at the end of the YMCA landing, a culvert underneath Main Street, a hop over the lip of concrete at the west edge of the Riverscape area, and another hop over the gravelled transition from concrete to asphalt at the east edge of Riverscape. Finally, I press my lap button as I pass the roadway markers at the bottom of the zig-zag up to the Green Bridge.

The Webster Street bridge marks the first point where a sprint might be possible because fewer technical concerns need attention. The bikeway maintains a nearly flat course for this 1.4 miles to the Findlay Street bridge. By this point, I've ridden nearly twelve minutes and it is during this portion that I can best check how much energy I have for the day. Usually at some point along this mile, I feel the first exertion and my body's response with a very dull ache in my shoulders. Often I glance at my HR reading at this point, interested in the momentary comparison of subjective and objective experience. It is usually 125 to 130 bpm, only about 78% of my maximum.

When the bikeway reaches the Findlay Avenue bridge, it takes a slight rise and then a curving dip below the bridge and up to the Findlay Plateau. The little climb is usually my first opportunity to rise off the saddle and provide strength to move my cadence from its momentary drop into the 60s. And the plateau is my first opportunity to try a sprint—if I feel ready for it. The plateau continues for about 0.9 mile with only two small curves and a finish with a slight drop, onto the bikeway above the concrete embankment.

Ride conditions
Temperature: 62 to 67°F at 07:30
Precipitation: none
Winds: calm to 5 mph, variable from the north and east
Clothing: Skinsuit, ankle socks, open-finger gloves
Bike: Lotus Legend fixed gear
Time: 00:44:16 for 11.93 miles
Heart rate: 123 bpm HRave, 138 bpm HRmax
Bikeway users: 9 cyclists, 13 pedestrians, 2 dogs
Playback of the ride

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