Tag Archives: duarte

Back in the saddle!

Halfway there!

San Gabriel River Trail - 2.5 hour ride: halfway there!

I was out the door in the 7 o’clock hour on Saturday morning for a long SGRT ride in Duarte, CA, with an intermediate group of riders. I’m an advanced beginner rider with moderate endurance, moderate speed, moderate comfort level riding w/ feet clipped in while using one hand (usually my left) to fiddle w/ the bike computer display, or to grab my bottle and drink whenever I need to. I still prefer to stop riding to drink, and I’m not quite comfortable riding hands-free for more than a split second or actively eating while riding my bike.

I was definitely challenged. With six other tri teammates I rode about 35 miles total. There were a few others there who rode separately and at their own pace. As usual I couldn’t keep up very well, but I did my best to keep the person in front of me in sight so I wouldn’t get lost. My average speed was 15-17 miles per hour reaching up to 22mph on the flats (there were hills). In the last few miles on the way back my bike computer showed I was pushing a whopping 8 mph at times. I was pooped.

The group’s average speed was closer to 20mph. Reassuringly, members of our group either stopped and waited at the parts of the path where I could potentially go the wrong way or hung back and rode with me for a while. Since I had not touched my bike in two months before this weekend, my “sit” bones were so sore! Don’t think I’ll ever not have that soreness after a long ride, but that’s also good thing because I don’t actually want calluses developing there!

I carried lots of nutrition this time, as I learned my lesson from my last ride. I had two pieces of toast before the ride, and then a Luna Bar, a Clif Bar (both white chocolate chip and macadamia nut) and a bottle of water during the ride. I can go 35 miles comfortably on one bottle of water, but that’s just me. I feel like other people drink more water than I do. It would be a good idea in the near future for me to get another water bottle cage installed on my bike in case I ride a longer distance again. I definitely plan to.

I recently found out about a 30 day outdoor biking challenge called 30 days of biking. Though I’m a sucker for most 30 day challenges, alas I must admire the participants’ efforts from afar while I focus on other things this month. Instead of biking every day for 30 days, I will put my own spin on that and make an effort to bike at least once every 30 days through the end of the year. Sounds like a tame goal compared to the linked challenge, but this is an attainable one for me. Not to make excuses, but I’ve got two other sports to brush up on to conquer my biggest challenges yet: A half-marathon and an Olympic distance triathlon (0.9 mi swim, 24 mile ride, 10k run). After that, my sports season will be complete and anything else will be gravy icing a refreshing fruit smoothie.

Okay, enough about biking. Tomorrow I plan to run my WP 5K! If you’ve read this far, thanks for reading my biking babbles. I do appreciate comments and questions, and I actually *squee* out loud when I notice new subscribers to my blog. I hope that you find something that keeps you moving this month!

On biking half-centuries and horses (oh my!)

A few months ago I went on my first intermediate distance group bike ride in Duarte. We planned to cycle about 20-30 miles, out and back, on the San Gabriel River Trail (SGRT). It was drizzling that day and never quite let up the whole time we were riding, so we turned back sooner than initially planned and returned to our point of origin, soaked, yet hopeful to try again when the weather was better.

This month I had a chance to ride the SGRT again. The plan was to ride between 30-40 miles, out and back, on the same route as the last attempt. We rode a lot further though, due to an underestimation of a mutually agreed-upon turnaround point some distance just past the halfway point. What made it even more challenging for me, being both the farthest I’d ridden and at a faster average speed, was that I had only a single bottle of water with me for what turned into a 4 hour ride. We stopped and rested for a bit at a peaceful park in Downey and headed back toward Duarte, but my water bottle was close to empty when we were still out about 20 miles.

Fortunately I was riding with more experienced riders, who were more than happy to offer a bit of their nutrition bars– Peanut Butter Powerbars, FTW!– and unused hydration. They were also full of encouragement as I progressed along the trail and let me set the group’s pace on the way back. This was great because I felt tired, hungry, and my energy level was as shaky as my legs which had been spinning my bike pedals for hours by that point. I wanted to be done more than anything. About 11 miles out we came upon a strange site and jumped off our bikes.

horse down on the trail

We saw a horse lying on its side, so we moved closer to find out what happened. It was a very sad scene to happen upon.

horse down, pulling off saddle

My teammates immediately offered to help right the fallen horse. It lay very still and I wasn’t sure what was wrong with it or if it was going to make it.

horse standing up on trail

Turns out the saddle made the horse too top heavy. As soon as it was unstrapped and pulled off, with a little encouragement the horse quickly found the energy to stand on its own.

horse and caring bikers

The horse was led down the ramp to the soft dirt below. Perhaps the horse shoes were not the proper fit or otherwise not fit for the cement trail and the poor thing slipped and fell.

The horse will be fine. Yay!

Back to the ride, after saying farewell to our new equine friend. We had 11 more miles to our path’s end.

The rest of the ride was uneventful and the next thing I did upon finishing the ride and immediately downing another half bottle of water from my car, was to make a beeline to IHOP with my bike group. We rode 50 miles and were proud of our achievement! I also had a very sore bum which would continue for the next couple days, but it’s fine now. I look forward to the next ride wherever that may be.

Until then there’s no place like home.

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