Today has been an interesting day of milestones. It was tough, but I’m feeling better about the preparations for my Trotternish Cycling Trek in October because I’ve finally hit a major distance milestone.
The ride training has been lackluster of late and in some ways has felt set back since taking the week off to attend summer camp. Despite taking the daily rides up a notch to 20 miles each, it has been at the expense of any long-distance rides.
All this changed this week with that start of school in Florida. Back in the Spring, I wasn’t able to go out riding until after 8:45 when The Kilted Kid was dropped off safely at elementary school. But now that he is up and out on the middle school bus by 6:45, I have a little more morning time on my hands. That allowed me to start exploring a local riding trail, the 14.5-mile Jacksonville-Baldwin Rail Trail on Monday and to really ramp up the efforts.
And ramp up I did!
- On Monday, I chose to ride the full round trip of the Jacksonville-Baldwin Trail for a total of 30.28 miles.
- On Tuesday, I chose a local recovery ride of 20.45 miles.
- On Wednesday, I jumped up to the full trail plus a bit more a second time for a total of 40.56 miles.
- On Thursday, I chose a local recovery ride of 20.62 miles.
- Today (Friday) I rode the whole trail out and back to mile 3, but then turned around and went back to the end again before returning to the start for a total of 52.13 miles.
That’s right, 52.13 miles! I have completed my first 50-mile ride! I have finally exceeded the intended distance of the Trotternish Trek.
On top of that the trail has some hills – although they wouldn’t be considered much in most parts of the country, they are the most I’ve had a chance to ride since moving to Florida so it was a good introductory training for what is to come when I get to Scotland.
Other than that I’m pretty tired after getting back today, there hasn’t been much in the line of setbacks in the past week.
In fact, I’m sure a big part of my exhaustion stems from the weather today rather than just from the distance. When I started out this morning it was 77 with 96% humidity which was noticeable just in breathing. By the time I ended my ride 3 hours and 34 minutes later, the humidity had dropped significantly, but the temperature was up to 90 (and with a heat index of 102). The solution to that is to stay hydrated – which I did my best to do.
I will need to keep riding the rail trail regularly and looking for more places where I can practice on hills more before the Scotland trip. Furthermore, I will need to find some way to better prepare for an unexpected weather factor I have noticed watching the Scottish weather recently. For the past 2 weeks I have seen the Trotternish Peninsula experiencing winds of around 15-20 mph throughout the day. I know that I have ridden in winds up to around 12 mph here, but there is a very noticeable difference between 10 and 12 mph when riding upwind. The good news is that even if they are as high in October, if the wind direction is consistent, it will be at my back for the generally uphill portions and I’ll be going generally downhill for the upwind portions.
I’ll have to make an effort to ride when the winds get strong.
Another Milestones Today!
Not only did I hot my longest recorded ride today, I’ve hit my lowest recorded weight. This morning I weighed in at 279 pounds. For me this is significant for several reasons. First, 279 marks a total of 75 pounds lost since I started. But better yet, it matches the lowest weight I can ever say that I actually know that I was.
When I started paying attention to my weight, I know that I was bouncing around in the 290’s throughout 2006-2010. The only exception is a week or so in 2009 (maybe ’08, but I’m pretty sure it was ’09) when I caught some kind of a stomach bug and basically had no appetite for a week. I know that by the end of that week, I dropped from the 290’s and specifically remember a 279 weight. After that, I just went back up again and had been over 300 since.
So basically what I’m saying is that today I weigh less than I have in over a decade! From here on out it just gets better!