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Excellent 24.2 mile mountain bike ride; Cardio breakthrough imminent?

Thursday, July 7, 2011 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

"Bike on a Trail" photo for July 6, 2011.

"Bike on a Trail" photo for July 6, 2011.

I’m so glad that I decided to postpone my weight training workout yesterday so I could go mountain biking. Even though I did 18.6 miles on Tuesday, evidently I wasn’t satisfied because yesterday morning I was craving another ride so much that it was all I could think about. I decided to drive over to Wekiwa State Park, and there I did 24.2 miles, all off-road.

The heat was oppressive, and the humidity was thick and sticky.

I shot down the lead-in trail like a rocket, and I had my heart rate into the mid-170s/low 180s within a couple of minutes. I was sweating heavily almost immediately, but I felt really good. About a mile in I past some hikers, and at that point I realized I had been grinning from ear to ear since I started the ride. 🙂

Interesting craggy old live oak.

Interesting craggy old live oak.

The worst thing about riding in these kinds of conditions is that I find it difficult to breathe deeply when the air is so humid. When you’re sustaining a heart rate of 175-185 BPM over several hours (with fairly regular bursts into the mid-190s) being able to breathe is sort of important. It’s a very uncomfortable feeling when you can’t draw enough oxygen, but I think I’m able to adapt to the feeling because I tend to notice it mostly during the first half hour or so.

With all the biking I do at Wekiwa, you’d think that by now I would explored the whole place. That’s actually not the case; Wekiwa state park is over 7,000 acres, and while I’ve explored a great deal of it, there are some areas I’ve yet to check out. The main reason I’ve not seen some of the forest is because I tend to ride the best trails for mountain biking and I stay away from the horse trails. The horse trails are often very sandy, and just not much fun to ride on. Yesterday I was in the mood to explore, and I ventured off into some new areas. The sandy trails provided me with a monster cardio workout, and I definitely got some nice bike control practice in (bikes tend to get a little squirrely when cornering in sugar sand). I’m happy to report that I didn’t fall, and only had to drop a foot one time the entire ride.

A beautiful hawk.

A beautiful hawk.

About an hour and a half into my ride I started feeling tired. I’d been sweating heavily and really getting out the entire time. I decided to stop for a short break (this is when I saw the hawk pictured here) and ate a pack of Sport Beans. I took a took a few photos, drank some water and cooled down a bit. Feeling refreshed, I jumped back onto my bike and rode off…

About 10 minutes later I got an incredible burst of energy, and I know it was from the Sport Beans. It’s amazing what a difference a few carbs and electrolytes make: before my break I was feeling tired and sun-drenched, but once my body started using the nutrients in the Sport Beans I felt almost as fresh as I did when I started. I’m serious, after my break I was bunny hopping over small branches just because. I think I’m going to have to add Sport Beans to my Favorite Things list sometime this week… they’re awesome.

No riding today, I’ve got a chest/delts/triceps workout on tap for this afternoon. I’m going to make it an intense workout with very short rest intervals. I feel like I’m on the verge of breaking some new ground with my cardio abilities, and I want to keep the pressure on.

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