Good 46 mile ride yesterday; Local paved trails; Weekly distance PR to fall?
I’m not entirely sure why, but I’ve been in a roadie mood lately. I consider myself mostly a mountain biker, but sometimes I go through phases when road riding sounds more appealing. I think part of the reason I’ve been doing mostly road riding lately is because I’m trying to increase my saddle time and mileage.
I’ve mentioned in this blog a few times that I am not at all comfortable cycling on busy public roads (and I probably never will be), and that goes double when riding alone. I feel much safer and more visible when I’m riding with a large group–especially because we tend to ride on low-traffic roads out in Lake county. Lake county is about 100 times more bike-friendly than Orange county (where I live). So I’m mostly OK with group rides, but I try to avoid long solo rides on public streets.
Anyway, generally speaking I get up at 5:30 or 6:00 AM every morning, get in a few hours of work (I’m really productive first thing in the morning) and then I go ride. There’s usually a nice lull in my work day around mid-morning, so that’s a great time for me to break away and ride. Unfortunately if I want to do a long-ish road ride, that usually means riding solo…
I’ve rediscovered some of the excellent paved trail systems around here, and some new ones as well. When I’m riding solo I feel much more at ease on these closed trail systems than on the open road, so they are ideal for my solo rides. Also, during the week trail usage is very light, so I am able to ride fast with no safety concerns.
This week I’ve been putting in some good miles on the West Orange Trail (PDF) and the South Lake Trail (PDF). The West Orange Trail is 22 miles each direction, and at the Western end (at Killarney Station) it links up to the South Lake Trail. The South Lake Trail adds another 9 miles each way, plus it has some additional offshoots out in Clermont with some pretty nice little climbs.
Yesterday morning I had time for a 40-50 mile ride, so I decided to ride both trails. I wanted to ride the South Lake trail all the way to the end, which is on the western side of Lake Minneola.
It was pretty windy, and I got caught in some rain, but for the most part the weather was quite nice for riding. I wound up doing 46.2 miles, 18.1 MPH pace and about 1,600 feet of climbing.
Once again on this ride I didn’t pay any attention to Strava segments, so I was surprised that I cracked the top 10 on a few and improved some PRs on others. On Fun woods section with uphill finish I placed 9th out of 359 riders/1,285 rides; on Mini climb, west bound I placed 6th out of 360 riders/1,217 rides; on Hancock Trail Climb (first time riding this section) I placed 14th out of 322 riders/1,180 rides.
Here’s the entire ride on Strava.
OK, at this point I’m aware of where at least some of the segments are, and so it’s tempting to want to go back and do a shorter 25-30 mile ride and hammer them for time. Maybe I’ll do that, but for now I want to keep riding longer rides and improving my average speed.
The person sitting at, or near, the top of just about every road segment in Central Florida is a guy named Tic Bowen. I don’t think Tic ever goes KOM hunting: he takes down KOMs while doing long-ass rides. The dude is a total beast, and even though we’ve only talked on Facebook (there’s no way I could hang with him on a ride), his riding inspires me to train harder. He’s one of the best around.
Well, so far this week I’ve logged over 135 miles. My single-week personal record is 161.6 miles, so if I can get in at least another 30 miles over the next couple days I’ll best that. This would be an especially satisfying PR, because apart from a 7 mile recovery ride all of those miles have been ridden hard.