Wednesday, January 31, 2018
I took advantage of today’s fantastic weather to ride the 140km to Sounio and back. The temperature ranged from 10C-15C while I was on the bike and with little wind and great sunshine it was a great day on the bike.
If roads were a little less chaotic (and maybe a bit more of a grid) I would have done another 20-40km, but I decided to just do this ‘quick’ ride and get on with my day. Or as it turns out, nap for an hour or so to catch up on all the sleep I can’t seem to get at night.
I did put a selfie in there too. I think I may need to get a selfie stick to work on my photo composition. In any case, it was great to see Poseidon’s temple, and while the site is small (like that’s pretty much the whole thing right there in the picture), it is always special to show up and be at the site of history. Can’t get the same feeling from a photo or a textbook.
My ride was fantastic. I mentioned the last time that Google sent me through a town, up a hill, etc. Today, I stayed on the ‘main’ road, and while it also involved some climbing, I was faster. Now I was faster over-all (by about 15 minutes) and the distance was longer (by about 3km, and that included going into the site itself), so I was flying on the bike today compared to what I have been in the past.
If any of you have read some of the stuff in my new RAAM 2019 page, I need to get substantially faster to give myself buffer if I face any problems on the bike. Today my average speed (on bike only) was almost 26km/h and was actually increasing on my way back, and that was without wind assistance. This is a good thing. Averaging 26km/h over 140km means that I am getting stronger (and my legs are super sore which suggests the same thing).
I went back to look at a similar ride in Taranto in November, and averaged just 23.2kph with about 60% of the climbing (and a lot fewer lights). While it is hard to draw comparisons from just two rides, I feel stronger and there is some evidence that I am getting stronger. This is very good news and gives me hope that I can improve further throughout the winter and spring.
Over the past couple of years I have driven to Sebring, FL to ride in the Sebring 12/24 hour race in early February, but have never had this level of fitness for the ride. I use it as a metric to see what kind of shape I am in and remind myself why I am not doing RAAM. 🙂 This year I can’t go as it is just too complicated from Greece. Each year I have raced it, the weather in Sebring has been cold, cold, cold and when you are on the bike overnight, 6C feels way worse than it sounds. I also did the race unsupported, which means lots of time off the bike, getting food and so forth.
This year since I can’t be there, I have decided to do a ‘long’ ride, not a 24, because I don’t have a place to do some of the key things (food/drink/extra clothes/etc). So the weather on February 6th looks like the best day. With a morning low around 12C, a daytime high around 17C and an evening low around 11C, I can put in a long ride, with lights and enough supplies in my rear bag to do a 300km or 400km ride. 400km would be great, but I need to find somewhere to go where the traffic isn’t bad but the roads are good. Uncertainty is not a great thing when night riding.
To end the day I put in a 6km walk to stretch my legs and now I think some relaxation is in order before another beautiful and warm day tomorrow!! Here are two picture of that super blue moon over the harbour.