Sunday, July 29, 2007

77.2 Miles!

My best ride yet, in terms of distance: 77.2 miles!
I decided an out-and-back to Chatanika Road House
was a good ride---3 mile climb with a 6% grade to Cleary
Summit, then a 5 mile descent on the other side....
(then a more gradual 7 mile climb from Chatanika, back.)

The weather was just as challenging as the mileage: I got
drenched in the first downpour at mile 0.9. Yes---that's right!
Not even a mile out and I was wet and cycling in soggy shoes
for the rest of the day....

Here's the view from Cleary Summit.
It rained/sprinkled on me for most of the ride up.
It took 3 hours to get up here---just 27.8 miles!
Slow on the hill climbs...

Destination, Chatanika! Mile 35.6 on my odometer.
You can see Sheila there in the foreground.
I at a sandwich and some pretzels, enjoying the one
bit of sunshine I was to see all day.

While I was eating, I kept hearing muttering thunder
off to the North. I realized I couldn't spend too much
time on lunch but had to head back up to the summit
before the storm caught me.....

A view starting back home---Chatanika, and the
building storm over the Northern hills.

I made it over the summit (7 miles of climbing took
almost an hour, exactly! I was watching my HRM, and
ended up having my heart rate at 160-170 for 2 solid hours...)
and started heading back down the other side. Once I reached
level ground, the storm (which I'd so far been outrunning)
caught up with me and all Hell broke loose.

There we were, myself and Pretty Sheila, the only metal thing
on the road for miles and massive bolts of lightning were
ripping across the dark sky---then thunder like whipcracks
right overhead! I felt the booming reverberations in my
breastbone....and just started riding harder and harder.

There is a 5 mile stretch of flat road back to the Fox
intersection and I kept Sheila at a pace of 22-25 miles
an hour, the whole time being drenched by a cold
monsoon-like rain. Seems I can cycle better in adverse

We made it to the Fox weigh station and one
little patch of sun! You can't tell, but Sheila
and I are soaked to the bone. I refilled my
water bottles at the Fox Springs, then headed
the 18 miles back to the car via Goldstream Rd....

...where the storm caught me again! Torrential rain!

Thunder! Lightning! Big moose crossing the road!

(Would've taken a picture for you folks, but I was
a little busy...)

I arrived home sore, tired, wet, and proud....
So far, so good, I tell myself.
My Century ride is that much closer.

Next week...a 90 mile ride.


bike&beer said...

being able (and happy) to ride alone is a gift few have... particularly when the miles pile up and the weather doesn't cooperate. you seem happy riding on your own, or should i say, you and sheila a happy duo, encouraging each other up up up those hills, rain and all, and that's really cool :-)

Carson said...

You must be incredibly fit by now!
soggy shoes...ugh

BookGirl said...

77 miles! (sorry, 77.2 miles ;-) ). You're amazing, E!

Sarah said...

Hey Eero, thank you for your kind comment on my blog, and I would love you to link to me! Looking back through your archives; your paintings are really beautiful and elegant. And one day I would love to go to Penland, looks like you had an amazing time!

Lovely to discover you :)
Sarah x

johnny said...

HEY DARLIN'.........IT'S JOHNNY, IN NYC.....I will be getting my blog up and runnuing again soon, but have been dealing with alot of crap....good to catch up on yer daily existence.....

Tim said...

There's one good thing about a long ride in crappy weather: It makes a long ride in good weather that much nicer. Adverse conditions suck when you're in them, but they sure pay off later.

Good job. Keep the pedals spinning.