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63.57 miles in 3:58:15 @ 16.01 mph and 155/178 bpm for 3,973 calories

Two milestones for cyclists are the century, a 100-mile ride, and the metric century, a 100-kilometer ride.  I’ve never ridden a century before, but today I rode my first metric century—quite by accident.  I’ve gone on long rides to the north, south, and east but I’ve never tried to ride west.  The problem, as I found from Bing Maps (which I actually like better than Google), is that Grapevine Lake, DFW Airport, and Highway 121 form a bike-free barrier between Carrollton and Grapevine.  But a bit of research turned up a route right along the northern fence of the airport, Airfield Road, that was perfect for getting to Grapevine.  So this week I decided to give it a try.

Plane flying right over my head at DFW

Plane flying right over my head at DFW

The route was definitely a Carrollton blast from the past.  For the folks that grew up in C-town, I passed MacInnish Field, Sandy Lake Park, and just south of Newman Smith.  And my target location for the ride fit the theme: my C-town friends Chris and Karen Garner’s house.  When I got there, Karen had to wake Chris up as their boy was up sick in the night, but he was getting up soon anyway to continue a bathroom remodeling project.  I still felt guilty, but it was nice hanging out, chatting, and geting a refill on ice for my second bike bottle of Heed.

So why was the metric century an accident?  Well, as you can see on the route linked above, I took two wrong turns that added just enough distance to make the ride slightly longer than 62.14 miles (100,000 meters).  I was frustrated about the wrong turns when I took them, and that last 10 miles was especially brutal, but it was worth it in the end.  With the Sprint triathlon next weekend and the baby coming anytime, this will likely be my last long ride for a while.

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50.08 miles in 3:01:14 @ 16.58 mph and 151/173 bpm for 3,022 calories

It’s been a busy week so I didn’t get a chance to post about my epic bike ride last week.  After riding north to Prosper, and east to Lake Lavon, I decided to ride south to White Rock Lake and visit my friend Sam CrowleyLuis Garcia, another friend of mine, told me about a 7-mile trail from Hillcrest & I-635 that went straight to the northern shore of White Rock Lake. So I rode south on Ohio/Hillcrest to that trail.  It was great!  There were dozens of cyclists on the trail, and although it was narrow it was fairly easy to ride.

whiterocklake

I’d never ridden around White Rock Lake before, and it was really nice.  There were hundreds of runners and lots of cyclists too, but Lawther Road had almost no cars and it was easy to get around the lake. I veered away to stop by Sam’s house, but I had forgotten that he’d moved a couple blocks away and I didn’t have his new address!  So I briefly freaked out the family living in his new house, called Sam for his new address and got his voice mail, and then continued on my way around the lake and back home.  Great ride.  Thanks for the tip, Luis!

Next up, riding west to Grapevine, I guess.

5.65 miles in 58:55 @ 10:25 pace and 171/188 for 819 calories

Assuming our baby doesn’t come three weeks early, next weekend I am racing the Take on the Heat triathlon in The Colony, benefitting The Colony Firefighter’s Association. It’s a Sprint triathlon with a pool swim that starts at 7:00am, which means that depending on how many athletes are racing day, I may not start my run until 8:20am.  Keeping that in mind, I decided to try an 8:00am to 9:00am run today and push myself to see how it felt.

It did not feel good. It was hot, over 90 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. The sun was high enough that I wasn’t able to run in the shade much, and the humidity kept the breeze from cooling me off.  I set a goal to try and maintain a 10-minute pace, and over halfway through the run I had managed to do it, even with a big hill climb at the start. But the heat got to me eventually, and pretty soon I found that I had to significantly drop my pace to keep my heart rate down.  By the time I got back to Parker Road and the final stretch to my house, I was exhausted.  I still managed to maintain a 10-minute pace during the last ten minutes, but that middle slow stretch was enough to drop my pace to 10:25.

The run was still a great test of how it might feel to really push during the heat of the race. And of course the Sprint-distance run will be 30 minutes shorter, and I won’t have to keep my heart rate artificially down.  So we’ll see how I do…

16.64 miles in 1:00:13 @ 16.58 mph and 143/173 bpm for 1,004 calories

I got out of bed much easier this morning and was excited about an early ride. Since I wanted to limit the ride to an hour I decided to do a bit of hill climbing on Windhaven and then ride a few loops on Tennyson near my house.  The hill at Windhaven & Plano Parkway is known as The Widowmaker, and there’s no steeper hill that I know in the Metroplex to give yourself a real workout on a bike.  It’s slightly steeper than the average grade of a tough Tour de France climb, and even though it only takes around 8 minutes to ascend compared to over an hour for each of the tough Tour hills, you feel like Lance when you’re climbing it, even if for just a few minutes.  If you make a route of it, there are 3 good hills to climb in that neighborhood, and so I did all three of them during the first half of the ride.

With just under 30 minutes to go and traffic picking up, I decided to ride over to Tennyson. On my Sunday rides, I always see a group of cyclists riding loops between Parkwood and Preston. I’ve ridden on Tennyson before but never as a time trial, where you ride the same distance multiple times at a quick and steady pace in an aerodynamic position. My average speed was ~13% faster riding the time trial—not surprising I guess—but interestingly enough my average heart rate was ~20% higher on the time trial, not the hills.

Fun fact #1: I reached a top speed of 34.5 miles per hour going down Windhaven Hill before I climbed back up.  Fun fact #2: Lance averaged just a few miles per hour slower on his Tour time trial ride than my descent of the biggest hill in the neighborhood. Guess I need to work on my power-to-weight ratio. 🙂

4.51 miles in 45:44 @ 10:07 pace and 165/186 for 636 calories

The night before I exercise, I am invariably excited about getting up early and getting a swim, bike, or run in before Emma wakes up. And when the morning comes, I usually get out of bed with that same excitement. But this morning, I literally laid in bed for 30 minutes trying to convince myself to go back to sleep, trying to make up excuses and drowsing off in between steeling myself to jump up and get dressed. Finally, I tricked my own brain by rolling out of bed and onto the floor without thinking about it.

Once I got running, I felt great, of course. But I decided to punish myself for my morning transgressions by running a tempo run at a 10-minute pace (slightly slower than my race pace). I was pleasantly surprised when I held the pace for the entire run without “blowing up”, or even an overly elevated heart rate.  Guess I should punish myself more often!

5.68 miles in 58:02 @ 10:13 pace and 166/184 bpm for 806 calories
7.19 miles in 1:18:58 @ 10:59 pace and 160/190 bpm for 1,097 calories
39.19 miles in 2:20:41 @ 16.74 mph and 150/177 bpm for 2,346 calories

Another busy work week left me with only three workouts in the past seven days, but I definitely made up for it in weekend distance. We had houseguests in from Austin this weekend to attend a baby shower for Joanne, and I didn’t want my exercise to get in the way of spending time with them. That meant a very early run on Saturday, a late bike ride on Sunday in sunny 90+ weather, and no swim.

I still enjoyed myself nonetheless, especially on the bike ride. I didn’t get started until our guests headed back home, which meant an 11am start.  By then the heat was in full effect and not a cloud in sight. But a complete lack of wind had me feeling confident and I decided to ride north of 380 for the first time ever. I ended up riding across Prosper and back home, but next time I’d love to try to make it to Celina.  The toughest parts of the ride were crossing 380 without a light a Coit, and riding back south on Preston on a very rough and bumpy shoulder.

So now I’ve ridden east to Lake Lavon and north to Prosper. Next up are south to White Rock Lake and west to Grapevine…

Milestones

  • Highest weight: 228 pounds
  • Lowest weight: 187 pounds
  • Current weight: 216 pounds
  • Started training: March 17, 2008
  • First Sprint: June 26, 2008
  • First Olympic: May 17, 2009
  • First Half: TBD 2011
  • Longest swim: 2.05 miles
  • Longest bike: 63.57 miles
  • Longest run: 13.33 miles

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