I know this — and so do you. As the days are getting shorter, it is getting more difficult to squeeze in a reasonably long ride after work. I even left a bit early today so that I could get in at least a 2-hour ride before dusk. It meant I had to hustle changing and getting everything ready. I admit, I felt a little rushed. Did I stretch? Hell, no. I was racing out the door with my helmet unstrapped and perched on my head and Scooter over my shoulder.
I rolled out the driveway at a few minutes before 5:00. I had just about exactly 2 hours before the sun would dip behind the foothills. Still feeling a little pressure, I probably started off faster and with more intensity than my muscles liked. I tried to relax and find a nice “easy” rhythm, but unless I concentrated on relaxing, I found myself pushing.
I planned a Carter Lake loop ride – but as I’ll explain in a minute, it got cut short. The modified ride this afternoon was up to the top of Carter Lake Dam. It is a short, 7.4 mile trip from my house to the top of the dam. Pretty much up-hill (of varying degrees) on the way out with a total of about 650′ elevation gain Most of that comes in the last 2 mile. There are a couple of switchbacks right before the top that really get your attention. That’s when I realized I should have spent more time warming up when I started out. I felt a slight strain behind my right knee as I was digging deep to avoid getting bogged down. Scooter’s gearing doesn’t provide me with a “granny gear” for steep climbing so I have to push some bigger gears than I am used to sometimes. Just so you know how big a change riding Scooter is from my last bike — Scooter has a compact double with the lowest gearing a 34 (front) x 28 (rear). My previous mount was a Giant TCR with a triple crank that was customized with mountain bike gears (lowest was 26 (front) x 34 (back)). I could literally “spin up a phone pole” with that bike! But, it was heavy and constantly needed tweaking! Overall, I am much happier with Scooter!!
Back to the ride. I probably should have turned around as soon as I felt the tweak behind my knee. Did I? Hell, no! I did back it off a tad, and instead of continuing around the dam and down the backside as I had originally planned, I turned around at the top and cut my ride short (about in half!).
Today’s lesson — take the time to ride out slowly and give my body a chance to warm-up. Even if it means changing your goals for the day, or knocking a few miles off the route to make sure there’s time for a slow-start. In the end, you will enjoy the whole ride more and you won’t spend time sidelined nursing minor injuries!
Guess I should go stretch now, eh? And maybe even put my leg up with an ice pack under my right knee….. sometimes the non-riding is the hardest part of the “ride”.
Stats for the ride:
Distance: 14.8 miles
Average Speed: 14.3, Max: 35.6
Heartrate Monitor had a new battery…still didn’t work! UGH!