I wish I had taken pictures for the very happy bike commute home I had yesterday afternoon. I had a couple objectives for this ride: get a couple "trophies" on Strava, which I use to track both my overall mileage and my times on certain "segments" of the ride, usually hills or specific stretches of road. I have times going back to when I started riding in 2012, so it's always interesting to me to see my progress, or lack thereof. Really, with biking, just like running, it's hard to shave *substantial* times off your ride. I do see that my times compared to a year ago are consistently slower now, but only in a range of a handful of seconds on short segments to a couple of minutes on long segments.
My other objective was to enjoy the rest of the ride at my leisure. I have a "problem": when I ride, I am almost always riding for speed and exhaustion. It works, haha. I arrive home utterly spent, ready to lay in the front yard and alarm the neighbors. It doesn't have to be this way, but if you are riding, you might as well ride fast.*
*my "fast" is nowhere near tons of other women's "fast," as I can see on Strava. I'm no racer girl. I would say I can hold my own with the more than casual rider, but while I am fast on flats, I am agonizingly slow on hills, which vexes me to no end. If some biking pro said, "What do you want to learn?" my answer should be "how to change a flat tire," but instead it would be, "to go faster on hills!"
Back to my objectives. I identified three segments I wanted to beat my best time on, or at least get back in that neighborhood. I've been working on these segments when I ride home, but I'm consistently a few seconds off my best. Some would say I should stop obsessing about this, haha. I did not get my highest time on any of them, but I did get my 2nd best (1 second off best) and 3rd best (21 seconds off best) time on a couple. Eh, I'll continue working on it.
For the other objective, I concentrated on riding at a more leisurely pace. I don't really know why this mattered to me, haha. It was fun, though. It wasn't much different, because on the hills I am still agonizingly slow and it's hard to go much slower. On the flats, I really do like riding at my faster speed, it makes me feel like a little kid!
I made a couple stops, though. There is a "Little Free Library" in front of someone's house, a cute little free bookstand where I chose a book that I cannot recall right now. :) I didn't take a picture but you can click here to see their picture, it is very cute and did, indeed, have a container of dog treats, too.
Later, I stopped at a spot where three very ambitious girls were selling kool-aid, or giving it away if you could get their question right. Two of them were sisters, and they wanted you to guess which two. I failed it miserably, only getting it on my third try, and that was after they identified one of the sisters. It was pity kool-aid, really, at that point. And they were so cute I dug into my bag and found them a dollar. It was only then that one of the girls asked the littlest (about six years old, and clearly the group's spokeperson) if she had told me it was for charity? She had not. I wanted to dig in for more money, but by then it was time to go, haha.
|They were raising for this bike ride, maybe put up to it by a parent, haha,|
because it's a $1500 per rider commitment or you pay the difference where your fundraising lapses.
As a parting shot, I will throw out some happy milestones: I have been consistently riding my bike home on sunny days (today will be my fourth ride of the week, it remains to be seen about tomorrow). I am riding up to my old house in order to make myself suffer with the longer hill that I used to battle when I lived there, and it stretches my mileage a bit. It has been so nice, I've worked a little bit of extra miles in on top of that, but I am battling against Reid's daycare closure so there's not a lot of time. I've ridden in excess of 185 miles this year, which isn't bad considering it's all been 12.5 mile or so commutes: that's a lot of days ridden home!