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Sunday, August 18, 2013

Half marathon training is going...slowly.  After a strong start, I've had a couple weeks of skipped runs and lagging paces (hmmm...could there be a connection there? lol).  Today's 9 miles was tough, with the last couple miles being pretty ugly.  One problem is that I've been worn out and super busy with starting back in the classroom (well, getting my classroom ready and all the beginning of school meetings we endure enjoy), but the bigger issue is that my heart isn't in running right now.  I'd much much rather be on my bike.

All of my bikes have been getting some use lately.  I ride my cross bike when I ride with the boys, and I did a Trailnet ride last Sunday (50 miles of pavement sure goes by more quickly than gravel or singletrack!) on my road bike. I spent part of the time riding with friends and part just cruising along on my own.  It was fun to ride faster than usual and feel strong, and I've gotten braver on paved hills. At one point I hit 36 mph (on a downhill), not all that fast for other people but super fast for me.  And I wasn't even whimpering!

I'm completely in love with my mountain bike right now though.  I've been riding a bunch at our local trails, and all that familiarity is making me much more confident and comfortable.  Usually when I ride my mountain bike I spend as much time feeling a little sick to my stomach as I do enjoying myself, but lately it's a blast. I've managed to bring up my average pace 2.5 mph over where it was at the beginning of the month.  I've gotten a little obsessed with Strava.  It's interesting to see how I measure up to other people, but it's really cool to be able to compare my own times on certain segments and see the improvement...and it's a great incentive to get back out and see if I can move up in the standings.  Unfortunately, that also means I'm riding instead of stopping to take pictures, making my blog a little boring.

Luckily, Saturday was a NOT boring day on the bike! Chuck, Lori, Dave, and I set to ride some gravel and search out a trail Chuck had seen on Strava (it's contagious).  We rode down the Hamburg Trail (strava segment) to the Katy Trail and then had to do some hunting for the beginning of the lost trail.  Chuck was armed with a topo map, but it was Lori's sharp eyes that spotted the way.

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I don't know how he missed it.
The trail, which I think at one point in the far past was some kind of old gravel road, was seriously overgrown and had a lot of brush and trees fallen across it.  Chuck mentioned maybe coming back another time, but we weren't having any of that.  We were up for an adventure. We did a little riding and a lot of hike-a-bike, and Chuck did a great job of being spiderweb sweeper and brush clearer.

Trail? Once upon a time. I love these old overgrown roads.
You can kind of tell that there was a road here at one point.
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About to get back on the bike...for a minute or so...
We found an old cemetery along the road.  It'll make a great addition to the next edition of our Graveyard Gravel Grinder. There's so much history hidden in the conservation area from the time before the government took over the area for a munitions plant.

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The inscription is all in German.
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Lori, myself, and Dave
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How much fun is this?? There were times you couldn't see anything of the trail. I was laughing like a little kid.
The Francis Howell cemetery was also along our path, though this one is much better maintained.  We found this gravestone for a man who'd served in the War of 1812! One stone was for a man who'd been born in 1762...before the US was even a country! So cool. I kept thinking of all these neat projects I could do revolving around these old tombstones if I taught older kids.

Rode by an old cemetery. This stone was for a care ran of the War of 1812. So much history!

After our exploring was done, we finished our morning with a gravel ride at Busch Wildlife and ended up with 24 miles for the day. Since the Thunder Rolls (next weekend!!!) bike legs are all gravel and we'll surely spend plenty of time traipsing through weeds and woods, we could chalk the day up as great AR training...and seriously fun times. I'm so glad to have friends whose adventure spirit pulls me along to all kinds of cool places like this.

10 comments:

  1. Cool pics! I need to get back to biking but it seems like my running right now is like your biking. You are in the biking zone.

    The lost trail pics reminded me of when I use to work in Highland 15 years ago and me and a friend set out to reopen overgrown trails at silver lake. We strapped bow saws to our mountain bikes with duct tape and cleared a little more section of the trail every week. It was a blast except for the time I had four flats and a mosquito plague swarming around me :-).

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  2. Love finding new places to run or ride, trails especially!

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  3. I could have written so much of that first paragraph. We may like different kinds of biking but that is where our hearts are.
    I don't love training for halves and wonder why I keep signing up for them. The time spent training and doing those long runs cuts into my biking.
    I also could have written about enduring those meetings!
    I could NOT have written about going 36MPH. Whew! I think that is fast!
    My son loves Strava and keeps telling me to use it. It's on my phone so I guess I should.
    Your adventures with your friends sound fun.

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  4. Very cool. I'm jealous of an actual adventure. I just run around and ride around neighborhoods. I was excited because I found a little 3/4 mile trail not far from my house on my run last week that has a little stream beside it.

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  5. Wow, what the wonderful experience narrated beautifully with the lovely photographs..
    thanks for sharing your experience..Dear.

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  6. You always look like you are having the time of your life on the bike! I love the adventures you have...kind of how I feel on the trail. My rides, however, are generally the same route over and over. I might have to venture out a bit.

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  7. As always - your pictures are basically awesome. You have a way of turning any ride or run into an adventure!

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  8. A mix of sport, adventure and "tourism".
    Very very nice!

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  9. Omg I love old cemetaries. I'm so glad other people do too and don't think that it's weird and creepy. What a great ride! I love the idea of mountain bikes, just not the reality...

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  10. Are there like a bajillion mosquitoes in those woods? Cuz that's all I could think of, "Oh god, mosquito central."

    I think as we age (I know I can't believe "50" is aging) that we have done so many wonderful things that our hearts tend to steer us down the path that is most fun...and if biking is it for you now, then don't worry about running and just bike.

    'Cept I know you are signed up for the half marathon (and according to the 10 seconds I was on FB yesterday, you managed to sign up for a shit load of fall stuff...no idea what though :)) so maybe just have fun with that half and enjoy the hell out of the bike. And in the meantime can you PLEASE explain to me why someone likes to road bike....and how to get better on it.

    xo

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