I've had such a great week riding I just had to share it here.
I have been actively commuting to work (10 miles round trip) pretty much since Daylight savings time went into effect. At first the ride felt challanging and I could realy feel my legs during the first few weeks if I pushed it hard. My co-worker got me involved with the Ride-for-Roswell a cancer research hospital here in Buffalo and we descided to ride 33 miles. It seemed like such a long distance and would be a good challange. I kept riding hard each day and each weekend we would do one longer ride slowly working our way up to 20 miles.
This past weekend we had the ride. It was a great event with over 5000 participants. We were in no hurry, and our youngest team mate was my co-worker's 11 year old daughter. To my great suprise, I realy didn't even feel my legs much after the event. It was an absolutely wonder ride through the country side and we all had a great time. If someone had told me this past Christmass that in half a year I'd go for a 33 mile ride and feel good enough at the end that I could have ridden an other 10 miles.
I had such a good experience that it got me thinking. After work on Tuesday, the Buffalo Zoo was having its members appreciation picnic. What if I rode my bike to the city and then meet up with my wife and daughter. I could put the bike on top of the car and we would all drive home. I layed there thinking about it in bed Sunday night... it should be less than 25 miles so why not! I got up and grabbed my bike path map of the Greater Buffalo area and mapped out the course. I left work a little early and picked up the Amherst Bike path near SUNY at Buffalo. and followed it along to the end. There I followed a nice trail along the last few miles of the Erie canal. Then along the Niagara river over to the West side. Ofcourse I had a strong head wind the whole time as the wind was coming from the South-West. I knew roughly where to pick up the remainder of the Scajaquada trail. This turned out to be a well hidden path. Some local kids were nice enough to point me in the right direction. Mind you this passes through an area that I would NOT travel at night, but in daytime its no so bad. In total it took me about 1.75 hours to ride about 20 miles. What a great ride. A few months ago I would never have even contemplated this type of a ride, actually I would have throught I would have to be nuts to do it. It is amazing how ones perspective changes over time. I had absolutely no soreness the next day. The only thing was that I must have been riding harder than I thought because my lungs were a bit "off." The 90 F temperature, with high humidity and high ozone warning might have been a contributing factor, but in all it was a great ride.
So far a few nice side effects - I recently could tighten my belt an extra inch. My blood pressure is down to normal from previously being boderline high. My wife is also noting my much larger leg muscles. Now I just to add some upper body activity. I don't need to look like Arnold Schwarzenegger, but I do need to look a bit less than Tom Arnold. At 6' 2.5" 225 Lbs, I am not fat, but I certainly am not skinny. I am having such a good time riding. Now I need to get my wife more involved so we can do more of this together.