All my prior rides have been on familiar trails and roads or group rides with a leader who knows where we are going.
Today I went my first solo 50 mile bike ride. Here are a few things I learned:
1. Spend some time studying the route map BEFORE I go on the ride – and not a quick once over. Match the trail map to the cue sheet. It will help me from getting lost and frustrated.
2. Do not put the trail map in the back pocket of my bicycle shirt. After I have worked up a sweat, the paper gets damp and disintegrates (and of course is then pretty useless). Instead, put the map in Ziploc bag. Also, DO NOT leave the ride cue sheet, which lists the turns and miles, at home. It doesn’t do any good there. Without the a good map and cue sheet for unfamiliar bike rides, I will become frustrated, lost, and the ride won't be as enjoyable as it could have been.
3. There was only one water stop available. Figure out a way to add another water cage to my bike or use a hydration system.
4. Do not fall of the bike. It hurts. Bring a small first-aid kit so I can clean off my arm when I scrape it during the fall.
5. Remember I am clipped in. Do not get distracted. Think about myself first before stopping for any reason. Don’t stop in a panic. Don't have a conversation with anyone when I am nearing a stop, I can visit when them in a few minutes. Try to think ahead.
6. Get a new pair of better fitting clipless shoes because when I am clipping out, my foot moves inside the shoe too much before I can actually unclip the shoe. Otherwise, just quit using clipless altogether. I fall too much.
7. Stop and take some photos of the ride. I would have done this had I had more time, but I spent a lot of time being lost and figuring out where to go.
8. If I feel like I am losing control of the bike, look where I want to go and keep going. (I learned that one from a co-rider motorcycle class.)
9. When I get home, drink some more water and eat. Well that is if #10 doesn't happen.
10. Do not forget to put the salmon patties you made to eat when you got back in the fridge. Otherwise the cats will have made of mess of the kitchen and you will have to find something else to eat.