First 2009 long bike ride outside

On Sunday, March 15, my friend Josh and I agreed to go for a ride outside. It had been 10 days since my first ride outside, before the temperatures dropped into freezing again and then climbed out to provide warmer weather. Although Josh prefers warmer weather, he and I agreed to ride around the lake.

I was running just a little behind schedule, so I stopped at my local REI and bought myself a state trail pass. I then rode the three miles to catch up with him. When I arrived, he said, “you know, we’re out here and it’s a pretty decent day, so what do you think about riding down to Paoli and back?”

Of course, I agreed, even though I had just raced to by a trail pass. We headed onto the recreational trail and south towards the roads. We crossed a busy intersection and rolled through a residential area before coming along the beltline freeway. At the top of the Seminole Highway bridge, we turned right and headed south. Traffic was pretty light, so rolling out was pretty easy.

It was slightly windy on the way out, but it wasn’t bad. We rolled south in the shoulder, and then continued where there are no shoulders. Ah, rural Wisconsin: the smell of dairy farms wafted the air as we pedaled past them.

Since it was fairly early in the season, neither of us had our cycling legs tuned up yet. So we rode at a moderate pace. When it came time to climb hills, I felt pretty good. We did manage to take  a short break, but we pedaled along quite well for the afternoon.

When I arrived home, I had logged over 35 miles on this ride. A year ago, I would’ve logged about 9 miles on the trainer. The weather definitely made it possible. Since then, I managed to get three more rides in before the temps dropped. The following Tuesday, I rode with another friend wearing only bibs and a jersey – it was nearly 70 degrees F!

As I look outside tonight and think about how cold it is, I wonder how much longer it will be before I can consistently ride outside this season. I am definitely looking forward to warmer weather and spending a lot of time on the bike this year.

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