May 12, 2012

A short ride from home

The plan had been to continue like yesterday: work in the garden, get caught up on some of the many chores and projects that have languished while I've put my energy into my job, and riding. Ahh, that might go, into riding and my job. The plan was: turn in the rest of the winter rye cover crop, plant carrots, beets, lettuce, spinach, some flowers outside. Plant winter squashes, cucumbers in containers, for transplanting out after we're past frosts. Weed and fertilize perennials. Depressingly enough, clean up and try to restore the raspberries, which the deer devoured last winter. We will have almost no raspberries this summer. Who knew deer like to eat such thorny things.

But the sky looked like this. It was warm. There was no wind. I haven't been on my bike since Sunday, that's 5 days and my legs were itching to push pedals around. So, no contest, I went for a couple hours ride, hoping to get home and still have the afternoon for garden work.

As usual I started with a quick ride along the road near the stream, for an easy, flat warm-up. The apple trees are blooming, these are wild ones, we call them road apples. Kingfishers live here, and today I watched one hunting, flying along above the water ahead of me.

Then I turned south on Rt. 8 and rode down to R. 20. The ride is rolling, and I have decided to use it as a benchmark, to measure what progress I might make. The first climb is the one I use for hill repeats, I usually ride them after work, or in the morning of a busy day, somewhere between 5 and 10 times, up, then back down to the bottom, and up again. I have no idea what the grade is, but now I think that I can figure it out. My new bike computer measures climbs and I am developing some confidence in it.  My computer reported essentially the same figure to me that the organizers used in last week's cyclosportif. And, in today's ride, it was virtually exactly the same in distance and climb as Ride with GPS. Does that mean I can have some faith in that web site?

Ride with GPS says today's ride was 22.4 miles, 1610 feet climbing. My computer reports 22.82 miles, 1605 feet.  I know that the ride was slightly longer than Ride with GPS said, because of a minor detour I didn't try to map.

It was a good day. I was surprised, I suppose, because I thought I rode pretty hard, but my average speed, average cadence and average heart rate were all lower than in last week's much longer cyclosportif. Guess that is partly what riding in events and with other people does for you.

What sites do you, readers, trust for knowing what percent grade climbs are, and how much climbing a route includes? Or do you rely on some other method?

Oh yes, woodland wildflowers are still blooming, and the trillium is putting on a lovely show. I close with this photo. And I did get a decent bit of that garden work done this afternoon.


  1. Fabulous photos! I've been gardening and cycling this morning too. It's a great combo.

    1. Hi Steph,
      Thanks! With how busy your world must be it's great you can grab time for a ride. Even without animals, when this garden was big, I had no time for anything else!

  2. Thanks for this! I am so cross to be missing the apple blossoms, kingfishers, and general life-y-ness of Spring in the Berkshires. Bike tune-up is top of my list when I get there!

    1. Hi there Susan,
      Can't wait til you are back, I totally miss our rides! The apple blossoms will be gone, but so, hopefully, will the May flies. And there should be peonies. See you before too long ... and you'll get a chance to use those new clips.


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