50 Miles

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On the bike, silly!

Still… If you told me two years ago that I’d go 50 miles on a bike one day, I’d tell you, Never! (If you told me last year, I’d tell you, I wish!)

But obviously, the mileage had to happen sooner or later, if I want to successfully ride 56 next year, after swimming 1.2 and before running 13.1.

So the other day, I had the brilliant idea that this weekend, I’d do that 46-mile loop I’ve been meaning to do forever, but have been too chicken to try. The loop in question goes from home to and around Uvas Reservoir, for which I seem to have developed a soft spot.

What can I say, it’s pretty:

from the archive
It was also the playground for my first and second triathlon. Fun times!

And in truth, I had ridden that exact same route once before, except I rode the 26 miles to Uvas, volunteered at a tri, then three-some hours later rode back home.

It’s a pretty scenic ride all along:

also from the archives. Moo!
So technically, all I had to do today was do it again, without the three-hour break in between.

What can I say, it’s intimidating. Any time you have to tackle a distance you’ve never covered before, it’s a little scary.

Like the first time I had to run nine miles. Three more than the longest I’d ever gone! That was 10 years ago, yet I remember it like it was yesterday. OhmygodIhavetorunninemilestoday!! Then, of course, came 13, 15, 18… and on to 26.2. Because, as the saying goes, 26.3 would just be too crazy.

I felt equally intimidated before this ride (not least because a small part of me was sure there was no way I could go that long without falling off the bike; knock on wood, but I do have a talent for accidents).

So this morning, mildly apprehensive and mostly excited (plus aptly caffeinated), I headed out.

I listened to music for the first 20 miles — the majority of those on a flat, straight road that would have been perfect but for the potholes — then I stopped briefly to check directions on my phone, got rid of the music and carried on around the reservoir and back home.

Funny how those hills that only three months ago took may breath away (not with their stunning beauty) were now perfectly breathable. I didn’t even need to switch to the smaller ring. What what?

I was feeling fresh enough to extend my planned miles to 47 by taking a slightly longer route home — then thought, What the heck. I’m so close to 50! So I tacked on a sweet three-mile loop before walking home. Fifty!Could I have gone another six miles to make it to the half-iron distance and give myself irrefutable proof that I can do it? Most definitely, yes.

Could I have run a half marathon after that? Not so much. But that’s what training is for, right?

To push your body to what you thought was impossible — and have it sing back to you, What else you got?How’s your weekend going? Anyone racing today or tomorrow?

4 thoughts on “50 Miles

  • August 11, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Very exciting to hear that you are doing Oceanside in March, there goes being lazy this winter though :). We’ll see if I make my Olympic this October and how it goes (I’m a little injured) and if I live through it (seriously, if I don’t die) I might take the leap of faith and sign up for Vineman 2014 too. Probably better if I train another year first but how many years do I really have left of this :).

    Our Philz is a tiny one on Middlefield Rd that is just a couple miles from the north entrance to Shoreline Park so we loop back to work through the park or if short on time get some street time racing down Middlefield (ugh). Confession, I had never even heard of Philz until I started biking with my work crew who are working hard to both make me a better rider and also to not embarrass them anymore when I ask things like ‘what is Phils?’

    Palo Alto – Midtown / Stanford
    3191 Middlefield Rd at Loma Verde Ave
    Palo Alto CA 94303

    I did the iced mint mojito but now am stuck on how awesome the iced coffee is, plus no carbs. Let me know if you guys are doing a Saturday ride sometime I’d like to tag along.

    Take care

    • August 12, 2013 at 8:21 am

      I don’t know how it’s possible I didn’t know about this Philz! It’s close to my running route on Sunday long runs too! Awesome.

      We might do Bernal this Saturday, you should just rejoin the FB group to get the updates. It’s no longer an official Y club, since the season is “over” according to them 🙂

      As for the March race… I do this every year! Good incentive to keep moving through the winter, and perfect for California (you can train outside all winter long anyway, plus it’s not that hot). You should try. I also signed up for the Big Sur marathon – it’s a month after Oceanside exactly, so technically I won’t have time to train for it and will have to wing it 😉 (HIM endurance should help, though.)

  • August 10, 2013 at 10:28 pm

    Grats on your first 50, you’ve come along way fast with your riding.

    I did a 30 last week on our (long) lunch ride, thank god we stopped at Philz for an iced coffee after the first 23 as I was pretty wiped out. We did climb El Monte though so I had an excuse.

    I too dream of 56 and then jogging 13.1 which is the reason I’m pinging you, you should think about Vineman 2014 for your (or a) half IM if you haven’t got something in mind yet. It sells out instantly (8 minutes this year) so you have to be ready when the time comes and that time is Nov 1st at 9am



    • August 11, 2013 at 1:48 pm

      Oh yeah – I’ll be online Nov 1st and hoping to get in! It’ll be my second IM for the year – already registered for the first, Oceanside 70.3 (season opener, March 29 – also happens to be my birthday. It was meant to be :))

      Where did you find Philz Coffee in South Bay???? FB campus?


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