Training for the Tour du Canada is definitely in full swing now. I have ridden every day since my last post, making it 6 days out of the past 7. Distances vary, as they should on a training program. I am not yet up to huge distances, but it is coming. In training for a marathon your body needs to stress and rest. In other words you push then back off, giving your body a chance to rest. I’m taking somewhat the same approach in my cycling and will be gradually increasing the distances of my long rides.
Incidentally, while I’m sure most readers have figured this out by now, if you click on most of my pictures a larger version will open up.
On Sunday I had a pretty easy ride as I went out to cheer on a couple of friends, Lesley and Nanci, running the half marathon at St. Albert’s 3rd annual Run Wild. At the finish line I ran into a lot of running friends who I haven’t seen for a while as I haven’t been running. It was certainly a nice day for the run: definitely much nicer than when I ran the full marathon in the first Run Wild. But that’s another story.
Yesterday was a long ride day. I rode out to “the T” and back, a distance of 64 km. This is not really a t-intersection but serious cyclists in St. Albert know what you mean by “the T”. It actually is a cross-road of secondary highways 633 (Villeneuve Road) and 779. However only Hwy 779 and Villeneuve Road up to the intersection are paved. West of the intersection Hwy 633 is gravel. So the paved roads do form a T.
It’s a nice ride from the north end of St. Albert past the hamlet of Villeneuve, past the Villeneuve Airport and up a long gentle but grinding climb to the “T”.
Today I eased off a bit with a scenic 25 km ride out to Riverstone Pointe via Sturgeon Road and back via Coal Mine Road. The Sturgeon River, usually more of a stream than a river, is higher than I have seen it in a number of years and in some places is taking on the appearance of a lake. Coming around one curve in the trail below Riverstone Pointe I had to come to a sudden stop as a portion of the trail was underwater. Not having pontoons on my bike I had to retrace my route a bit and take another trail into the acreage development.
A few weeks ago, over coffee, a friend told me that what people really want to hear is the gory details about riding. Forget the sights and sounds, how’s your butt?!! So in the interests of full disclosure on the topic of the “butt-ache of sore-e-ass-is” I can tell you first and foremost that Chamois Butt’r is a cyclist’s best friend. Much of the pain of cycling comes from friction and this marvelous product helps with that.
The critical element though, most often the subject for debate, is the saddle. For decades cyclists have searched for the perfect saddle. Such a saddle probably doesn’t exist and maybe never will. So really it is finding a saddle that works for you. When I bought my bike I swapped out the saddle that came with it for a fairly new design saddle. This saddle is shorter than a typical saddle and has a split in it. The concept is that anatomically it creates less pressure on your “nether-regions” while supporting the part of you that really needs support. The theory is that this results in less chafing and therefore less pain. I rode with this saddle a bit last summer but wasn’t entirely sold on it. The first few rides this spring I still found myself a little “tender” afterwards but after a slight adjustment to the angle of the saddle my comfort level increased.
On a scale of 1 to 10, by my second ride this spring my pain level was probably at a 7 or 8. Today I would have to rate it around a 3. I can still feel a bit of tenderness but it is definitely getting better. Hopefully this trend continues so I can spend the hours required in the saddle.
So for those that care … there you have the sordid details!