Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Hello Nepal my old friend

In the pool again this morning, with lots more people. I still didn't have to share a lane, but it was getting close. Easy swim, 45 minutes.

What had me excited for today was weather nice enough for me to ride outside! As is well known, I'm a bit of a bike weenie. Once it gets much below 10 C ( 50 F) I start getting reluctant to go. Yes, I've layered up and gone out when it's colder than that, but it's not much fun. Being on a bike is about shorts and a bike shirt. There's a guy that lives in the cul-de-sac behind us, and he rides in all weather down to about -35 C. I saw him out on the path one day when I was doubting the sanity of running, what with the icy footing and -WTF wind chill temperatures. There is no way I'd be riding, but he thought nothing of it.

Today was the day. There is snow in the forecast for tomorrow. It won't stick, of course, and they're only talking about 5 cm (2 inches) after a bunch of rain. So nothing hardly worth talking about. I called around to price out a new wheel to save the bother of changing the tire each time I have to swap between and inside and outside ride. Holy expensive Batman! Using a generous calculation of it taking 15 minutes longer to change a tire, and a generous application of my billable rate, times the number of times a year it might need doing, and that is a very long payback period.

So I didn't. I changed the tire. There was a minor scrape and a bit of blood, but nothing serious. Things went smoothly to get all the trainer gear off the bike and prep for an outside ride. Estela was happy. I chanced to hear one of my favourite songs when I was doing this, and of course I started to filk it.

Hello Nepal my old friend
I've come to ride on you again
because my fitness needs testing
to find the flab grown while I was resting
It wants to take over in my gut
And stay there
in a shell of softness

 The road itself is good, but lots of gravel and crap on the side. The other thing today was the wind. This is up there with some of my windiest rides. It was coming out of the south, and that made for a very long ride to the bottom of the road. 1:21. Cross wind was a bit tricky. Turned around and figured the wind was about 30 Kph with stronger gusts every now and then. It didn't quite blow me up the hills but it sure helped push me along. I made it home in less than an hour for a total trip time of 2:18.

I wasn't sure what to expect, and once I realized what the wind was doing I decided to not worry about time, just see how I felt on various parts of the road. There is no riding this road "easy". For those new to my blog there is a reason the local bike community called this "The Road to Nepal." Hills. There are lots of places that have bigger hills. Steeper hills. Longer hills. But this road is all hills, all the time. Here's an elevation profile in a previous blog. The distance of road that could be considered flat is to be measured in a fairly small number of meters. The road itself is only 37 Km out and back, and the start is 7.5 K from my house. Many people like to ride it one way, and take in some of the other roads around, which being in the foothills, have hills too. Just not as many. Riding out and back from 22X (where they've improved the parking lot from a bog to graded, graveled area) is considered a pretty good workout.

Overall, I'm pretty pleased for a first outdoor ride of the year. The wind took about 20 Kph off my downhills, and slowed the uphills even more. Coming back was nice, I hit 89 Kph on one hill without really trying. The fastest I've ever done this is 1:58 trying to keep up to Katie. (As if.) I'm not sure what the slowest time is. I don't like to think about it. My legs felt pretty strong, but there was a little twitch in my spin I've not noticed before.

I said hello to the herd of bison. They were milling around, pretending not to be enjoying the nice weather. No baby calfs so far this year, so no mama's giving me the stink eye as I rode past. I saw two other bikers on the road, both dressed much more warmly than me. I hope they didn't cook on the way back. There were a few times it was nice and warm. I'm looking to lots more rides that way, and out 22X. Anybody wants to go for a ride in this area, let me know and I'll come with, if I can. We've often had people park here and head out, which gives them a place to water up, and a fridge to store a post ride snack.


  1. Sounds so fun! I think I'll have to start biking this year, Evie is getting fast on her toddler bike. I have to run to catch up; it gets harder each time.

    That said, for now, I'll run but not bike with you. Running hills is awesome; biking hills is so not for me. Let's just say I tried to ride up a "hill" in English Bay in Vancouver once (elevation < 1 m). I got the raw end of the deal, as in raw hands and knees. Yeah, I suck at it.

  2. For now. I'll keep that in mind. I can see it now, in a couple of years you'll be riding circles around me going up the steepest hills on RtN.

    So THAT'S how you're getting to be such a fast runner so quickly! Chasing Evie.


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