Giving my fingers a rest

Here is a heads up for regular readers of Low Cadence. I’m going to take a break here for several days. No, this is not the beginning of the end of the blog. This is a planned break and I’ll pick up again in about a week.

Part of it is because I sometimes need to get away from describing rides and such because I lose a little bit of the passion for it. It gets tiring to tell similar stories over and over again. I’m sure it is even worse having to read them!

I’m not able to spend as much time on the bike as I have in years past. Typically I only have a max of 2 hours to spend on the bike. Normally, I have less than 1.5 hours. This means I’m covering the same roads over and over again. There are only so many times I can describe climbing Paris Mountain!

Saturday, I did get a little more time out on the bike. I worked all morning at a conference. Following lunch I took an uncharacteristic nap. It was good for me though and I was feeling good when I finally got on the bike.

I just set my sights to head out on some old roads I had not ridden in some time. I remembered some Thursday night rides I used to love. A bunch of us guys would go out and hammer out in the Travelers Rest area and then finish up the ride with a climb up the mountain. There were some epic battles racing up to the top on those late Thursday evenings in the fading light.

Once out there I made left turn on a road that I normally would have turned right. I was glad I did. At first the road was a little rough with the type of asphalt they used. However, soon it smoothed out and started a long gentle descent. I was exploring roads I had never ridden.

That road led me back to Faris Bridge road. I kept looking for spurs off of this main road to avoid the traffic and to find more roads that I could experience for the first time. Each road kept bringing me back to Faris Bridge. I knew if this kept up, I would end up in the city limits of Pickens.

Thankfully, I was able to turn off towards Dacusville and continue my search for new roads to travel. I was not disappointed. No training plan, no Strava and little to no traffic. The roads wound through rolling terrain under trees and by old mills and houses.

All too soon the time came for me to head back home. Of course, though I was on some new roads to me, they were branching off of more familiar roads. I wasn’t lost and knew how to get home.

So, I set off. Along the way I knew I would head up Old Hunts Bridge road. I remembered seeing there was a Strava segment on that road, but I wasn’t sure where it started and ended. I also had no idea what time I would need to land in order to show up on the leader board.

I decided to just put in a good effort all along the road and see how my time would stack up with those who had already ridden it. The thing about Strava segments is you never know if it is a segment that people really even care to put out an effort for or if it just is a part of normal routes. So, it is very possible that the times represent someone just leisurely riding along.

Well, I get it a bit of a push. There was nothing leisure about it. At the same time, I wasn’t killing myself on it. It was just an effort to gauge how other people had approached the route.

Once back in Cleveland Park, I needed to get a few more minutes it. (Coming back into town always seems to take less time than getting out.) So, I did a couple of laps in the park. Here again, I went with a pretty good effort, but with no intention of laying down a PR around the 2.5 miles circuit.

Wouldn’t you know it, when I got home I found I had landed the Strava KOM for the Hunts Bridge climb and had also bested my KOM time in Cleveland Park by about 10 seconds. I was surprised. It shows me that I have definitely improved my fitness since early spring when I first set the KOM in the park. Now I’m thinking I could pull off a sub-six minute time.

Of course, I logged in to find that John James had smoked the climb up the CVS side of Paris Mountain. I was so excited that I had finally gotten under 15:30 and was in striking distance of the KOM time of 15:15. John then goes and throws down a 14:43!

Enjoy riding! If you just have to have your Low Cadence fix, just head back in the archives. There are plenty of stories back there. Having written here off and on since 2006, there are over 1,600 blog posts! Yeah, I think I’ll give my fingers a rest.