Half-Day Friday

I took a half-day off from work so I could fit in a long bike ride. I'm sure this doesn't surprise any of you at this point.

Hi, my name is Ryan.  And I'm a triathlaholic.

"Hi, Ryan."

After scheduling the vacation time, the ride itself turned out not to be very long, around 1:50.  But the experience was so different and so refreshing compared to more typical morning rides that I'm quite satisfied I cashed in some holiday time to do it.  Even if it was a solo endeavor.

Despite a fairly persistent head-wind, ride conditions were just about perfect.  Not many cars, temperature around 72, decent cloud cover, and plenty of scenery to enjoy.  Deer were foraging in the brush.  Cows and horses were grazing leisurely, and farmers were meticulously paying attention to their bounties.

The image below was probably my favorite of the day.  It seemed straight out of "Babe," with a dog sternly admonishing a group of cows for doing whatever it is that cows do when they're causing trouble.  I actually stopped the bike to wait for a small piglet to chant, "Bah Ram Ewe!  Your sheep, your fleece, your clan be true!"

No such luck.

The relaxing ride conditions allowed me to enjoy the scenery more. I noticed homes that I've never seen at a certain angle.  Hills with lush green grass that I've overlooked in the past. The valley floor atop Portrero Road, looking like what I'd expect the Texas hill country to be more than suburban Los Angeles.

Everyone should take the opportunity to look up every once in a while on their cycling journey to appreciate everything around them.  Hopefully it won't take you a mid-afternoon weekday jaunt to do it.  Wished I had noticed these things sooner, because it only adds to he beauty of the experience.

Since Coach Gerardo's instructions were to ride however I felt, I took it fairly easy today.  Though my heart-rate climbed to about 156 bpm at the peak of Portrero Road returning from Newbury Park, I typically was riding in the 120-140 bpm range.  I noticed that the first part of my ride was definitely at a slower pace.  The fatigue factor from earlier in the week seemed to come back and bite me in the butt.  Once I descended Portrero Road down towards Lynn Road, I got my legs under me.  That was about 45 minutes into my ride.  I wonder if it takes me longer to warm up now, which would account for my sluggish bike ride on Wednesday when the entire ride lasted the same amount of time.

Now that I'm back at home to enjoy the rest of my afternoon, I can look ahead to a day off of training tomorrow and ultimately the monster that lurks in the distance, at 20-mile run that will culminate with the Firecracker 10k in downtown Los Angeles. I remember when a 10k was a significant fitness achievement in my life.  I literally cried when I completed my first 10k in 2008.  Now, it's a training run.  Damn.

Happy Friday, everyone!  Mine's started off just right.

270 days and counting.