I took a break yesterday. It was my birthday- my 64th- and I figured what the heck. So I didn’t do anything. Well, almost. I did get on the (unloaded) bike and ride a half mile/800 meters downhill to get a Subway footlong double meat roast beef sandwich for lunch, then back just past the motel to a Rite-Aid drugstore for some first aid kit stuff and a tape measure, then back to my room. Later I ate a middling size bag of air-popped olive oil and sea salt flavored popcorn and went to bed early after a nice phone call with my wife.
Oh, and I glued my rapidly falling apart left shoe.
Today it’s so far, so good.
And, now that I think about it, I used the tape measure I bought to check out my waist size. I got some bad news- none of my pants will even close to fit when I get home. I’ll spare you the photo, as I’m sure you get the idea.
The rest of the day I relaxed and tried to figure out why a month’s worth of riding every day hadn’t seemed to translate into greater stamina and endurance. I seem to continue to be running out of both go-power and daylight right around the 35-40 mile/~55-65 kilometer point each day. I really had hoped to be solidly into 50 mile/80 kilometer days by now. I’ve managed two.
I rolled different ideas around and around during the day yesterday and think that I have come up with the answer. Along the Nova Scotia coast where I started, pretty much every day the total elevation gain was under 2,000 feet/600 meters, with most days less than 1,500 feet/450 meters climbed. Since I’ve been riding in New Brunswick and Maine, comparable distances every day but one or two have seen a total elevation gain of over 2,000 feet/600 meters with a handful over 2,500 feet/750 meters. My experience tells me that the hills in Maine and New Brunswick have been by and large more steep, too. It is hard to get good grade information off of the RidewithGPS app on an iPhone, but I’m pretty sure that there have been a number of significant hills with a 10% grade or more. I have a hard time believing, given my physical condition at the start of the trip, that I am pedaling all the way up these hills. I know that a few have left me completely spent for a half hour or so after I reached the crest. I know that I was not dealing, with but one or two exceptions, with any hills like these in Nova Scotia.
So I do have more stamina and go-power. I’m just expending it on more significant hills, and my daily rides are shorter as a result. There’s good news, though, ahead. The total elevation gain projected by RidewithGPS for the entire trip is right about 90,000 feet/27,000 meters. I have overcome, based on my cumulative daily ride stats, just about 55% of that gain- a little less than 50,000 feet/15,000 meters in the mileage ridden to date- about a quarter of the length of the entire ride. This leaves 40,000 feet/12,000 meters of gain for the remaining three-quarters, and I’ll burn through about 10,000 feet/3,000 meters more before I leave Maine.
What I’ll do then is reduce my planned daily miles for about the next week. I figure, adding in yesterday’s rest day and the low mileage days in the Acadia area, that this will put me five days behind the schedule I published in a post a few days ago. I now expect to be in Boston on the 28th of this month and arriving in Key West in the second week of November. I’ll update the entire schedule in a day or so.
In the meantime, I need to get back on the bike and ride.