Monday, June 24, 2013

Night Riding

So I've always lamented (complained) that getting rides in on the bike is always difficult.  I would always like to log more time in the saddle, but it's not as easy as swimming and biking.  The pool is open at 5am Monday through Friday.  Rain or Shine.  It doesn't matter if its 20 degrees outside or summertime.  Running for me is similar.  I run in the dark all the time.  Cold, wind, rain doesn't really matter.

But biking is different.  I don't feel comfortable going out when its raining.  But I will ride on wet streets, as that doesn't really bother me.  Also if I'm in the middle of a ride, and it rains, I will rarely cut the ride short.  I only do that if it looks like a bad thunderstorm.  So mainly its the daylight that hinders a lot of my riding, until last week.

I've met quite a few tri guys swimming at the Y.  I haven't really worked out much with them.  But after the Slide into Baxter tri, one of my tri friends, uber runner Chad, invited me to ride Tuesday morning.  Like 4:30 am on Tuesday morning.  Sunrise is at 6 am, that means Night Riding, baby.  Not to be confused with Knight Rider, duhduh, duhduh, duhduh (you know how it goes).

The key to night riding is lights.  Taillights to be visible to cars, and front lights to be visible to cars and also see the road.  I always ride with a taillight blinking.  I mean always, even in the daytime.  So I picked up a cheap $10 clip on to also wear on my back jersey pocket.  I had front lights so no problem there.

I got up early, but not really any earlier than I would for a long run.  In fact I was up earlier on Thursday for my 15 mile run. So I had everything together the night before that I could.  I skipped the coffee and bagel routine that I normally do for my weekend morning rides.  I started the Garmin at 4:25 am and headed off to the Peach Stand to meet up with Chad.

I took Munn road to try and stay off of 21.  I hit 160 and went down to the Peach Stand, did a U-turn and headed back west on 160.  Soon after crossing the interstate, I ran into Chad going the other way.  I turned around with him back down 160.  Eventually we caught up with Nathan, he u-turned and we were a group.

It felt safer to ride with a couple of other guys.  more lights for cars to see.  More eyes to watch out for cars and other road hazards.  We took 160 to the Gold Hill light and headed down into Tega Cay.  We took that to the fire station where the 4 lanes turns into 2.  We u-turned and headed back to the Peach Stand.  We basically did that out and back loop twice, Peach Stand to the Tega Cay Fire Station (and Runde Park).

Not as boring as it may look.

We started pretty slow, but eventually picked up the pace and I ended up averaging 21.2 mph.  I like to always average over 21, so I was pleased with that.  Also, we really didn't have to stop much at all.  For the hour and a half ride, my Garmin was only paused for 1 minute and 11 seconds.  Pretty Sweet.

Faster as we go.
I ended up getting in 32 miles and got home by 6am.  It was really great.  That's when I usually get done with my morning workouts, so I can be to work by 7am.  The night riding went so well that on Sunday for my long ride I decided to head out in the dark at 5am.  I hit the Garmin at 5:02 am and headed out to the TC Fire Station.  I turned around there, headed back by the house and then across the Catawba and eventually out towards Lake Wylie.  It was great to get a 4 hour ride in (87.5 miles) and still be back an hour before it was time to go to Church.

So the night riding helped me get in 238 miles on the week.  Not Epic, but still pretty awesome for some week in June.  Now I still prefer riding in the daylight, but being able to get more miles in without affecting family time is wonderful.