Yesterday Bo and I took our new bikes out for their first ride. After sleeping until our bodies woke up naturally, I had a huge smile on my face when I saw the blue sky and sunshine streaming through our window. As soon as I stepped out of bed my quads and calves let me know just how they felt about the idea after Saturday’s hilly trail run. I couldn’t let Bo head out with me and instead requested that we do a flat, scenic ride instead of hills.
Even though we took longer than normal to get our act together by 1pm we were on our bikes ready to go. We had oatmeal and coffee as our pre-ride fuel and each carried a water bottle and some fuel. I grabbed Clif Margarita Shot Blocks along with a small bag of pistachios and dried apricots.
Before pulling out of our driveway I asked Bo what our plan was for the ride and he said he’d mapped a great 20 mile route that looked like it would be scenic and take us through the French countryside. I told him that I’d assess how I was feeling and may turn back early but I secretly figured the flat ride would help flush out my legs’ soreness.
I didn’t have many goals for the day other than enjoying the scenery and getting comfortable on my bike. I immediately felt a difference riding this bike, which was fitted to my shape and size on Friday night, versus the rental bike. Everything felt so much more comfortable and I felt like I was able to get more power out of every rotation, thanks to proper adjustment. During our first few miles, while we were in a calm flat area, I practiced clipping and unclipping each foot as we were riding. I’ve read on multiple sites that it’s better to practice doing this when you don’t have to so it becomes second nature when you have to quickly unclip.
At around the 5 mile point we approached the Saleve, which I’ve run a few times but never sumited via the roads. Bo took a moment at a stoplight to study the map and realized that the path he mapped evidently included the Saleve. In that moment I remembered the stories of co-workers who summit it via bike after work and decided that this was as good as any to give it a try. I told him to turn his phone on ring in case I needed to stop and turn around due to tired legs.
From this point we started a 1,000 foot climb including a few hair-pin curves and a few breathtaking view points.
I think Bo heard my choice words coming out of my mouth before he actually saw me come around the corner. At 11 miles and 1,100 feet of elevation climb my body was done. I felt defeated, annoyed and frustrated. He’d tempted me with this awesome adventure and bike path but my body wasn’t ready for it yesterday. He gave me a huge sweaty hug and reminded me of two things – today was my 3rd bike ride and he’s been spending a lot of time in the spin bike saddle over the past few months since his IT band injury.
Before turning around to head down the mountain we took the pictures in this post, including the gorgeous vistas and took in some fuel and water. I’m not very comfortable on the bike yet so drinking water while riding doesn’t come naturally.
As we came to the bottom we decided to start along another path, which we thought would lead us back towards Geneva. We also both thought this would be a flat path. That seemed to be the trend yesterday because just like the previous one, this had plenty of incline as we rode through La Muraz, Annemasse, Thonex, Carouge and finally back into Eaux Vives. Two 300 feet climbs and 17 miles later we found our way back to our flat in Geneva. I was covered in salt, there were tears of exhaustion in my eyes and we both vowed to study maps and trails better before our next long ride. While riding, this ride felt like the ride from hell. But now reflecting on it a day later I’m thankful for the experience.
His MapMyRide app captured the entire ride save for the last 3 miles pretty accurately, within 3 tenths of a mile of my Garmin.
Lessons learned yesterday:
1. Always carry more fuel and water than you think you need.
2. Double check your routes using the elevation button on MapMyRide before starting the ride.
3. Wear and bring extra sunscreen with you because it will need to be applied.
If you’re an avid cyclist, what apps do you love?