A good ride and a brush fire
I said yesterday that I wasn’t going to write about every single training ride that I take unless something remotely interesting happened, so how does a brush fire sound? Interesting, no? Thought so. I had a really fantastic ride today, despite the fact that the air around Avalon is choked pretty thick with smoke from a small brush fire a few miles away. There was virtually no wind this morning and the humidity was off the charts (like 90+%) so there was very little to keep the smoke from settling into a thick fog over a good portion of my planned ride course. Regardless, I felt really strong and comfortable on the bike, and adjusted my route on the fly to reach my goal this morning of 19 miles. Here’s the vitals:
A couple of things that I noticed. One, my time in the pool yesterday was well spent (something that I repeated again today, 10 slow laps of breast stoke for flexibility and resistance work, followed by 3 sets of lift, clean, press and throw of 2 60+ pound weights in the shape of kids. I set a PR for distance on my last throw, very excited about that.) I felt looser faster than usual (something the humidity undoubtedly helped as well, and had little to no back stiffness early on, something I usually have to work out. The other thing I’ve noticed is that the admittedly small amount of burst and speed work I’ve done is already paying dividends, as I am tackling the small grades and hills that I encounter with little to no loss of pace. My endurance and overall to maintain a pace is definitely improving, which is encouraging after such a short period of time.
The smoke did make me adjust my normal route for this kind of distance, but it wasn’t too much of a hindrance beyond the smell. After about 4 or 5 miles I felt like I’d knocked back a pack or two of Marlboro Lights (and had a sudden craving for wine and a broken deck chair for some reason. Strange.) When I turned onto Innovation Way, the air was pretty clear, so I decided to see how far I could get before running into the hazy wall of smoke I could see in the distance, since Innovation is a great open stretch to ride, despite the fact that you ride right past main garbage dump for East Orange County. If nothing else, the smell of the smoke was muting the normal fragrance that you encounter on this road when the wind is still or is blowing in your direction.
I made it the 3 miles or so it takes you to get to the big “garbage hills” before the stench overpowered the smoke, which was starting thicken into a nice roux about this time. To top things off, I had to ride past a group of vultures devouring the remainders of what at one time appeared to be a deer, so by the time I made it past the dump I smelled like a combo of Marlboro Lights, rotting flesh, garbage and regret. An enchanting combo, like the crazy Great Uncle you only see at family reunions who wears the same jacket with a faded crest from 1958 to go with his oxygen tank, tracheal voice box, moth ball cologne and plate of head cheese and braunschweiger. No wonder my family was so happy to see me when I got back back.
The smoke was getting too thick to venture much longer, so I did a u-turn a couple of miles short of the Beachline Overpass and headed pack to Avalon Park. I finished off the rest of the ride by riding out past Timber Creek High School and thankfully didn’t get a flat on a stray glass chard or berated by any random churchgoers out early. All things being equal I would had preferred to ride more along Innovation since there’s a lot less cars to dodge, but this was a pretty good substitute on the fly. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s intervals in the morning.
I had another idea to follow and some questions to ask you in polling form, but this post is probably long enough already (and that’s the point of the questions I want to ask), so I’m going to save it for a second post later today.