Friday, June 20, 2008


I’m making progress in identifying how to pace myself for an 80 mile day. I’ve found that the key is my pedaling cadence. Believe it or not a cadence of 80 – 90 rpm is the most efficient. I’m in that cadence most of the time now. When the cadence drops, I shift into an easier gear. Typically, it’s my nature to track my biking details during a ride. The ones I track the most are average speed and distance. I’ve found it’s very important for me to not look at either one on this ride. For example, today the climb out of Mitchell was a true 6% grade. My computer also shows my current speed which I new was 6 mph. My temptation is to push it down the other side of the mountain to increase this. It’s also important for me to not look at the day’s total distance. As I near the end of the day and I’m getting tired, I’m tempted to watch the miles and time begins to drag.

Two other pacing items are food and breaks. So far I eat breakfast and then don’t take a break for 30-40 miles. Mary meets me for this break. Today I took another break at 60 miles and had a Dillie Bar. It’s necessary to think of your body as an engine and I’ve yet to determine how to make it run best.

Today’s 77 mile ride was moderately challenging. In addition to the first climb, there was about 20 miles of loose gravel on a newly tarred road. Pushing through it was exhausting. Another reason to use cadence as my guide. The ride would have been 83 miles except for the road construction. Three of us had to put our bikes in the back of the Pilot Car (actually a pickup) to be transported through the construction zone.

Sited on the roadside: Ground squirrels and chipmunks that first ran and then scolded me. Two startled mule deer in the sage brush. Many red winged black birds that took offense at me. They would escort me out of their territory and then pass me off the next sentry. One bird after another shadowed me (literally) for the last 15 miles. And finally, in the middle of nowhere, an evergreen tree full of shoes. I have a picture which I’ll post when I can.

Tomorrow, 66 miles and three summit passes into Baker City.

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