Saturday, July 24, 2010

San Gabriel River Bike Path Time Trial

On Friday morning, I loaded my bike in the car and drove a few miles down the street to Liberty Park in Cerritos so I can ride it on the San Gabriel River bike path. I’m still trying to avoid riding on the streets. It was an unusually cool morning for a summer day so I wore a long sleeved technical running shirt (since I don’t have a cycling jersey), and it still felt cold going out. The headwind didn’t help any.
 I haven’t ridden a bike on that path since the 80’s when I was still living in Bellflower but I’m still very familiar with the course. I set out going south towards Long Beach not knowing how long it will take me to reach the end of the path at the border of Seal Beach. The course, from where I started in Cerritos, goes through Lakewood, then El Dorado Park in Long Beach, towards Seal Beach, was mostly flat other than going under bridges, but riding back up from under those bridges required more effort though not enough for stand ups on the bike. I don’t know why, but I was going on what I thought was a pretty good clip because my breathing was labored. It felt like a 10K run effort most of the way except for the coasting part. Towards the end of the path in Seal Beach, I saw Diane from AREC, whom I ran with in December of 2008 (, and talked to her for a couple of minutes. She was out for a long run before leaving for a South American country later that evening for missionary work. I don’t think she recognized me with my helmet on though.
Back to the ride, I went south for 29 minutes and was faster coming back north by a couple of minutes despite the time spent talking with Diane. Maybe the slight tailwind helped but there was also a crosswind to contend with. In any case, because of the hard effort I put into the ride, I think I would consider that an unintended one hour time trial. I finally wore my GPS watch this time and saw that I covered 16.54 miles in 1 hour. Not quite Tour De France proportions, but nevertheless a good workout for me.
Just as I finished the ride, the battery on my mp3 player died. Good timing, wasn’t it? What are the chances of that happening? Derriere update: it has been feeling better with the combination of the new padded shorts, gel saddle, and just plain adjusting to riding a bike again.      
Four weeks of no running… but you know what? With the hard effort I was able to put in, I think I might have gotten endorphinated by that ride!

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