Now that marathon training in behind me, my IT band injury is keeping me from cranking out long runs, and the weather has warmed up a lot, most of my time is being focused on cycling. So far in the past week or so, I've ridden about 150 miles on my new bike. Since I haven't been able to get in any long rides yet, I am uping my cycling frequency to add mileage so I can get my bike mojo working and crank out some big rides.
Yesterday's ride was a 40 miler out on the W&OD trail out to Herndon and back. Its an easy ride, since there is a dedicated trail the whole way. Only problem is days like yesterday bring out tons of "amatures", who create havoc on the trails by not knowing the rules. Fortunately, the further you get out from Arlington, the lighter the traffic. I left early enough so I didn't have to deal much, but hit major gridlock on the trail in the last 5 or so miles back to Arlington. I really pushed the first 25 miles or so, probably harder than I should have, which left me without much oomph the last couple of miles. I gotta build up my endurance to keep the pace, because I was hauling for those first 25 miles.
Today, it was hill time. I've avoided the hills like the plague, but I know they are good for me. For my first time out there, I managed to squeak out 2 loops, but it wasn't easy. Each loop has roughly 1500 ft of elevation gain in a short 8 miles. After the first few hills on the first loop, I was thinking I might call it a day after one loop, but I forced myself into the 2nd loop since this is the last workout of the week for me, due to a trip out of town. The 2nd loop...not.so.easy. On the steady climbs, I sat in my 2nd easiest gear cranking as hard as I could. The last hill forced me out of the saddle, and for the first time in a long time, I was truly exhausted both in cardiovascular and muscular fitness. This is a good thing. These hills will make me a much stronger rider so that I can continue to push through on both hilly and flat courses. But don't tell my legs, because they don't want to see the hills for a very long time.