I was a bit trepidatious this year…I was still nursing the ankle injury I picked up on my 60-mile ride, I had rode a few times but I was worried about agitating it again and having to sit out the remainder of the season. Still, the allure of repeating the Saint Paul Classic Bike Tour for a second year, being able to compare my performance from last year and enjoying the beautiful ride, was irresistible. I signed up, made my plans, and gave myself plenty of rest.
I only rode a few times last week, and those times I did ride, I took everything really easy. I did get a chance to get used to the new gearing on the bike, tho, and I have to say I’m very pleased with the change. It still may need a little adjustment to shift correctly (it only seems to want to upshift in multiples of 2 on the rear wheel) but I like being able to do more than coast down the steep hills I ride around my apartment.
The morning of the ride, I was up by 7am. It was going to be getting warmer and sunnier as the day moved on (75 around ride start, 90 for a daily high), so no need to risk any more sunburn than I needed to! I picked up my bike at work and drove off to Saint Paul. I was on my own this year, which meant that I had to break the pledge and drive myself down to the ride. (They want you to carpool or ride the bus) Anyway, I parked about a mile away from the starting/ending point, got geared up, and headed over to the staging area around 8am.
My dad and I had run into his cousin on the ride last year, so I snuck a peek at the registration list when I was checking in and saw he had registered. I kept my eyes open for him over the entire ride, but I didn’t see him. Next year I’ll have to try to get a hold of him beforehand and see if he wants to ride together, or if nothing else meet up at one of the rest stops.
Since I had done this ride once before, I was able to pace myself quite effectively. I wore my heartrate monitor and managed to keep myself pretty much in my target heartrate zone for most of the 2 hours and 10 minutes I rode. As one would expect, on the three steep hill climbs I did break out on the top side of my zone a bit, but unlike last year I didn’t need to stop and catch my breath at the tops - I just kept on going, confident that I could recover while keeping up a steady pace.
In the end, I pulled into the finish just under 2 hours and 10 minutes, giving me an average speed of 14.0 miles per hour over the course. This is a great time, considering that last year I only averaged 12.5 on the same course, and I often don’t pull in anything more than a 13.5 during a nightly ride, which is often shorter (yet has much more hill work).