It’s been quite a fun couple of weeks. I got back from our anniversary trip to San Francisco on Tuesday and I had a few days at work before I had to head off for a short business trip to St Petersburg, Florida. Sure enough we didn’t waste a minute over the weekend as we tried to squeeze in as much as we could into the time we had available.
On Saturday I took part in the ‘Cycle Bucks County’ event for the second year. I had bought my bike (a Trek FX 7.2 hybrid) back in February 2012 and had riden it a few times on relatively flat terrain. What I didn’t expect when I turned up for the 25 mile ride (which at the time was the furthest I had actually riden) was how hilly Bucks County actually was. The ride had a net elevation of about 1,600 feet. I’d only ridden on the flat as I mentioned earlier. At one point in the ride last year as I struggled to get up a really steep climb (Wismer Way) I looked around to see people actually walking their bikes up the hill. I didn’t know that you could do that and I was killing myself trying to pedal up. Needless to say I joined the crowd and hopped off my bike to walk uphill (probably faster than I was actually cycling).
This year gave me a chance to revisit the ride and test my fitness against last year. I again had signed up for the 25 mile route (there was also a 50 mile, 60 mile and 10 mile family ride) and proudly wearing my Team GB cycling jersey (you have to look the part) I took to the start line. I couldn’t remember where the big hill was or what it was called and to be honest where I was going (I have to thank the kind guy in the minivan who told me where all the cyclist went as I was mid pack but had no visual to the riders ahead) and figured I had just run in San Francisco I must be able to do those hills.
Well…I found the hill and it again beat me but I think I got further up than last year and I was more than happy to jump off and walk up. No point in getting hurt for a fun ride. as I mentioned before there was almost 1,600 feet in elevation and this was pretty much an out and back course so as they say “what goes up must come down”. I’m not a big fan of roller coasters. I pretty much like to be in control of my speed and direction but let’s just say there were a couple of frightening moments as I plummeted down some of the hills at (according to my Garmin) over 31 miles per hour….WITH THE BRAKES ON!!!
Either I missed the rest stop at half way or there wasn’t one (there was confusion amongst the riders) so I decided to power on home back to the start/finish at New Hope-Solebury High School and enjoy the beautiful scenery of Bucks County (when I wasn’t holding on for dear life trying to slow down). Around mile 23 when I was close to home I had a feeling that I wasn’t going back the way I came been though I and a couple of other riders were following the temporary road markings. At mile 25 with no finish line in sight I began to worry I had caught up and followed the 50 mile riders. I think I had maxed out my comfort in the saddle around mile 22!!! Luckily I was wrong to be anxious and we turned into the school entrance from the opposite side to last year. The route was actually 27 miles this year. Either that or I had got lost somewhere and didn’t know it. Anyway, mission accomplished and I gratefully sat on the grass and enjoyed myself with some of the post race treats on offer.
Yes, I’ll probably be signing up for it again (unless I can convince my wife to let me do the Philly Tri next year).
On Sunday I had to take an evening flight for a business trip to St Petersburg, Florida. My wife and I both wanted to get a run in and have time to see the new Pixar movie ‘Monsters University’ with the boys so our solution was to run on the canal with the boys in the double stroller. We got up early to keep to a schedule and left the house pretty much around the same time we leave on a school day with the boys. We arrived at Cramer’s Bakery (our usual start and finish point) and got ready to set off. We hadn’t yet given the boys breakfast before we left although we had packed lunch for later in the day so as I set up the double stroller my wife ran into the bakery and grabbed some treats for the boys.
Wow, all I can say is that if you feed a kid a muffin you hear nothing out of them for at least the first 2 miles into a run. The trade-off I guess is that you cannot do that on every run or the stroller will get too heavy to push LOL but it worked for when we needed it. It was a fabulous if a little warm day to be running on the canal and it turned into somewhat of a nature walk as we spotted (as my eldest son correctly pointed out) herons and dragonflies, families of ducks and geese and at one point 6 turtles resting on a log. Nice.
Keeping our eye on the clock we quickly finished our run and loaded up the car to head to an 11am showing of ‘Monsters University’. What a great movie for parents and kids alike. I remember seeing the original movie with my wife in the days before the kids but I really had fun watching it with the boys. In fact we were cheering and laughing together. It was great. After the movie my wife and the boys headed off to the community swimming pool and I showered and headed off to the airport.
I arrived in St Petersburg late on Sunday night and planned to run and explore early the next morning. Two things were immediately apparent on Monday morning. First, the sunrise was almost an hour later than at home and secondly it was way hot and humid. I got to see a beautiful sunrise as I ran along the bay, taking in the pier along the way. It’s was fantastic to see all the wildlife and the activity by the water. It was hot and I very much appreciated the view but it looked better inside with air conditioning.
That night as I was walking to the restaurant I had chosen for dinner I passed by a Kilwins’. This is a chocolatier and ice cream parlor chain that my family and I visit when we are in Sarasota, Florida. Well, I had to take it for the team. There was no one else around to help so I had a nice portion of St Peter’s Mud for everyone who couldn’t be with me (chocolate pieces in caramel)….yum!
So…this meant I had to run to earn my calories back for the next day. On Tuesday I had arranged an 8am meeting so I had to get up earlier than the day before. This actually gave me an opportunity to try to beat the heat. Although the bayfront trail was lit I still put on my headlamp for the unlit areas I was running and headed out for another run. Even without the sun it was still really hot and humid. I ran a nice relaxed 5 miles like I had the day before except this time I ran past the pier and headed out further amongst the houses along the bay. Very pretty. I made it back just before sunrise and had breakfast, showered and packed my suitcase in time for my 8am meeting.
I plan on taking a couple of days off when I get home as we will be down at the Jersey Shore all next week for The July 4th holiday and I want to be rested well so I can enjoy some long runs early in the morning and with my wife and boys as well as some bike rides. I’ll earn my calories for all those boardwalk treats next week. Something I’m very much looking forward to.
I run for health, fun and to be able to have the energy to spend a week with my two wonderful boys.
Life is good 🙂