I cycled to Deep Cove and back today. It is a 100 km round trip with some of the most difficult climbs I have experienced this season. Some long. And some, very steep. 25%. Perhaps more. When my pace falls below 10 kph, it’s steep. There were times I was struggling to maintain a 6-7 kph pace. Tough. But satisfying.
I am not certain I would do this ride again. There are parts of the route that were very enjoyable. Scenic. Good road conditions. Little traffic. But there were other sections where there was a lot of traffic and no bike lanes. And, crossing the 2nd Narrows Bridge (Iron Workers Bridge) is not fun. There is a separated bike lane but it is narrow and very close to the traffic, mostly large trucks. In the past, I have driven the bike over the bridge and then rode. I think I would do that next time.
But this was a different ride. This was not a training ride, although it was a good workout. I took the commuter/touring bike imagining I was on a trip. Exploring. No specific route in mind. Cycling, and stopping, like I might if I was on the road for an extended period. Although I cycled ~ 100 km, I only averaged 20 kph, in part because there was a lot of climbing and also, because I was not in a hurry. Some of the roads were new to me and I wanted to explore.
I learned several things from this ride. First, if I travel at a slower pace, I can cycle for a long time and cover a long distance. Second, if I eat and drink regularly, I don’t tire as easily. I went through several bottles of water, 2 Cliff Bars and a home-made gel (mango, banana, oil, salt, water, chia seeds and yerba mate) and, I stopped for a coffee and scone mid-way.
I felt like a tourist today, travelling a new, unfamiliar route. It was exhilarating. Difficult. And, fun.