Friday, April 18, 2014

Field-Work Friday: Good Friday

I was pleasantly surprised last year when I discovered my office gave us half a day off on Good Friday.  I took advantage of the loosening of my cubicle/cage door and rode my vintage Bianchi sporty-sport bike the 42 miles from Lexington to home as was chronicled in a post entitled The Long Commute Home.  It was my first real bicycle commute since moving back to Kentucky from Colorado, and it was grueling in a good way.

I cut across southern Clark County and stuck close to the Kentucky River as much as I could to avoid roads with heavier traffic, but the trade-off was much heavier topography.  What I’d not anticipated was the poor gearing of the 1986 road bike.  It obviously wasn’t designed for climbing.  It killed me.
Since then I’d not had the chance to repeat that commute on a different bike and had considered catching a ride to Lexington Friday morning with the sporty-sport bike in tow only to return like a red blaze in the afternoon repeating my 2013 Good Friday route.  But then I came up with a better idea.
My wife (Mandy) had mentioned that Good Friday was the day you’re supposed to plant potatoes so I said we should build potato bins and plant potatoes and work around the yard since the kids would be in school for the afternoon.  She was agreeable so I changed my plans to ride, knowing there would be plenty of time over the weekend and going forward this spring (now that it’s warm) and we’d be burning good calories to grow some calories.
This morning a thought struck me…Earth Day is next Tuesday.  In my head I started composing a post for next Tuesday and I remembered this photo I took on Earth Day in 2011:
I-70 in Wheat Ridge, CO

You know it: I decided I am going to commute to and from work—84 miles round trip—next Tuesday if…yes, there is a condition…if the weather cooperates.  Realistically with a 42 mile commute it wouldn’t be worth it if I had to ride through steady or heavy rain or high winds.  That’s just too far to ride to work unless the conditions are within a certain range of acceptability. 
What I hope is that I can break the current commute barrier and begin regularly, when it’s feasible, commuting to and from work at least a couple of times a week.  I know that’s kind of shooting for the moon, but if I can pull it off even a couple of weeks a month then I will start to see an economic benefit really quickly.  If I were ever fit enough to really slay the ride and knock it out in around 2 hours each way I might be able to ramp it up to three times a week when the weather is primo.  The problem then becomes the amount of time I spend on the road.  In the summer, in the mornings, I’m really stealing time from no one, but in the evenings getting home at 6:30 pm regularly becomes a burden on my family.
Perhaps I can negotiate with my supervisor and find some flexibility in scheduling…
This should be the incentive for me to lose 30 pounds.  To be fast enough to make this commute in a reasonable amount of time I need to drop the weight.  Through dropping the weight, and by dropping the weight, I could save my family considerable amounts of money.
While this whole idea might seem crazy to some, my mind has evolved to the point, through experience, where I see this as a real possibility.  In practice it all may fall apart due to laziness or psychosomatic wussitide.
I’ve been itching to get out and ride more.  And of course I’m signed up for the Mohican 100(k) and have been riding my mountain bike exactly 0% of the time lately.  It’s coming out of the Bike Cave this weekend. 
In the very near future I fully expect to be able to report on early bikecragging attempts in the Red River Valley as well as some biketouring/packing activity.  There are also mountain bike trail construction days in my future.  Oh, the calories I will burn!

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