Half marathon training is going…slowly. After a strong start, I’ve had a couple weeks of skipped runs and lagging paces (hmmm…could there be a connection there? lol). Today’s 9 miles was tough, with the last couple miles being pretty ugly. One problem is that I’ve been worn out and super busy with starting back in the classroom (well, getting my classroom ready and all the beginning of school meetings we endure enjoy), but the bigger issue is that my heart isn’t in running right now. I’d much much rather be on my bike.
All of my bikes have been getting some use lately. I ride my cross bike when I ride with the boys, and I did a Trailnet ride last Sunday (50 miles of pavement sure goes by more quickly than gravel or singletrack!) on my road bike. I spent part of the time riding with friends and part just cruising along on my own. It was fun to ride faster than usual and feel strong, and I’ve gotten braver on paved hills. At one point I hit 36 mph (on a downhill), not all that fast for other people but super fast for me. And I wasn’t even whimpering!
I’m completely in love with my mountain bike right now though. I’ve been riding a bunch at our local trails, and all that familiarity is making me much more confident and comfortable. Usually when I ride my mountain bike I spend as much time feeling a little sick to my stomach as I do enjoying myself, but lately it’s a blast. I’ve managed to bring up my average pace 2.5 mph over where it was at the beginning of the month. I’ve gotten a little obsessed with Strava. It’s interesting to see how I measure up to other people, but it’s really cool to be able to compare my own times on certain segments and see the improvement…and it’s a great incentive to get back out and see if I can move up in the standings. Unfortunately, that also means I’m riding instead of stopping to take pictures, making my blog a little boring.
Luckily, Saturday was a NOT boring day on the bike! Chuck, Lori, Dave, and I set to ride some gravel and search out a trail Chuck had seen on Strava (it’s contagious). We rode down the Hamburg Trail (strava segment) to the Katy Trail and then had to do some hunting for the beginning of the lost trail. Chuck was armed with a topo map, but it was Lori’s sharp eyes that spotted the way.
|I don’t know how he missed it.|
The trail, which I think at one point in the far past was some kind of old gravel road, was seriously overgrown and had a lot of brush and trees fallen across it. Chuck mentioned maybe coming back another time, but we weren’t having any of that. We were up for an adventure. We did a little riding and a lot of hike-a-bike, and Chuck did a great job of being spiderweb sweeper and brush clearer.
|You can kind of tell that there was a road here at one point.|
|About to get back on the bike…for a minute or so…|
We found an old cemetery along the road. It’ll make a great addition to the next edition of our Graveyard Gravel Grinder. There’s so much history hidden in the conservation area from the time before the government took over the area for a munitions plant.
|The inscription is all in German.|
|Lori, myself, and Dave|
|How much fun is this?? There were times you couldn’t see anything of the trail. I was laughing like a little kid.|
The Francis Howell cemetery was also along our path, though this one is much better maintained. We found this gravestone for a man who’d served in the War of 1812! One stone was for a man who’d been born in 1762…before the US was even a country! So cool. I kept thinking of all these neat projects I could do revolving around these old tombstones if I taught older kids.