Today was a difficult, interesting and ultimately satisfying ride. Being Wednesday it is usually my day for a long ride. Yesterday was a long busy day at work and I was exhausted. I also didn't eat all that well. So I did not leave the house this morning until 9 AM and as soon as I was on the road I knew I didn't have the miles in my legs. It was frustrating since I'd ridden over 60 miles last Wednesday. But just getting up the trail to the museum felt almost as difficult as it used to feel a year ago when I was just starting out. I knew I wouldn't make it to Valley Forge. I didn't know if I'd make a single loop around the trail! Sure, it was a bit windy, but what I was feeling went far beyond the wind. I kept going until I reached almost to the Falls bridge, figuring I'd go around and be happy with a single loop. too bad, too, as it is a gorgeous day. Temperature in the 60's and no humidity. When I got to just before the bridge the road was blocked. They are removing some trees from the side of the path. One had to go into the street and up around the obstruction. I just didn't feel like dealing with it. I took this picture and felt justified in turning around.
I went back down the drive all the way to the Locust entrance. I was feeling a little stronger but the strength in my legs just wasn't kicking in the way it sometime does when I start out tired and work through it. But I couldn't get myself to go home either. The weather was so nice, I was enjoying listening to my various podcasts, I wanted to stop into Zoom in Manayunk because I was having a little problem keeping my speedometer staying on the bar; so I turned back from the beginning and went out along the west side of the drive, crossed the bridge the other way and continued to Manayunk. Took care of fixing the speedometer and turned toward home. Made a much needed fueling stop at the Manayunk Diner. But even after eating I didn't feel much stronger. Then, about half-way home the fuel seemed to kick in. My pace picked up a bit, the feeling of struggling abated; I felt the usual enjoyment of the ride and decided to take another spin around the loop. All in all I managed to put on a tough 32.9 miles, feeling way better at the end then at the beginning. On the last leg of the trip I did feel like I needed another break; my feet were hurting a bit which is pretty typical after 20-25 miles, so I decided to really enjoy the park I'm always just riding through. I found a nice bench along the river and rested for 10-15 minutes.This is what I was looking at:
The thing that helped keep me going, just as I thought I'd really bonked for the day, was a glimpse of team CSC riding by! I saw this group of riders all wearing CSC kit riding along the Ben Franklin Parkway out onto Kelly Drive and I'm thinking, "I wonder who those guys are riding as a group on a Wednesday morning? And why are they all in CSC kit? And then it dawned on me: this is the week of the big pro tour bike race in Philly and those guys were for real. I tried to get a picture put it all happened too fast. Later on I also saw what appeared to be the T-Mobile team out for a practice ride. I got a few shots but they don't show anything, so in lieu of my photos here are a few official photos of both squads. It should be an exciting weekend in the city for those of us who even know that the race is happening.
Finally, in case you haven't noticed I've added a new book to the Amazon connections on the right side column. It is Floyd Landis's new book: "Positively False." It is available for pre-order and will be out at the end of the month. Of course, I haven't read it and really can't recommend it, but I'm planning to read it and if you're interested feel free to order through my link.