Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Canal Ride - 30 miles

Far point - Chili Ave
I'm thinking about riding the Prattsburgh Gravel Classic in a few weekends.  It's a bike race on gravel and dirt roads in Prattsburgh, NY.  I thought it might be enjoyable to cruise at such an event on my geared 29er.  The course has a 20 mile and 30 mile option.  If I'm going to do it, I should be doing at least some training.

Today I rode the Erie Canal path starting at Perinton Park and heading west.  Probably about 1/4 of it is gravel and the rest is paved.  My goal was to do 30 miles, 15 miles out and 15 back.  I did it, but just barely.  Woot.. my longest distance ever.  On the way out my seat was bothering me a lot but then I seemed to get used to it and all was well.  On the way back it got progressively worse.  It wasn't a chaffing problem, just a pressure problem.  It could be an early season problem or a seat problem.  This is the unicycle I bought from Steveyo several years ago and is the oldest of my unicycles.  Maybe the seat padding isn't as good or is worn out more.  The last three miles were rather agonizing.  Thankfully being saddle sore is only a problem when sitting on a saddle, which I don't need to do in my daily routine.  My legs were getting quite fatigued toward the end too. 
It will probably be a few days before I'd like to ride a uni again.

I had one tumble toward the far point.  It was a paved section and nothing tripped me up, but I had just put my energy gel flask in its holster and I guess I lost concentration.  I fell forward and rolled, but was able to angle toward the grass on the right side.  Apparently my left hand planted on the asphalt because it had a touch of road rash, but otherwise I was uninjured.  My speed was likely about 10 mph.  I'm not a big fan of speed on the uni.  I especially get uncomfortable when I'm heading down even a slight incline if I'm moving at more than about 12 mph.   At one point during my ride I lost control going that fast on a decline but dismounted and ran it out.  I even managed to reach back, grab my muni and pull it around, but it was still a bit scary.  I think on a decline that is trying to increase my speed too quickly requires a higher skill of applying back pressure while still pedaling forward.  On the trail I usually just feather my brake, but today I has none.

Otherwise my ride wasn't very eventful.  There were a  good number of bikers and walkers to negotiate, but they we generally spaced out well.  I once mentioned this before, but I swear canal path users are less friendly than trail users.  So few people say hi or smile.  Maybe people encounter too many others to keep up their friendliness.  Seeing people on trails is a bit more rare.  I don't know.

The Prattsburgh race description say there will be some serious climbing.  The canal path doesn't have any serious hills.  For now I'm undecided about racing.  I'm too fatigued to really think about it.

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