We drove the distance yesterday, just to double-check the miles. Even though we were planning on riding it anyway, I had this need to know what I was getting into.
So this afternoon, we loaded up with bottles of water and sunglasses, donned our lovely new bike shorts, bought yesterday after a detour through SportsMart (we are nothing if not sexy people now), and headed off for the longest ride we've done so far. 11.5 miles, and we did it in just about an hour.
This ride included two hills, too - something we'd managed to avoid up til now, even though I realize that we need to practice them quite a bit if we are to be prepared for Ireland. This was probably more of a challenge for me than for Richard, simply because I am still trying to figure out this whole concept of switching gears on my bike. I was always more comfortable with finding a setting I could handle and then leaving it at that setting permanently. So when faced with two extremely steep freeway overpasses to traverse, with no room for building up speed beforehand (due to the bothersome placement of stop signs at the bottoms), I got a crash course in gear switching. The first hill I ended up getting off and walking, but the second one I crossed just fine. Am I proud of myself? Yes indeedy I am.
It was actually a lot of fun. We fought a bit of wind earlier into the ride, but after that it was lovely. The bugs were at a minimum (and they very politely only slammed into my sunglasses and did not fly into my nose or mouth). The sun was shining but it wasn't too hot, especially with the breeze. We even stopped on the way at the local produce stand to procure asparagus for dinner, and ended up coming home with ears of fresh corn as well. And we did all this and still managed to get home in time to catch the Buffy rerun on TV. We have our priorities, after all.
It wasn't until we got home that we realized that sunscreen should have been one of those priorities. Luckily I put stuff on my face, but we both forgot the arms and legs. Just a little red color - nothing serious enough to get in the way of the great and fierce battle that then had to be waged against the Dust Bunnies that Ate Cleveland.
It was a good ride today, those 11 miles, even with the sunburns. And best of all, we both agreed we could have gone further. But next weekend is soon enough for that - we've got an even longer ride planned. And this time we'll wear sunscreen.