This was a tougher ride than I thought it was going to be. Some of it was that it was just tough, and some is that it's tougher than where I should be at this point, which is a nice way of saying, I'm out of shape.
Remember yesterday when I said, "Up = north," as though to make the distinction between up/north and up/elevation? Well, it was both. The last half of the "to" trip was uphill. It was very difficult. I think that it was good training for the Eureka climb - a steady incline with a couple of unforgiving steep parts. At mile 15 I stopped at a relatively flat part and just rested. I was staring at the next bit of the hill ahead of me and thought, "If I can't make it all the way up there, I'll just get off and walk my bike. At least I'd be making forward progress still." And then I started on that hill, and it was worse than what it had looked like, because it curved and kept going, and I thought, I can make it another 100 yards. And then I can make it the next 100 yards, and I found a lower gear and just kept going.
I was familiar with the route as I've traveled it in a car before, or at least, I've traveled it many times on the freeway in a car, whereas the road I was on ran parallel to and underneath the freeway. You just don't notice those hills in a car. You feel every single pedal stroke on a bike.
At one point I hit a really nice downhill, even getting up to 38 mph at one point without pedaling. That felt good. And then it went back uphill. And up some more.
About that time I started getting texts from my home base support group, wanting to know how I was doing. "Almost at the Walmart," I replied. "Pretty tired. Not sure if I can make return trip." Not because I wanted to give up, but because I and just hit that sweet downhill, and knew I would have to make it back up.
A few texts later they decided they'd come and meet me at the Walmart, right after I decided that I had just hit another hill I didn't want to climb back up on the return trip. I told them I was turning around, but then they said they needed to go to Walmart anyway, so I turned back around to finish the trip.
The good news about that was I got another wind. Not a second wind, because I was way past that. And a hill that I hadn't been able to climb before I was now able to go back up somewhat easily. It's amazing what knowing that the end is near can do for your motivation.
Bottom line - I completed 24 miles, with (what seemed like) the majority of it being uphill.
That's the same route I'll travel when I go to Ventura, but it won't be as tough that time, because for one thing I'll have already traveled it and will be more familiar with it, and for another, I won't have to go back up all those hills.
Yes, I'm disappointed I didn't get the mileage and time in the saddle I wanted, but the hills were good training too. Really good training.
Post-training note - while I waited for the girls at Walmart, I went to the McDonalds and got a chocolate shake which I enjoyed greatly.
After doing some shopping, we went to another part of town to get some lunch, and ran into some LDS missionaries - one of whom had just been transferred from our ward, and we love him. We sat with him and his companion while we ate and got caught up. That was fun.
So even though I was disappointed with my performance, the day overall was a success.