Just got back from the longest ride yet on my new bike Buttercup - 26.3 miles (42.3 km) round trip to the drawbridge at Tilghman Island and back. It was beautiful weather for it - 63*F and bright sunshine. I felt perfect in my long-sleeved bike jersey and shorts. The road is perfect for cycling, too - very flat and with wide (8 foot) shoulders, free of gravel and sand. The forsythia and cherry and pear trees were in magnificent bloom.
Three problems: the wind, my saddle, and some back discomfort. And one problem solved.
The wind wasn't a problem going out! It was only when I got close to the turnaround that I realized that it was at my back the whole time. Due to the 14 mph winds (gusts to 22) I averaged 16.1 mph on the way out (lots of room to improve there, certainly), and only 13.1 mph on the way back. I suppose it's good practice for the Eagleman Half Ironman that I'm doing in June, though, a lot of people mention winds as a factor on that course.
My saddle - ugh. I think I'm going to have to replace it, even though it's the brand new one that came with my bike. I'm just having way too much actual pain on it, and right now that's the #1 limiting factor in my endurance. Even with an extra cushioned pad on it and well-padded bike shorts. Unless anyone has any brilliant ideas for fixing it... ? I've considered a crotchectomy, but that might be a little drastic.
My back was giving me some discomfort toward the end, but not too bad. I do expect that, being down in the aerobars in an unfamiliar position for a long period of time. That problem will respond to muscle conditioning, I hope. They say it takes about 600 miles to get used to aerobars, and I have about 500 yet to go. I still have to tweak the bike position a little bit, too, but mostly I have to (you guessed it) train, train, train!!
Other than that, I really enjoyed getting out in the sunshine and getting in some miles on a gorgeous day!
I was able to solve the problem that I was having with a crick in my neck due to my big wad of ponytail being forced into my neck by my helmet - I put my hair in two braids, and threaded them out through the harness. That seemed to work great. I haven't worn braids for probably twenty years (okay, maybe even thirty), and I may look dumb, but ... it's kind of fun!