Hot July Cycling

In Blog by Eric Benjamin Comments

My last post was aptly named cool July cycling. Did I jinx us all by writing that? Because since then, it has been like a tropical rainforest. Temperatures have been in the 90’s with humidity in the 90’s too. Simply walking outside takes my breath away. There’s always a reason or excuse not to ride but I have done my best to get out in the heat to continue getting into shape. Luckily it has started to cool down, but hey, it’s July in the Midwest, this is the weather we should have right?

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Road closed signs before the river. Everything was dry when I rode past, but the rivers were high from all the rain.

As I got out-of-town I was feeling the heat and humidity. It taxes my body. My HR goes up and my speed suffers. I was planning on riding 45 miles, so I attempted to keep a good pace to finish and not cramp up and die. I am writing this so it all worked out.
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I heard someone coming up behind me. Soon I was riding with my old friend John Decker. Well until he left me that is. His disappearing shape is in the image above. I tell myself it’s OK as I am working to get back into DK200 shape. I have to go my speed and work with what I have and try not to make comparisons. But it never feels good getting left in the dust.

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The wind was blowing as I began climbing hills. The rain we’ve had made deep ruts. The exposed rocks and ruts are easy on my fatbike, but the wind slows me down.
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Sometimes you just need to lay on the ground in the middle of the road to get the shot you want.

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This road is a fun one. The rain has really rutted things up and exposed lots of rock here. It was a fun little climb.Gravel Grinding-006 Gravel Grinding-007

I spent about half of my ride in the unpopulated hills and the other half on busier rolling gravel roads. The sun beat down and heated up my world like an oven. I brought plenty of water and was feeling good considering the temperatures.

Gravel Grinding-008Road F between Olpe and Emporia has some nice rolling hills. With the wind at my back at the end of the ride, the slower climbs were excruciatingly hot but the flats and downhills were fast! Nothing to make you feel like an amazing cyclist like a good tailwind! I paced myself well and at the end of the ride felt like I got a good workout. And to me that is what’s important at this stage. I just need to get those miles in and make my legs work while I am at it. I remember hearing Rebecca Rusch speak about training and to stay away from “junk miles” when training. Back when I was getting ready for my first DK200 in 2009 and 2010 I put in a lot of junk miles. Those are miles where you are riding but not working. That is fine for a leisurely ride, but if I am training, I need to feel it when I get home. I need to attack the hills and make sure I am always pushing. I am working on keeping a nice, smooth pedal stroke too. It seems to all be coming together. I haven’t done any 100 milers lately but the 30-60 milers are going pretty well.

All things are going well. I have come to some clarity on what I want to get from cycling and what the focus of this site needs to be. You will see some minor changes as I tweak things here and there. I will continue to take pictures on my rides and spin tales of my adventures.

In doing some soul searching and letting my life “talk” to me I realize that my one professional love is photography. I’ve been shooting professionally since 1990. That’s longer than anything I’ve done. People and companies are taking notice of my work so this site will focus more on that – photography. I love teaching too so I’ll begin looking into doing workshops again. The first step it to see what interest is out there for photocycling workshops.

Yeah, I realize the combination of photography and cycling is a little weird, but it makes perfect sense to me. Cycling is the perfect speed to see and experience a place. It makes sense that it is also the perfect speed for a photographer to take in the beauty of an area. Sometimes I shoot while pedaling and sometimes I take a little more time to get off the bike to shoot. Sometimes I don’t ride at all – I shoot in a studio or drive to a location. Anyway, I think it’s a great combination because I enjoy it!

Feed Your Monkey!