I'm a Disney princess.

The forecasted thunderstorms took a detour so I was able to get out on my bike today despite thinking [and planning] otherwise. I was really happy about this-- I had been looking forward to today's ride! I wanted to hit up the bike path and see how far I could go. I signed up to do a 20 mile ride on the bike path in a couple weekends with a local cycling group [yeah, I'm actually going to attempt to meet people!] and I wanted to make sure that I could actually do it before the fact. I'd only done about 20 miles on the bike path once before, way back in April and it had left me feeling completely dead [in actuality, I think it was only 17 or 18 miles]. Not surprising, because it was unseasonably warm [I hadn't gotten used to the heat yet], I didn't have enough water with me, and, oh yeah, I hadn't really been biking all that much yet. This time I was much more prepared: the weather was around 80, which I'd been out biking in for the past week, I had two water bottles with me [one completely frozen], and I've been consistently putting in ten miles or more on my bike rides [except on days I only bike to the gym, as that's only 5.15 miles round trip]. And I'd made significant improvements in my aerobic health and stamina [including those dreadful hills!]. So I figured it would be better this time around.

I was aiming for at least 15 miles today, I didn't want to severely push myself like that first ride but I figured that if I could do 15, I could easily work up to 20 in the next week and a half. As soon as I got out there, it was beautiful [aside from all the families who were trying to enjoy the holiday but didn't know the first thing about common courtesy on the bike path] and I was feeling great. I still have moments of my ankle bothering me [I think the sprain is healed but my tendonitis is acting up] but as soon as I get on my bike, it just disappears. That's part of the reason I've been biking so much lately! The other reason being that I've reclaimed my love of biking [not that it ever fully went away], especially now that I'm biking purely for fun [and fitness], not as part of a job.

I ended up doing 20 miles, again, and felt much better about it this time. In fact, the only time I felt really tired was at the end, the last 2 miles home, and that's because I'd stopped at the grocery store and was now lugging an additional 20 pounds of food up hills! [It was like my own little "putting the weight back on" challenge, and boy was it difficult!] I did take three breaks during my ride, to take pictures and switch out water bottles and enjoy the scenery. Here, pictures!

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around mile six and going strong!
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the river, as seen through trees
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The dam!
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Since the bike path [along with everything else in Rhode Island] is along ~historical~ sites, there are little helpful write-ups everywhere.
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New handlebar tape! I loooove the orange! Now if only I could do something about all the ugly rust on the frame...
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This is as far as I got on that other ride, but I kept going this time because my GPS tracker said I hadn't hit 10 miles yet. So, apparently, my estimate for that other ride was wrong. Oh well.
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Ten miles happened to be right next to a huge clover field.
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I took a break in the clovers. Next time, I'm packing a lunch.
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Aerial handlebar pic!
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Just chillin' around 16 miles or so. Or more aptly, just sweatin'. Please excuse the pit stains.
One thing happened on the way back that I unfortunately didn't get on camera but was absolutely amazing. I was alone on a stretch of road and out of the woods, a deer appeared! She looked at me and decided to run alongside me, staying with me for about 20-30 feet before going back into the trees. It was so incredible and beautiful. My camera wasn't out and ready, and she was gone before I got it, but I wish I had gotten a picture! Maybe it'll happen again [haha]. Anyway, it made the whole bike ride that much more wonderful, and I'm so glad that I got to experience it. I'm totally a Disney princess, y'all.

Totals for the bike ride: 20.4 miles, 1 hour 39 minutes, 1233 calories, 12.3mph average speed

Also, sparkpeople decided to increase my calorie goals since I've been doing so much exercise [I burn about 1,000 extra calories any day I go to the gym or on a long bike ride]. Now my calorie goals are between 1550 and 1950. That is TOO MUCH FOOD. I feel a little ridiculous saying that, most people would be excited about getting to eat more, but... okay, my calorie goals before were 1200-1550 and, because I eat a lot of vegetables, some days I have trouble making just the bare minimum of 1200 calories a day. Not always, but my calories are generally always under 1350 unless I splurge and order pizza or something. Which isn't a common occurrence, nor do I want to make it one. So I have absolutely no idea how to eat more, but healthily. I did it today, just barely, but I felt so stuffed and gross.

I must be the only "dieter" who complains about having to eat more food, I swear.