Mar 18: Day 34
Planned workout(s): Bike, 30 minutes in Z1, 50 minutes Z2, 10 minutes Z1
This is going to be a bit of a mini-rant.
I’ll admit, I got spoiled in bike friendly states like Idaho and California. Both of these places focus on infrastructure that is bicycle friendly. Idaho especially was a joy to train in, as you could route easily anywhere and find either a street with a bike lane or wide shoulder to get there. All the highways were designed in this way also, so I could go on a 3 hour bike safely without being in the path of traffic. This is better both for cars AND for me.
Kansas is not one of those states.
Most of the streets here have about 4 inches of shoulder between the edge line and the ditch. I’m not even exaggerating. The below picture is perfectly representative of what most streets and highways here are like.
There isn’t even a safe way across town. I often will drive across town and park before going out on a ride if I am taking a route that starts far from the house. It’s just not safe, and most cars have no idea how to give proper clearance to a bike (or don’t care to).
This is going to be a problem finding a safe place to bike enough to train to ride in an IM. Basically I try to bike really, really early when there is a minimum amount of traffic, and stick as much as possible to lesser used roads. The problem is, most lesser used roads aren’t even paved, which is a no-go on a road bike. There is a lower trafficked pathway around the local lake I plan to use as that is a 50 mile loop, perfect for my longer rides. It was on that route I biked today.
This is one of the rare places where there is an actual shoulder by the road, about two feet of it. But imagine my dismay when there was a rumble strip right along the middle of it, which looks a lot like this one (only with a steep gravel ditch on the side):
Now, rumble strips are great for drivers who tend to doze (or stay at their phones) during a drive. I’m totally an advocate. But there is a right way and a wrong way to implement them. The RIGHT way is to put them right next to the line and leave an appropriate amount of shoulder on the other side for bicyclists so that the rumble strip is between the car and the bike. In some states that is 4 feet. I don’t need 4 feet. I would be happy with two. But I need more than 6 inches between the rumble strip and the ditch, because the cars and trucks speeding by can create gusts of air which can push me off the road.
And off the road into a steep ditch can mean bad injury or death.
As a result, I ended up riding on the road side of this rumble strip, putting me basically on the white line. This is not where ANYONE wants me to be, not the cars, and certainly not me. This is pretty dangerous, and I can only pray I am lucky enough to not get injured this season because of it. As it is, it is discouraging me from actually road cycling my long days.
And that sucks.
On the bright side, I did the ride and got back safely. And now that I am home, Scully is content to keep me here.
Have a great Saturday everyone! Cheers!