Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I'm pretty on-again, off-again when it comes to fitness. I really didn't ride my bike much at all in July or the first part of August. It's especially easy to stay off the bike here in El Salvador, since the rides are always early in the morning. If there's no one expecting me, it's pretty easy to turn the 5am alarm off. But, where's the fun in that?

There are 4 main bike shops in San Salvador, and they are constantly competing to try to get your business. They compete by organizing rides or events. For your regular riding, two bike shops have weekly mountain bike rides on Saturday morning, another has rides every Tuesday and Thursday morning, and I'm sure there is another regular ride or two that I don't know about. Aside from the weekly rides, the shops also try to stake a claim for a certain slice of the cyclist pie. One caters to the more hardcore cyclists, another to laid back mountain bikers, and then the other two are somewhere in between. All this competition means that you have a lot of motivated people around to help motivate you to get out and see the country from a bike seat.

One of my friends is training for the insane Ruta de los Conquistadores, a race in Costa Rica that averages ~60 miles in mountain biking a day, climbing around 39,000' over the 4 days of the race. (The website says it's a "More than a race... A personal growth journey!!") Although I thought about doing this race, I decided that I'm not insane, and that I liked doing things other than training for a race... like sleeping. Anyway, he's motivated me to get back into biking here, so I've been doing more rides. I'm trying to do at least 1 mountain and 1 road ride a week now, and have done that for 2 weeks now.

This past weekend, I joined my friend for a road ride on Saturday morning, starting at 6:30am. I thought the ride was going to be like 20-30 miles, but instead it turned out to be a 63 mile ride that circled around Lago Ilopango, a gorgeous crater lake situated to the east of the city. The views between Cojutepeque and Santo Tomas were awesome - to the north, you have the crater lake, and to the south you have mountains. I'm glad I went, but I need to get into better shape!

On Sunday, Sophie and I went with a bike shop that's new to us, BikeCenter, for a ride through the mountains and pueblitos around Cojutepeque, ending near Lago Apastepeque. The ride was really pretty, but we spent a little too much time on pavement. The ride was actually really well organized - we piled into 2 big school buses and had our bikes in 2 big trucks. I don't think I've been in a school bus since like 6th grade, so that was a fun memory.

Sophie and a waterfall along the way

Yup, I ride with a view like this!

No comments:

Post a Comment