So, what does six minutes buy you? A little earlier arrival at work, maybe a microwave meal. For me, six minutes buys me almost five extra miles traveled in an hour.
Tonight, I took the Raleigh on its maiden voyage on the trail. I couldn’t wait for the workday to end so I could get out on the trail. It was a tangible, tactile desire to me today. I guess that’s the trial before getting to play with the new toy. When the clock read 4pm, I was off to fill up my CamelBak with ice and water, and out to the Weldon Spring trailhead [MM 56] and a date with a bunch of crushed limestone.
It was blistering hot at ride-time — 95 degrees — so I figured I’d keep it in the shade, and head toward the Matson trailhead [MM 60.6]. I pulled my new beauty from the rack, got my gear together, and started up the ramp to the trail.
My gosh, how effortless the ride was! It was truly a night and day difference between the Raleigh and the Huffy. I pedalled, popped the bike into 3-7, and kept on pedalling. And quickly behind me was the Hamburg Trail crossing, and both the Osage bridges. And there was Defiance just ahead. A quick look at the time, and I discovered that it’d only taken 12 minutes to travel the three miles to Defiance. I stopped to make sure the bike still looked ok — no flats, nothing where it shouldn’t be — and then plowed forward to Matson. Twenty-one minutes after I hit the trail, I was under cover at the Matson station.
Fully six minutes faster than I’ve ever ridden that leg of the trail.
I did some quick math, and realized I was averaging just under 15mph. My typical time to Matson has been about 27 minutes, which put me just over 10 mph. Five miles an hour faster? Just from a new bike? Well, apparently so.
After resting for a few minutes at Matson, I turned the Raleigh around, and headed back toward Weldon. As I approached the Hwy 94 crossing, I was at 17 mph. 17 MPH?! That’s the fastest I’ve been able to achieve on the flat grades of the Katy Trail since I started riding it about seven weeks ago. Wow.
I got back to the truck 45 minutes after I left, with 42 minutes and 9.8 minutes of riding under my belt — ordinarily, that’s a 55 minute ride for me. The day was definitely a success, and the bike was wonderful. It was just effortless to ride, and incredibly comfortable.
So what did six minutes buy me? A hint into what me and this new machine of mine might be able to do in the future. And a good future it appears to be!