July 5 to Aug 14

Looks like July was the just about the most training that I have done in a month. 31 and 1/2 hours of training in 22 sessions. I did a fair amount of cycling in July, culminating in a hard 3 hour effort on July 31st. I also really nailed a head race piece.

Since the end of July, I have backed off, and shifted back into more of a base building question. At the end of July, it looks like I have reached a fitness peak in Strava at 95.

Since that time, I’ve shifted gears to ease up and focus on base building. I read a little bit of Maffetone, and although I am not convinced of his whole low carb, lifestyle thing, and the 180-age formula seems like chicanery, I definitely see merit in the idea of specifically training to increase one’s aerobic threshold. It is basically the same idea of lactate based training. If you stay below 2.0 mmol, then you can be pretty sure that you are not crossing over to burning more CHO at the expense of fat metabolism.

My challenge in doing this type of base training has always been that I push it too hard. So, the maffetone book convinced me to back way off on intensity and way up on duration. I don’t know what will happen with it, but I’ve got nothing but time and it sure is an easy way to train. And when it comes to OTW, focusing on technique has to be a good thing too.

So, I have been trying to keep all sessions above an hour and stay below UT2 heart rates (137). Additionally, I’ve been trying to extend my warmups as well.

Here’s a quick recap of the past 5 weeks.

July 5 – 50′ Stationary bike, Avg HR 131

July 6 – 70′ Coastal row up to Wellfleet harbor.

July 7 – Bike ride to rock harbor, 1:18:00, 34km, Avg HR 133

July 8 – Bike Ride – Wellfleet coast loop, 34km, 1:22, Avg HR 139

July 9 – Rest day

July 10 – 90′ steady state on Lake Quinsigamond

The last bit was tough!

July 11 – 60′ BikeErg – Hardish

July 12 – 90′ BikeErg – a little slower

July 13 – Rate Ladders on Quinsig

July 14 – rest day

July 15 – 60′ steady state on slides

July 16 – 60′ steady state on slides

July 17 – Wormtown Chase GPS Challenge

What a great day! I laid down a beautiful row. I steered well. Paced myself well and dug deep at the end. And I was fast!

The conditions were great. flat water and a very slight breeze from the south, which was a tail wind for the last two thirds of the challenge.

Here’s my course. Nice and tight around the islands. I went a bit to far west coming up to the narrows, but not bad.

Then from the Narrows to the finish was two nice straight lines.

I was unexpectedly fast, I think the fastest I have ever done a head race in a boat.

Workout Summary - media/d6476edfd2-20200717-120557o.csv
Workout Details

July 18 – Drills

Back on Quinsig, but just taking it easy and doing drills on the 5s

July 19 – Randall Foil Test

You can read all about it here: https://analytics.rowsandall.com/2020/07/19/randall-foils-vs-smoothies/

It was a hard day rowing.

July 20 – 60′ BikeErg

July 21 – Just a walk

July 22 – 65km bike ride

Avg HR 136. 28.8 km/h. Tiring ride.

July 23 – rest day

July 24 – Coastal row – almost to Rock Harbor

The row back was into the wind and waves and a pretty tough slog.

July 25 – Exploring the marshes – 60′ coastal row

July 26 – bike ride on the rail trail, 32km, 80′

July 27 – rest day

July 28 – rest day

July 29 – bike ride – Wellfleet coastal loop

40km, 96 minutes, avg speed 28.1 kph, avg hr 147! (hard work)

July 30 – More exploration of the marsh

Headed out for a row up to Wellfleet Harbor, but the wind and waves were unpleasant, so I turned back and explored the swamp again.

July 31 – Mammoth bike ride

All the way to the end of the rail trail, and I pushed hard too.

77km, 3 hours

I was destroyed for the rest of the day.

Aug 1 – Rest day

Aug 2 – Fun in the swamp – 80′

Still windy, so it’s a lot more fun to scoot around sheltered water.

Aug 3 – 60′ MAF test on slides

So the MAF test is basically a cardiac drift test. You row up to a HR limit (130), and then bleed off power to stay at the limit.

Over time, you can repeat the test and see both the avg power and the % drop off. A key part is a lengthy warmup.

Today’s results: 150W. 26W drop off.

       Workout Summary - media/31860ffd50-20200803-142318o.csv
Workout Details

Aug 4 – rest day – Crazy Work schedule

Aug 5 – rest day – more crazy work schedule

Aug 6 – 45′ BikeErg MAF Test

Same plan, but now on a bike. I had less time, so a 15 minute warmup and a 45 minute test.

Workout Summary - media/df_20200806-113556.csv
Workout Details

Average 172W, drop off 0W.

Aug 7 – 90′ Bike Erg – Sub UT2

Aug 8 – 4×20′ Sub-UT2 on slides

BoatCoach failed me today.

Aug 9 – Long Steady State (too hard)

As I launched, a friend from the club launched too. We rowed together and peer pressure pushed me faster than it should have. I was very worn out by the last 15 minutes.

Workout Summary - media/96a610e7d1-20200809-131602o.csv
Workout Details

Aug 10 – Drills on the fives

Definitely trying to taker the intensity down a notch.

Aug 11 – 70′ sub-ut2 BikeErg

Hot and Humid. Very slow.

Aug 12 – 90′ sub-ut2 BikeErg

Even hotter, humider and slower.

Aug 13 – Rest day

Aug 14 – 2 hours steady state on Quinsig

Just a wonderful morning to be rowing. Tried to keep it below ut2. Did OK until the last bit which was into a building head wind.

Thursday: Quick sandy bike ride

It was cloudy in the morning, but warm and calm.  We went swimming at high tide, by which I mean we basically floated around in inflatable donuts.

Later in the day, I was feeling antsy, so I decided to go for a short bike ride.  I just grabbed my old rusty mountain bike and took off to explore the dirt roads on the island and in the area.

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It wasn’t very hard, and I didn’t go for very long, only about 50 minutes or so.  But I felt a lot more relaxed afterwards, and felt less guilty about having a beer or two before dinner.

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Another week on the Head Race training plan

Last post was Sept 25th.  Since then I’ve been consistently training, but struggled with insomnia for much of the week.

I was very sleep deprived when I got home on Saturday morning (9/22).  I slept a few hours that morning.  Then a solid block of 10 hours on Saturday night.  But on Monday night, I fell asleep around 10:30, and woke up at 1:00am.  I was unable to fall back asleep.  Tuesday, a little better.  I slept from 10:30 to 2:00am.  Wednesday, I got maybe 5 hours.  Thursday, I headed down to the cape in the evening, arriving there around 11.  I had some things to do around the house, so I didn’t get to sleep until 12:30.  My daughter and one of my son’s arrived at 3:00am.  I took some work to get back to sleep and I got maybe 3 hours of sleep before I needed to get up for my first meeting.  Finally, Friday night and Saturday night I seemed to get back to more normal sleep patterns.  It sure effects mood and stamina when you don’t get enough sleep.

Despite the sleep issues, I was on the water Tues/Wed/Thur.  I took a rest day on Friday.  And then trained Sat/Sun/Mon.

Wednesday, Sept 26: 60′ Steady State

The plan was to row at about r20 and keep my HR below 150.

         Workout Summary - media/20180926-1900310o.csv
Workout Details
01|00008|00:01.5|01:32.6|131.6|18.5|091.0|91.0|17.5 --?
02|00009|00:01.5|01:19.8|149.0|19.0|091.0|91.0|19.8 --? 
03|01100|05:21.3|02:26.0|128.6|19.4|135.4|147.0|10.6 - blocked by boats
06|01942|09:26.1|02:25.8|120.8|18.4|146.9|155.0|11.2 - cut short for time

Thursday, Sept 27: 4 x (5 x 2′ / 1′)/2′ Short Intervals

Plan for Thursday was to use these short intervals to practice working at rates higher than head race rate.  Try to keep my stroke light and work on the release.

Ran out of river in the last interval of the first set.  I really torched the whole first set.  A fair current behind me and a bit of a tail wind.  It looks like I dialed back the power a bit on the upriver trip.  Otherwise, pretty uneventful.

         Workout Summary - media/20180927-1230310o.csv
Workout Details

I was pretty happy with the result.

Friday, 28 Sept:  No Training

Saturday, 29 Sept: 10km threshold on slides

On Saturday, I wanted to hand with the family.  We got ourselves organized and went on a day trip down to Chatham.  While we were there, we had a big lunch.  I was still feeling kind of full when we got back to the house, but I figured that I better go do my thing on the erg in the basement.

The plan was for 40′ of threshold, so another 10K.  It would be useful to compare to the one on slides to the one on the dynamic last weekend.

I started with a 2K warmup.  It felt hard and I felt bloated.

Then I got going.  Target pace was 1:59.

That was brutal.  But frankly more pleasant than the dynamic.

Splits are pretty darned consistent.  I got a bit scared of blowing up around 7k.

         Workout Summary - media/20180929-2250290o.csv
Workout Details

So, a very similar row to the dynamic.  Weird how I prefer the feeling of slides so much more, but the performance is not that different.  Here are a few different parameters compared between the two rows.

  • HR: A bit higher on slides.  Basically I was willing to take a bit more pain.
  • Power:  5W more on slides
  • Stroke rate: nearly identical
  • Drive length:  3 cm longer on slides.  Feels about right.
  • Peak force:  Higher on slides.  I was a bit surprised by this.  Since the dynamic feels so much heavier, I expected higher peak force.
  • Avg force:  As expected, about proportional to the watts difference

Sunday, September 30: 90′ bike ride.

My daughter and I went for a bike ride.  The intent was to explore some of the sand roads, but as it turned out, the sand was too loose to make any progress on, so we headed to the roads and went north.  It was just a nice easy ride.

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Monday, 1 October: 5 x 1500 / 5′

Plan was to work on stroke rate around 26, and beat my last 5×1500 pace and power (2:16, 154W).

The downstream intervals were a blast.  The river was flowing reasonably fast, and there was the lightest of tail winds.  Anyway, after I went through the s-turn, and I had about 300 or 400 meters to go, I was rating up and pushing the pace.  On the third and fifth interval, I was seeing the splits drop below 2:00 for the last 5 or so strokes.  It turns out that I was working a little harder on the upstream segments, as measured by power.  I struggle to use power in the boat because of the big turn in the middle.

          Workout Summary - media/20181001-1310300o.csv
Workout Details
01|00158|00:44.0|02:18.9|117.9|19.2|124.5|129.0|11.3- wu

Tomorrow:  80′ of steady state.  Drills on the 5s.

Catching up

It’s been a while, so my memory is a bit hazy.

July 5:  36km Bike Ride

I don’t recollect why I decided to ride my bike instead of rowing.  I think I was a bit worn out from my long row on the day before.  I wanted to scout out a different route for when my daughter visited.

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Screen Shot 2018-07-22 at 7.36.55 PMScreen Shot 2018-07-22 at 7.37.11 PM

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July 6 AM:  Another lovely walk

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July 6 PM: 3 x 20′ with bumps

I guess the weather must not have been too good, so I did an erg session.

          Workout Summary - media/20180706-2035240o.csv
Workout Details

July 7 AM: 3km walk at low tide

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July 7 PM: Bouncy row up to Wellfleet

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Something went a bit squirrely with the data, so no cool charts, but it was about 75 minutes of tough rowing in choppy conditions.  I kept the HR below 150.

July 8: Failed 10K push

We headed home on Saturday night and on Sunday, I did a quick row on  the dreaded dynamic.  My go to for this situation  in the 10K push.

It went terribly.  I started slow, but it did no good.  I flamed out at 2:00 pace.

          Workout Summary - media/20180708-2330230o.csv
Workout Details

July 9: Drills on the 5s

Back to normal, at least for a few days.  I was back on the river in my fluid.  I wanted to get comfortable in the boat again, so I went to my new favorite workout.  Drills on the 5s.

A minute of drills and 4 minutes of steady state.  The drills were delayed feather, half slide, pause at body over and open hands on recovery.  The greatest thing about this workout is that I feel like I row so much better at the end than I do at the beginning.

July 10:  4 x 1k

I’m not sure why I did this workout.  After my vacation and all the walking and endurance session, I think I wanted to get a bit of intensity into my training.

That being said.  Despite the splits being no where near where I wanted them to be, I was happy to push a bit harder than normal and I enjoyed session a lot.

I did this as a rate ladder.  r20, r22, r24, r26.  There was a head wind for the 2nd and fourth interval.

          Workout Summary - media/20180710-1931010o.csv
Workout Details

July 11: Drills on the 5s 

An easier session after the 4x1k of the day before.  I pushed the steady state a bit harder because I was doing some side video (i’ll post that next).  The batteries in the oarlock died in the last chunk of the row.  No great loss.

That evening, I headed down to the cape.  My daughter was coming into town for vacation.

July 12:  35km bike ride

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Nice and easy with my daughter.  I pushed the pace a little at the end because I had a work call that I needed to get back for.

July 13: Rest Day

We were stymied by the tide, so we ended up going kayaking around the island.

July 14: 40km bike ride

We drove up to Truro and then biked up and around the provincelands at the tip of cape cod.  It’s beautiful scenery, but the ride through north Truro is a bit of a slog.  It’s flat but it feels like the wind is in your face no matter what direction it is coming from.

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July 15-July 19:  No Training at all

On Sunday, we got everyone back on the ferry and then we had the house to ourselves again.  We just hung out and relaxed for the rest of the day.  We decided to sleep over on Sunday night.

On Monday morning, I had the long drive from the house on the cape to work.  I set out at about 5:15 and I didn’t get to work until about 8:15.  I was all stressed out because this week is our quarterly business reviews.  The business is going well, but there are a lot of specific things that could certainly be going better, and I had a lot of high tension meetings throughout the week that I needed to handle well.  I had no time to train on Monday.  I got home quite late, and didn’t get to sleep until after midnight.

I had meetings starting at 8am on Tuesday, which were scheduled to go straight through until 8pm that night.  Again, no time for training.

Same thing on Wednesday.  Meetings started at 8am and finished at 7pm.

Thursday was basically another intense day of meetings. Still no time to train.

July 20:  Slow 10K

On Friday, I headed into work early so I could do some final prep for meetings with my boss at 9 and 10.  The 10 O’Clock meeting went until 1pm.  After that, I had a couple more meetings, which finally wrapped up around 4:00.  I had a bit of email  to finish up and then I headed down to the gym to finally do a bit of exercise after a 5 day layoff.  I’ve taken less time for injuries and illness than this!

I just dialed up a 10K on a static erg and did a slow and easy row.

Even though it was slow (2:06.6, 172W avg), it was still too intense.  I decided that I need to back of the intensity and rebuild some endurance, so that what I’ll be doing for a little while.

It was good to be back rowing again though.

July 21: 3 x 20’/2′ on the dynamic

After my tough week, I wanted to sleep in.  Late in the afternoon, I jumped on the dreaded dynamic to do a 3×20′ session.  The only guideline was HR limit of 155.

          Workout Summary - media/20180721-2045250o.csv
Workout Details

I stuck to the cap, except for the last 2 minutes.  I really wanted to get the total distance over 15km, so I sped up to do that.

Looks like 165 is a much better power level for me to work right now. (sad really).

July 22: 4 x 20’/2′ on Slides

Basically more of the same.  I dropped my wife off at the airport, she’s visiting some family down in texas.  After that, I continued on to the cape so I could do a bit of cleaning, and hopefully rowing.

When I got there, rowing was definitely not an option.  The wind was blowing about 25mph from the southwest and there was intermittent rain.  Time for an erg session.

I thought I’d be able to hold the 165W from Saturday’s session, but my HR had other ideas.  To stay below the 155 cap, I had to keep slowing down throughout the whole session.

Today, by the end, I was only pulling about 155w.  Well, it is what it is.  I know the drill.  Stick with the HR limit.  Put in the minutes and the power level will slowly rise.  That’s what I need to do for the next few weeks.  Add in one or two threshold sessions per week and there you have it, a basic training plan.



Catching up. 5/24 to 6/3

Over the 11 days, I rowed 1 day, biked one day, had a good walk one day and didn’t train for 8 days.  It was a pretty bad spell including allergies and injuries.

Thursday – May 24: 61′ Steady State

I arrived home from California late in the day on May 23rd.  The next morning, I was back on the water down in Newton.  It was windy and choppy, and I was a mess.  Slow and sloppy.

Friday – May 25: Rest – Sick

Thursday night, I felt awful.  Stuffy nose, sore throat, a bit of a fever.

I worked from home on Friday morning.  I was worried enough about my throat that I went and got a strep test.  The diagnosis was allergies causing congestion, post nasal drip and throat irritation.  They told me to go buy some flownase and sent me on my way.

Then in the early afternoon, I headed down to the cape.  My wife was following me down later with one of my sons, his girlfriends and my daughter who was flying in from St Louis late in the evening.

I had a long list of things to do.  Work on the stairs to the beach.  Get a bunch of delicious food.  Rent a bike for my daughter and do a bit of cleaning.  I made very good progress on the stairs, and I made a large number of trips up and down the 80 steps, often carrying loads of wood.  By the time the tide came in, I was really worn out.  But I had managed to get all the stair treads in, leaving just the railings to do on Saturday.

So, I got some exercise, but no proper training

Saturday – May 26: 50km bike ride

My daughter wanted to go for a ride, so we planned an excursion to the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  I was a bit worried about my health.  If I had a cold, the ride would knock me flat.  If I was just suffering with allergies, it should actually make things better.


It was two and a half hours of riding, but at a nice easy pace.  I guess it was allergies!

After we got home, my son, his girlfriend and I finished the stairs.  I think they turned out great!

I slept well.

Sunday – May 27: rest

The weather was pretty lousy, so we went up to Provincetown for lunch, hung out, did puzzles, played games and relaxed.

Monday – May 28: A brisk walk around the island

The weather was still crappy.  Cold and grey.  My daughter and I originally planned to go for another bike ride, but we didn’t have good cold weather clothes, so we opted to just go for a walk around the island.


Later in the day, we put my son, his girlfriend and my daughter on  the ferry to Boston, we cleaned up the house, had some dinner and left around 11.

Tuesday – May 29: Rest – Travel Day

Flew out to San Diego for a business dinner.  It was a long day, I got back to the hotel around 10pm, and I had an early flight.

Wednesday – May 30: Rest – Travel day

I was up at 4:30 to get to the airport to catch my 6:30 flight to San Jose.  I had meetings from 10am to 7pm.  After that, I headed to the the airport to catch the red eye home.

Thursday – May 31: Rest

My original plan was to go straight from the airport to the river and go for a row on the way to work.  But the flight home was miserable, and I discovered that a meeting had been scheduled for 8:30, leaving me no time to train.

I ended up getting home around 8:00pm.  During the day, my back started to really stiffen up,  By the time I got home, it was painful to try to stand up after sitting and I ended up walking with a bit of a stoop.  Based on how quickly it cleared up, I assume it was a pinched sciatic nerve which calmed itself down with ibuprofen after a few days.

Friday – June 1st: Rest – Back Injury

I was in too much pain to train.  So I didn’t.

Saturday – June 2: Rest – Back Injury

Back pain starting to ease, but I wasn’t going to chance aggravating it.

Sunday – June 3: Rest – Back Injury

Almost pain free.  Decided to train on Monday.

90 minute bike ride

I was planning on a L3 open water session, but when I woke up this morning, I saw my daughter’s fiancee dressed up in his bike riding gear.  I asked how far he was going to ride.  20 miles.  I asked if he wouldn’t mind some company.  He didn’t.  So off we went.

We live about 2 and a half miles off of the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  The first mile is loose sand, sharp gravel and washboard dirt road.  After that, you cross the salt marsh, cross a rickety wooden bridge and then you’re on a real road.

This video gives you an idea of what it’s like

It was grey out again this morning, but the forecast called for it to clear up.  That did eventually happen, but before that we had mist, drizzle, and light rain.

The Rail Trail is beautiful.  Wide, smooth and flat.  Originally, we were just planning to ride until we hit 10 miles, and then turn and come home, but about 6 miles in, I remembered that the ride to Rock Harbor in Orleans was about 20 miles round trip, so now we had a real destination.


I took the lead on the way down.  I don’t ride much, and I hardly even ride with another person, so I’m not really sure what the etiquette is in terms of pace.  I would keep an eye out, an if I saw that I was dropping him, I’d slow down, and if I saw him up close, I’d pop it up a gear and speed up a bit.  Then we swapped and he led on the way home.

Despite the rain, it was a really nice ride.



Tomorrow:  I was supposed to do an L3 today.  I’ll do it tomorrow.


Saturday: 75km Bike Ride

Friday:  I slept in and worked from home.  My wife and I were heading down to the cape for the weekend.  I was hoping to squeeze in a workout, but a quick look at my meeting schedule dashed those hopes.  So, I took it as a rest day.

Saturday:  I decided I wanted to do a long bike ride.  From my house all the way to the beginning of the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  The weather was a little iffy.  The wind was howling last night, over 50mph at times, with some rain as well.  By this morning, the wind had calmed down a bit and the rain was gone.  It was still very gray, and the it was quite cool, around 48F.

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You can see from the elevation that the ride is quite flat.  The only thing that breaks it up is frequent road crossings.  It starts with about a mile of walking and riding on sandy roads on the island, then the road firms up and you can start riding.  As I crossed the bridge from the island, my jury rigged mount for my iphone busted and my phone clattered to the pavement.  I stuffed it in my pants and rode the rest of way without any speed of heart rate feedback.  I join the rail trail at mile 21, and head south.  There was a ton of sticks, leaves, pine cones and other debris on the trail from the wind storm yesterday.  It made steering a bit interesting.

I tried to keep my cadence up.  Whenever I hit a hill, I downshifted to try to keep things light.  I don’t ride very often and I have very rarely gone this far.  I still wanted to get a good aerobic workout, but I didn’t want to cramp up 20 miles from home.

There was very little traffic on the trail, and I’m proud to say that I was not passed by a single cyclist.

Looks like I succeeded in terms of intensity.  An hour and a half of UT1, plus 45 minutes of UT2.  Total time on the road was over 3 hours, with about 2:50 of moving time.

The biggest challenge of the ride was arriving back at the island at high tide.  I had to carry my bike and wade through about half a mile of flooded road.  Man, the water was cold.  Here’s the view back across it after I was finished.  You can see the bridge off in the distance.  The water was 6 to 12″ deep all the way along the road.  I’ve never seen the tide that high.


After I finished wading, I had lost all feeling in my feet.  I got my socks and shoes back on and peddled slowly back to the house.

Wahoo fitness said it was a 2500 calorie bike ride.  I think that is probably about right.  It was pretty epic for me.

Tomorrow:  I will do an easy erg session in the evening when I get home from the cape.

Friday: 100′ bike ride

A nice ride along the ocean side of Cape Cod, plus and excursion around the kettle ponds in Wellfleet.  My phone died about halfway through.  It was probably about 80′ of low intensity and 20′ of high intensity dealing with the hills.

The featured image is a picture of the oysters and champagne we had after we got back from the adventure.


Monday: 40km Bike Ride

Monday morning the tide was too low to launch.  I would have had to carry my boat across 500 meters of sand to get it in the water.  It was also windy (15-20mph with gusts t0 30 from the SW).  So I needed another plan.  I decided to give biking a try.

I have my old mountain bike down on the Cape.  I decided that navigating the sand and gravel roads on the island on a road bike with skinny tires and clip-in pedals was a bit much.  I might give it a try sometime, but for now, the old mountain bike is the pick.

This bike handled the sand and gravel without any trouble.  It’s 3.6km from my house to the major road.  1.3km is sand road.  The other 2.6 is paved.  The transition from sand to paved is right at the boundary between the island and a long causeway across the salt marsh.  There is a little bridge across a tidal channel, right where between the “e” and the “u” are in the word Lieutenant on the map below.  The approaches to this bridge actually are covered by the highest of high tides and cut off the island for a couple of hours.  When I went out biking it was much closed to low tide.

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Right across Route six is the Cape Cod Rail Trail.  A lovely, straight, flat bike trail along the path of railroad right of way.  It stretches for about 23 miles.  I got on at about mile 22, and I rode south 15 km.  I decided to just ride out 50 minutes and then turn around to go home for a total workout length of 100 minutes.

When I turned around, I realized that I had a work phone call to do at 11am, so I pushed the pace and cut off a few minutes.  It also actually got my heart rate up into some reasonable zone for training.

Very nice.  I think biking is a great alternative if the tides of wind are not favorable.