Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Marathon Bike Ride: U of U to West Valley City

Recently I have been looking for a way to get out of the frustration of trying to find time to exercise. Ever since I returned from my mission to Frankfurt, Germany, I have been slowly getting out of shape (because I don't consider "potato" a shape). Part of it is because I have stopped spending my time walking all over the U campus since graduation, and I haven't had a reason to walk much since. It's also because I have found several excuses that we all tend to make when it comes to finding a way to avoid exercise.

Well, as a way to find the time, I thought I would start riding my bicycle to work. Now, many people that work just a few miles away from their home may think that this isn't a big deal, or that they do it all the time. Well, I live about 20 miles from my office, and a good portion of it is a very steep hill.

That being said, the ride to work isn't that bad. The majority is down hill, and once I get a little more than half way, I can hop onto a Traxx station. From there it's about 30 to 40 minutes to get to the office. The ride to the office takes about 2 hours total, with the Traxx ride up the hill.

But that isn't the worst of it. On the way back from the U on the hill, it takes 2 hours 20 minutes. Why longer? Because the majority of the ride is up hill, and I am really out of shape. Here is the track I took on the way back.

I started up at Fort Douglas, and head down 8th south. I then continue down until I reach the Jordan River. From there, I follow the Jordan river park trail until I reach 17th south, and then continue West. From this point, I get onto the frontage road that passes down to 32nd, and then cross from the North side of SR 201 to the south side. Then, I travel along to 5600 West, and head South. From there I hit 2700 South, and continue West. I then hit travel up 7200 South to get to my home.

Keep in mind that anything from the Jordan River is up hill, so this whole time I'm fighting gravity and I had a nasty headwind from the West. I'm not making excuses, but it sure didn't make it any easier for me.

So, as a word of advice for anyone that is looking to start riding their bike to work, start slow. Make sure you are within at least 10 miles of your work, and that you have a lot of experience riding your bike. The exercise is great, but don't expect to get in shape all at once.

So, that is my experience riding my bike back from work. I'll probably try it again, but only when I get a lot more in shape riding it shorter distances. If you have experiences riding your bike to work, I would appreciate any additional tips or suggestions!


Levi said...

Congrats on giving such a challenging bike commute a try. I can't currently bike commute regularly due to my after-work classes, but I go on a ~14 mile ride or so through the Draper foothills a few times a week. Hills can be fun, but headwinds are pretty much always soul-sucking evil. You should give it another try when you know the wind will be in your favor; I'll bet it will feel completely different.

That, and just go on challenging rides a lot, and you'll find that you get better pretty quickly. I took too much time off from riding, and now although I'm getting better, I'm way behind my friends who have also been getting better but didn't take time off. :)

Jeremy Robb said...

Thanks Levi! I'll definitely have to give it another try soon. I've seen those hills in Draper, so I don't envy you that ride. ^_^