Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Sunburn update

A nerve-racking week-plus without riding made me determined to build two solid rides into my "weekend" (Sunday and Monday, my two days off from work).

I did 30 out-and-back miles Sunday morning, starting on the Clive Greenbelt trail and turning around at the SW Fifth Street pedestrian bridge. All conditions — temperature, wind, elevation, restedness — were optimal; until one final uphill struggle, I was averaging 15 mph.

A chunk of this ride followed the Hy-Vee Half Marathon route, but I am happy to report that I was actually in a state of mind to appreciate the trails rather than wonder angrily why I was even doing this.

Sunburn acquired: a set of parentheses on my shoulder blades, facing like this ) ( . It's the spot where a racerback tank top exposes skin, but where straining sunscreen-covered hands can only swipe awkwardly.

On Monday afternoon, I squeezed in 40 miles, taking the Greenbelt trail to the Raccoon River Valley one. I absolutely loved how quiet, new and rural the stretch from the Waukee parking lot to Minburn was; I was less enchanted with the wind that day.

Still, because it was an out-and-back, what the wind took from me at points, it also gave back. Legs that were tired from the previous day's effort and the current day's 20 mph winds managed to average a 14 mph pace.

Sunburn acquired: several irregular splotches on my legs. This one is deeper than the parentheses, probably because it was on skin that rarely receives direct sunlight ... let alone for three hours. I'll just share photos, for your amusement/commiseration.

I have shorts on, though you can't see them. What you CAN see, however, is the outline of a Band-Aid around a cut I received Sunday night. Evidently I protected not just the wound itself but also the inch or so of skin surrounding it. 
Evidence of the shorts ... and the sunshine hitting my parallel-to-the-ground thighs directly. 
How did this happen? I wore running shorts instead of the knee-length shorts that keep my skin from rubbing awkwardly against the seat and, apparently, from being roasted in the sun.

I never want to be sunburned, let me make this clear, but I'm taking a very optimistic outlook on these burns. Better to find all the weirdly sensitive spots now so I can slather them in sunblock during RAGBRAI.

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