Friday, April 9, 2010

Happiness is A Bike Ride

This morning, I woke up and let the dog out and almost cried.  Grey clouds everywhere.  Lots of wind.  But I was dressed and I wanted to ride my tri bike! I was almost like a petulant child about it, really. I think I may have even stomped my foot the way Ladybug does when she's put out. (I swear I learned it from her and not the other way around.)

I asked Mr. Darcy his opinion.  It didn't make a lot of sense what he said, which was if it rains you can just come home.  If it rains, that means I'll be riding in the rain which is something I both loathe and am a little fearful of.  At this point, I had the bike on the driveway and had my gloves and helmet and sunglasses on.  I really wanted to ride the tri bike.  The schedule had 1 1/2 hours.  There was no way I wanted to do that on the trainer (ugh) or the stationary bike at the Y.

As Nike would say, Just do it.  And so I did.

Traffic getting to the closed loop was a little more than I had envisioned.  Not sure what the deal was this morning, other than it being a little bit before 7 am.  What? People want to go to work or something?  Luckily, I am smart enough to pick the lane of traffic that most people are not using to get out of the neighborhood and I trucked it at 16 mph up to the closed loop.  I actually had to get off my bike and walk it across the road (or jog it, is more like it) to the closed loop because traffic was really that bad this morning. 

Once safely across, I jumped back on the bike clipped in, avoided the trucks entering and exiting the construction parking area they've got going on, and then attempted to take off.

I say attempted because well, there were really tough head winds (and cross winds) today on the closed loop.  Per the weather man, the gusts are 10 to 15 mph from the WNW.  Well, all I know is it made it hard.  At one point, I was pedaling as hard as I could and I could only get up to 13.9 mph.  When I got one point where the trees really block the wind well, I was up to 18 mph with no problem and stayed there until I rounded the next bend and poof wind in the face again.  There were points on the back side of the loop where I am guessing I had a little back wind because I was going 21.9 on only a slight downhill flat.  Granted without the back wind in the "still" moments I was still cranking around 18.8 to 19, so I was happy.

I realize as I'm typing that there are cyclists who would scoff at my paltry mphs, but for me this is quite an improvement over last year.  So I'm thrilled.  Plus, I felt good!  My legs weren't hurting, my muscles weren't groaning, I was in aero and felt good.  So good I stayed in aero almost the entire ride - on the closed loop the only time I came out of aero was to turn around at the end of the road.  I even rode in aero on the way home once I got into the neighborhood and onto less crowded streets. (I was smart and took the longer way home to avoid the elementary school all together.)  My back got a little tight at times in the head winds, so I would just drop the gear one for a little to spin it out and then go back to the heavier gear a little later.  With the wind and not being sure of how my back would do, I stayed in the small ring but at one point realized that in a race or on any other given day when my back wasn't in question, I would have switched to the big ring because I was in the hardest gear and my legs felt like they were spinning easy and my RPM was over 90. But I had to tell myself to "settle down Sparky." (Although I started out in the big ring because my friend Jose at the LBS ALWAYS puts my bike in the big ring when he gives it back to me, and I forgot about it this morning.  As Coach would say... do we warm up in the big ring? NO!)

But I felt great.  Legs were going.  I felt strong.  No nerve pain, which is key.  I did 26.3 miles in 1:30:02, so an average of 17.5 mph.  Not to shabby for a blustry day.  And even better?  The rain stayed away!  It was just me and the birds and the construction workers at each end of the loop.  No one else was out there.  Usually there's at least one other cyclist or runner.  So I had it all to myself.  I did give a wide berth to the sandhill crane couple that was squawking at me as I rode up to them, but other than that the road was mine!  And I felt like I owned it.

My Ryder sunglasses were awesome too.  I won these awesome sunglasses from KC's blog.  I really like them.  Even in aero I didn't notice the frame, I could see easier when looking behind me or to the sides, and they were not too dark on an overcast day but work great in the sunlight too. (I wore them on my trainer in the driveway ride too.)  Today I didn't have any problems with them fogging up, although I did when I was on the trainer (but there was no wind at all that day and being on the trainer all I was generating was sweat, so I figure it was a circumstantial problem).  I love them!

So all in all it was a very, very good morning.  I'm glad I gave up worrying about the wind and the possible rain and went for it.  Awesome!

Tomorrow is a 2000m open swim.  Coach is busy talking me down from a ledge.  But it's a good ledge.  It's the "I wanna race" ledge.  I emailed her this morning to ask if it would be okay to sign up for a sprint tri in May.  This is a tri that I keep going to sign up for and then don't because I remember it's the same weekend as my girls' weekend with my 2 best friends from college.  She said Aqua Bike was fine.  I said, "what if I promise to walk the 2.6 miles at the end?"  She laughed at me and said no.  I told her that I knew she was right and that I know I need to get my back stronger so it doesn't give me issues so I can race and that she is my voice of reason.  It's nice to have one of those around.

But I'm looking forward to the swim tomorrow.  I'm bringing my wetsuit in case it's cold, but I have a feeling I won't need it. What better way to start the weekend than with a swim?

My neighbor is doing his first ever triathlon in Miami this weekend... he's starting with an Olympic Distance... that's braver than I was my first go.  I have a feeling he'll do great... and I can't wait to hear all about it when they get back.  It was fun to tell him about how to go around the buoys with a one arm swim... I felt so knowledgable. : )

Well, I hope you all have training sessions you look forward to this weekend! If anyone is racing, let us know... and good luck!

Post Script: My favorite fed ex man was back this morning and this time he brought me my Brooks ID Team running shorts and tank!  Amazingly the top was a hair to small so I've emailed to see if I could get a larger one.  All of my other sleeveless tops from Brooks are a medium, but this may be a different fit.  And it's not completely too small... just across the upper back so it pulls a little under my armpits.  But this outfit is bright, and I am pretty sure it glows in the dark. (thus the 2 pictures below) The shorts fit perfectly, although from a style perspective I wouldn't personally put the neon stripes in a curve.  Granted, many female runners are sans curves but for those of us who have what I prefer to call "an hour glass figure" excentuating the hip curve isn't always the greatest look.  But they fit very nicely and were comfortable (although shorter than I normally wear, but then these are running shorts for skinny runners which I aspire to be) and even made my butt look decent.  I've provided some pictures (although not of my butt in the shorts... this is a family friendly blog after all).  And for once, I'm actually in the pictures... and as you can see, they do glow in the dark.  So you'll definitely be able to see me on race days!


  1. Nice work on the bike, dont worry about what other cyclist think about your speed, just remember, at one time, they biked at a slower speed training to get faster. Before you know it 20mph will feel slow to you.

  2. The biggest success of the bike ride, in my view, was your chancing it even though the weather gods were considering ways to mess with you.

    Don't worry about what other people think regarding the speed (and most other things). Everyone is different and this ride was all about you.

  3. I live in a very hilly area, so we're talking apples to oranges here, but I'd be happy with that average on a blustery day! I like the Brooks racing kit too.