Sunday, June 02, 2013
As I mentioned elsewhere, I took Greta (yes, my new bike now has a name--like, just as I was writing this!) on our
first ride together Thursday evening. In doing so, I made a number of mistakes, mistakes you should all learn
1. I'd ridden 19 miles in 88 degree weather earlier in the day, but hadn't bothered to eat much of anything,
particularly anything potassium-heavy, so I was starting with an electrolyte deficiency.
2. Despite the fact that I was on a new bike with a totally different riding position, I started our training
together by taking on a 21 mile ride. A ride that begins with 5 miles of gradual but unceasing uphill pedaling.
3. Despite knowing better, I jumped right up with the leaders and pushed myself HARD to stay with them.
By the time we reached the summit of the ride, I was hurting some. But from there, I knew it was an out-and-back
of very straight roads on rolling hills. Plenty of rest, and a chance to finally see what Greta could do.
And she was magnificent! On a minor descent, I was coasting at 19 mph! Coasting! I have no idea what her top speed
might be because I was too nervous to pedal faster than 22! Everything was brilliant!
Then we started climbing again. And that's when things went pear-shaped. My thighs began cramping and my wind
just...died. My back was aching as well. I had pushed through everything I had in those first 5 miles of climbing,
and I simply wasn't recovering on the downhills.
But I kept pedaling. I was climbing even the relatively minor grades at under 10mph, and the bigger ones I dropped
down into the 5-6mph range. At one point I just plain had to stop, get my feet out of the pedals, and just stand
and stretch for a few minutes.
Honestly, I felt worse then than I did at the end of the 81 miles I'd ridden on the first day of Pedal to the
Point last year.
My friend Mike was a hero, though. He kept looping around and checking in on me, giving me encouraging words but
not hanging at my shoulder and nagging. And I got back on the bike and began pedaling again.
It didn't get any easier. By the time we were climbing toward the apogee of the ride, the highest point in the
county, I was just lost in the pain of the cramps, the breathing, the heartrate, the back pain. The good thing was
that I could tell that none of this was injury-threatening pain. Just glycogen-deprived misery.
And so I made it to the top of that hill. Mike was there, cheering me on. "It's all downhill from here!" he
yelled. And mostly it was. There were some minor uphills, the kind that I had barely even noticed in the past.
This time, each one was a tiny bit of hell. We finally got to the last couple miles, which were all downhill. I
pushed my pedaling speed up so that I was going around 15. There will be other days when I take that part at 20 or
more. But it was not this day.
This day was all about struggling, pushing beyond what feels like the outside boundaries, and then accomplishing
the task anyway. It was a humbling lesson in proper preparation, but also an exhilerating lesson in the power of
the will to keep pushing. I staggered back into Mike and Patti's house and gulped down fruit smoothies like there
was no tomorrow. In an hour I was recovered enough to drive home.
I lived to ride again.
Ride two was on Saturday. Erin and I were signed up for a 5k run downtown, so I suggested that we bike the 10 miles there, do the 5k, then bike home as a good training exercise for triathlons. Unfortunately, Erin didn't get up early enough to ride, so I rode in without her and she drove in. We completed the 5k (her in record time; me...not last!!), and then had enough energy to do the Cupid Shuffle at the post-run party!
Oh, and I ate bananas.
When we parted, I got on my bike and headed home. But with Captain America filming in Cleveland, one of the two major routes west was closed, and one of the only two exits from the parking area was closed. I was able to escape, though, via the one open sidewalk.
The wind on the way home was blowing against me so hard that I honestly think I could have gone backwards if I weren't pedaling. It was a grind, but I felt much better in this second half of 20 miles of riding than I had in the second half of Thursday's. And, finally, I pulled into the driveway.
Followed shortly by Erin. Traffic was so bad that I actually BEAT HER HOME. I was completely exhausted, though, and pretty wiped out for the rest of the day.
This evening I decided to take Greta out again. I took her on our first ride through the MetroParks together. And for the first time I really felt like I was actually using the clips effectively. It's a very different muscle motion and I can feel that I'm going to be sore in new places. After 15 miles of riding hard, I eased back and cruised the last 9 miles home. I was worried about the climb out of the park because I was having some cramping issues in my left leg again. Then I realized that much of that was coming from the fact that I was only stepping out of the pedals on the right, so my left leg was never getting a stretch out. I took a 3-minute break at the bottom of the climb and then made it out pretty easily. The climbing is both easier and harder: easier because Greta is so light, but harder because she doesn't have a super-low "granny gear" that I can just spin without using much muscle. But building more muscle? Not tragic.
So, since I got her on Thursday, I've put 63 miles on Greta. I'm going to take her back to the bike shop for a couple minor adjustments (moving the seat back, decreasing the reach on the brakes), but I absolutely love her!!
Friday, May 31, 2013
Meet my new baby! I have been wanting a road bike for some time, and I managed to get a great deal on this one! I picked her up yesterday afternoon, and even though I'd ridden 20 miles in the 85 degree temp in the morning, I *had* to take myself over to the Patti's Paladins training ride.
Which was, as always, humbling. I am slow, slow, slow and the riders are fast, fast, fast. Also, riding 20 miles in 85 degrees and then not bothering to eat anything containing potassium. Or carbs. I bonked a bit, cramping up.
But I made the ride and LOVE my bike! I will need some seriously training up on the new riding position, but it's wonderful!!
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
Well, I have done it. I've nailed my colors to the mast, so to speak.
I have actually registered for my first triathlon.
I'm registered for the Maumee Bay triathlon in Oregon, Ohio on June 16. I am signed up for the sprint distance: Swim 750 Meters, Bike 20 Kilometers, and Run 5
Nevertheless, the statistics on this event are pretty clear:
1. It's barely 2 weeks away;
2. I will have to be there by 7am. Oregon is about 2 hours away, so I will have to be up around 4:30 in the morning to make final preparations and head out; and
3. I am in no way "trained" for this event.
I haven't been in the water since February. At that time I swam the distance in laps pretty easily. But this will be an open water swim, and I haven't done one of those at all. I will have a wetsuit, at least--open water without one could be downright dangerous. But I have had no practice in getting into or back out of a wetsuit, and I won't be getting the wetsuit for another week.
Each one of the events is a distance I have no worry about. It's the combination of them that's going to be the challenge.
And I am doing this alone. Erin will be out of town. In some ways, I'm sort of glad--no matter how cumbersomely slow and awkward I am, no one will be watching me. On the other hand, when I finally stagger across the finish line there won't be anyone there to provide any sincere pity claps.
Still, once it's done I will have bragging rights!
Monday, May 20, 2013
Last night I passed 60,000 Spark Points. Which means I now have the first crown of the Spark Levels. I am ridiculously delighted by this fact.
Saturday, May 18, 2013
I went to see The Great Gatsby with my book group last night. Almost all of us just bought a ticket and headed into the theater, but one person stopped and bought a large popcorn.
I felt very lucky that she was seated at the other end of the row from me.
Every time I go into a movie theater, I have that moment of deep temptation. The movie popcorn smells SO GOOD. I used to buy a large movie popcorn, with butter, and eat pretty much the whole thing myself. I have no self-control in the face of movie popcorn.
And they I would be sick. Nauseated and miserable. It took me YEARS to really recognize that movie popcorn was not a good life choice for me. I simply can't eat it without feeling terrible all the rest of the evening.
The problem is, I still am tempted by the smell of it. When I'm out with hubby to the movies (which is pretty often; we are big movie buffs), he has instructions to remind me how sick it makes me. And so far I have stayed away from it, enjoyed the movie experience, and been completely happy with my choice.
But if I had been seated next to my popcorn-eating friend, I probably would have been tempted to ask for just a little. And then mugged her for the rest of the bucket. So I would have been sick AND embarrassed.
No, far better to be at the other end, away from temptation!
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