I can't believe that I am 5 days away from my very first bike race. I am NOT a cyclist!
Well, not yet.
Am I ready for the race? Not really. Will I go ahead with it? HELL YES!
60 kilometers. 37 miles. That is 25 kilometers longer than my longest ride. Until two days ago, that is. That is when I decided to give it a test run (ride?). I checked out the route online (and quickly realized this must be the crappiest map in existence - here, see for yourself: scale it down to 50 % to get the whole route into the image and then imagine it viewed on the screen of a HTC smart phone. The route is marked with a blue line. www.upsalack.se/doc/Kort
It doesn't help that I am directionally challenged...
I decked out in the gear I will use on Sunday, did a last minute adjustment on one of my shoes (I've got clipless) filled up my water bottle and off I went.
The race starts from the center of the city and I assume the roads will be closed off for traffic on race day so intersections and traffic jams won't be an issue. Two days ago this caused me some delays. On the upside I got to practice getting my foot in and out of the pedal; hopefully one day it will become second nature and I won't have to run down a mental list of things to do before every stop, just to avoid crashing.
With the sun beating down on me and with a comfortable 20 degrees celsius (68F) and a brisk tailwind, I set out north.
God, I love the feeling of speed. Of being one with the bike, to feel it respond to my slightest movement. This could easily become an addiction.
The route goes in a loop, which means that the tailwind I had going out, became crosswind and headwind on the way back. Not as much fun, I must admit. This was also compounded by the fact that the normally flat-as-a-pancake terrain in and around Uppsala, became rolling hills the further north I got. But, hey, I got a reason to switch gears! And a couple of times I even did standing hill climbs! Wohooo!
Note to self: keep figuring out different ways to breathe through your mouth when your nose is congested (allergies), because those bugs didn't taste so yummy.
After 1.5 hours I was kind of thinking that a shower and a lie-down on the couch sounded pretty good. I was also standing up on the bike every now and then, just for the heck of it, even with no hills in sight. Um, yes, sore. And it wasn't even my ass, per se, but my pelvic floor. Sore muscles I know how to treat, but sore BONES?
Another note to self: when you're going to sit back down on the saddle remember that your tights have padding that likes to get caught on the tip of the saddle, thus pulling your tights down a bit. Smooth. LIFT YOUR ASS before sliding onto the saddle!
After two hours I was totally, utterly and completely OVER this experience. The sign that said UPPSALA 8 KM, was a most welcome sight, believe me.
I got home, stumbled off the bike, got inside on trembling legs (my calves felt weak as day-old kittens) and crashed on the couch. And quickly reverted to lying down, because OUCH. And didn't move much for the rest of the evening.
2:23 is the time to beat, come Sunday. Well, I can HARDLY do worse, right?
I didn't adjust the time for traffic delays or the three stops to consult the crappy map, so there is definitely room for improvement.
But I did it. And I can do it again. And again. And I WILL. Just watch me.