|My new pretty, plus riding report
||[Jun. 2nd, 2013|08:40 pm]
This is my new pretty, shiny, wonderful bike:
Her name is Greta. Because we are not slow, we just want to be alone.
I took Greta on our first ride together Thursday evening. In doing so, I made a number of mistakes, mistakes you should all learn from:
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!!