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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!!

[User Picture]From: jesskastar
2013-06-03 02:26 am (UTC)
Both you and the bike look great! #GoGiniGo!
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[User Picture]From: mplsindygirl
2013-06-03 04:46 am (UTC)
You're amazing! I got out for 20 miles this evening. Mostly flat, and at a very leisurely pace for the middle 8 miles because my buddy was along. Spent a lot of energy dodging swarms of gnats along the river road at dusk.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-03 12:46 pm (UTC)
The gnats are seriously bad. I was glad I had my wrap-around sunglasses on.
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[User Picture]From: pachamama
2013-06-03 08:20 am (UTC)
gorgeous! and the bike looks pretty good, too. ;-)
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-03 12:47 pm (UTC)
Aw, thanks!
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[User Picture]From: naath
2013-06-03 09:40 am (UTC)
New Shiny Squeee!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-03 12:48 pm (UTC)
There has been much squeeing.
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[User Picture]From: dana3
2013-06-03 12:40 pm (UTC)
Wow!! You bike up *that* hill?!? Routinely??
Color me exceedingly impressed ...
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-03 12:49 pm (UTC)
Well, it was just the one at Detroit. It's the tamest of those hills.

I also rode it up the hill at Lewis Road, over by Frostville, but had to stop to catch my breath about 2/3 of the way up. That hill is a BEAST.
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[User Picture]From: gythiawulfie
2013-06-03 12:44 pm (UTC)

She is beautiful.

A long time ago in a land far far away... I did the same exact stupid thing of ill preparation.

We only do it once.

But it sounds like your new bike is FAB!
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-03 12:51 pm (UTC)

Re: She is beautiful.

I wish I could claim that I would only do it once. Alas, I find new ways to do dumb things all the time. I'm going to try and be better about it this year.
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[User Picture]From: gythiawulfie
2013-06-03 01:22 pm (UTC)

Re: She is beautiful.

Well, here is a tip from my former days if no one has told you this before (if they have awesomesauce). I know you said you were getting to do some of the smaller triathlons.

Start gearing up carb/sugar/glucose wise a few days before. I am not talking huge heavy amounts, and not carb-loading as they used to call it back in my day. The day of protein but only if you think you can handle it. So if you do a smoothie a a day? Try two to three. A couple of bananas? Double it. That kind of thing.

It takes a few days for the body to process it and have it ready for fuel. Banana's and Smoothies are awesome ways to do that without killing the calorie budget. Cut back on anything with milk in it because you will be surprised on how much phlegm that much exercise can cause. (I would make my smoothies with natural apple juice instead.)

And increasing your calorie intake a bit - about a couple hundred for a few days prior will help relieve the huge crash you get afterwards.

Good Luck though!
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[User Picture]From: greatskeeve
2013-06-04 02:05 am (UTC)
I think it's great that you and your bike are wearing matching outfits.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-04 02:38 am (UTC)
There's a reason I think she's so pretty!!
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[User Picture]From: angledge
2013-06-04 03:35 am (UTC)
If your bike shop offers a "bike fitting" TOTALLY DO IT. They should minutely adjust every setting on the bike to make it fit you as optimally as possible. It takes a while, but the payoff is a much more comfortable riding experience.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-04 03:20 pm (UTC)
I will ask. Thanks!
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[User Picture]From: libco
2013-06-06 03:33 pm (UTC)
So I'm thinking of getting a bike for city riding. 1-I'm poor 2-I'm out of shape 3-I may end up hating it.
Any suggestions of types of bikes? I hate multispeed bikes and leaning over. Brands? Price ranges? I feel clueless. I've been doing research but I can't even imagine spending 800 plus for a bike I may use once. If it costs more than my rent its out of the question.
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[User Picture]From: zoethe
2013-06-06 10:26 pm (UTC)
Are you biking someplace that's relatively flat? Then it sounds like you want a cruiser. The seat is low and the handlebars high, so no bending over. It will be nice and stable, but it will be relatively heavy and not great at dealing with hills.

My recommendation is that you go on Craig's List and find a beater bike for cheap. You'll get an idea of whether or not you even like riding. If you do, you can upgrade, and if you don't, you're not out much money.
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[User Picture]From: libco
2013-06-08 04:52 am (UTC)
Thanks. yeah I plan to bike the flatlands
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