Sunday, February 26, 2012

My first long ride

Full disclosure: I've been a tad nervous about switching from the weekends being for long runs to the weekends being for long bike rides. Mainly because I've never done a long bike ride. And I don't like change.

Also, biking can be a bit stressful because, unlike running, you can't just bike anywhere. Ideally, you'll find a place with wide shoulders, minimal traffic, smooth roads, little to no street lights, etc. My neighborhood doesn't really work too well because most of the streets are busy with zero shoulders.

My training plan called for a three hour bike ride this weekend, so my friend Mike said he had a 30+ mile route for us, which sounded pretty good.

 It was a bit of a jump, since my longest previous ride had been about 18 miles. In July. I ignored that fact. Also the other unsettling reminder that, other than a 10 mile ride on a nice day, I hadn't been on my bike outside since the fall. 

The trainer was an awesome Christmas present, and has been great to get some workouts in. Unfortunately, it can't really do much other than train the muscles and work on cardiovascular conditioning (that sounded sort of scientific, so I'll add in the disclaimer "I think"). Not that those two things aren't important, but it doesn't attack a lot of my cycling weaknesses. Such as steering, not having panic attacks on downhills, going around curves, avoiding potholes, changing gears, dealing with wind resistance, and dodging cars....for starters. 

Despite all that, I loved life on this ride. As we headed out down the first hill and around a curve, that familiar fear  started to grip me again. However, as I got re-accustomed to being on the bike, I started to get more comfortable and it didn't last. Other than my shoulders getting pretty tired and my toes going numb from cold, I was feeling good for most of the ride. 

Shadow shot to prove I was there.

I like smooth pavement.
Scary swinging bridge. I followed the posted sign and walked my bike across.

Just like long runs, it's important to use long rides to learn little lessons in addition to training. I learned today  that if you aren't gripping your brakes in terror, you can shift your hand position and actually help your shoulders hurt less. 

Also properly adjust your helmet before you begin. It's not supposed to crush your skull.

We rode 32.3 miles in two and a half hours. Not exactly what the plan called for, but I took it. Next week also calls for 3 hours of cycling, so I'll give myself something to build up to. 

I quickly threw my running shoes on to get in the required 20 minutes of running to make it a brick workout. I had zero high hopes for pace and hoped to do 2 miles in the twenty minutes. I was pretty surprised when I reached a mile before it was time to turn around at the ten minute mark, and even more surprised when I got back to the car and saw a 8:13 average pace. I was pushing it, but my legs felt fine. The bike ride was at a super easy pace, so I'm sure that helped.

To make things even better, we basically rode all afternoon, so my lunch was 3/4 of a Clif bar. By the time I got home and had dinner the only choice that I had to replace all the calories was to eat them back in chocolate. Darn.


  1. Awesome day of workouts!As someone who can only ride a bike if it's stable and indoors, I'm impressed.

  2. Is that bigger Asian kid on the bridge in charge of the smaller one? That must be why the Chinese are beating us at everything, they outsource the parenting.

    I'm so impressed with your biking. That is a long time to be sitting on a hard set and pedaling while wearing funny shoes.

  3. Uh, didn't you learn anything about proper fuel for running? Translates to riding too! And the best part about riding shirts? They have pockets for snacks!

    Nice job on the bike today though! I am still learning too and have fallen quite a few times!

  4. I'm so impressed that you rode a bike for 2.5 hours. I'm terrified of falling on a bike...and it makes my bum sore!

    Yay chocolate!!

  5. Wait, your helmet isn't supposed to crush your skull? I've clearly been doing it wrong. Just kidding, I don't ride bikes.

    I like how neurotic you sound when you describe all of your fears, mostly because I have all of those same fears and it makes me feel less insane.

  6. yea!!!!!!!! congrats chica! sounds like you guys had an awesome ride. way to go. can't wait to join you on upcoming rides....just got to get this marathon and thesis nonesense out of the way.

  7. Great job on the long ride AND the fast running pace after. Ouch on the helmet bruise though. Hopefully you are wearing your helmet to work today to hide the bruising. I'd like to know how your kids would respond to that. I haven't busted out my bike here yet because I'm concerned with getting it down the hill we live on without flying over the handle bars. And I think it would look pretty lame to the neighbors I haven't met yet for me to walk the bike both down and up the hill.

  8. I think you did absolutely fantastic on your long ride...very well done indeed. You didn't even come close to embarrassing either, so good on ya.

    I think my all time "low" was one Saturday afternoon when I was clipped in and zipping around through my neighborhood on one of my rides. I came up to a stop sign I almost always run (I know, I'm insane), and saw a cop slowly rolling past. Not wanting to get a ticket, I slammed on the brakes, bringing the bike to a nice, even stop right at the stop sign.

    It was perfect.

    Except I forgot to unclip one foot.

    I then (quite comically looking I'm sure), fell over to one side. The cop stopped at the next block, turned around and came back to make sure I was alright. Bike -- slightly scratched pedal. Body -- slightly skinned knee. Pride -- severely battered. :-)

  9. I'm way impressed! Do you have bruises on your forehead today? Because if so, I need pictures.

  10. I'm super impressed! My butt hurts just thinking about a bike ride that long.

  11. That's a long ride! I think the longest I ever rode was 14 miles.


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