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.