Monday, March 5, 2012

Game changer

Yesterday was my second long bike ride. I met my friends Mike, Lily and Jackie at Mike's house. We started out just riding around roads and bike trails in Mike's neighborhood, and returned to the scene of my first triathlon, Centennial Lake. It was a hilly route full of sharp (for me) turns and dodging all sorts of walkers and strollers. Good practice reminding myself that I was in charge of the bike, and not the other way around.

After about an hour of trying to climb big hills in killer winds, we packed up the bikes and drove down to Patabsco State Park, where we rode last weekend. It was flatter and in a valley, so we thought that would give us some protection from the wind.

Wind is really a game changer while cycling. The winds were really only about 15mph, so running in that isn't really a huge deal. Cycling in that, however, often felt like I was on the trainer - pushing as hard as I could in the lowest resistance, and barely moving. The downhills got pretty scary because my eyes would tear up and I couldn't see. The actual temperature was 40, so with the wind chill it was right around freezing, and my feet felt like blocks of ice. Running always warms me up, but cycling basically does the opposite.

Despite all that, my legs felt great, and I was, believe it or not, enjoying the ride. This led me to believe that perhaps training indoors did improve my cycling somewhat, at least in terms of endurance (not balance or anything though).

I even rode my bike across the terrifying swinging bridge (seriously it's like 2 feet wide and swings back and forth and bounces when you walk on it).

Don't know those people, but now I've set a bad example for that child by disobeying posted signs
Apparently my brain didn't feel as good as my legs because I tried to rejoin my friends with my helmet on backwards. 
It wasn't as funny to recreate it, but this post needed pictures.

We got back to the cars at about 31 miles, and as much as I wanted to add a few more miles to beat last week's total, I didn't have the guts to continue braving the cold all alone. My feet were so completely numb and frozen it was getting hard to unclip my shoes from the pedals.

I threw on my running shoes, did an easy 3 mile run, and called it a day.

I also wore my borrowed tri shorts the entire time, and loved how comfortable they were. I realized that I threw that term out there with no explanation last week even though I only just learned what they are myself. Tri shorts are shorts with just a tiny bit of padding, instead of the thick padding that normal bike shorts have. They are designed to be comfortable on the bike, but also not make you feel like you are running in a diaper. 

This morning my swim time increased again on my training plan. I was kind of freaking out about it. It was only 15 minutes more than last week but it seemed totally overwhelming. Somehow, I made it through the chlorine infested waters without drowning for 75 whole minutes (in freestyle).

This week I'm adjusting my training a bit to prepare for the Lower Potomac Marathon on Sunday! I'm still trying to get in a decent amount of biking and swimming (for me, anyway) so we'll see how that goes.


  1. Well, no wonder you feel weird in bike clothes... you wear them backwards! :)

    I love tri shorts! I actually always wear them cycling now instead of bike shorts, just because I don't want to get too comfortable with surplus padding. Plus, it is awesome NOT feeling like you're in a diaper!

  2. That BLOWS that you can't warm up cycling. You'd never get me outside in the cold if that was the case for running. Then again, I rarely go out in the cold running anyway.

  3. Great job on the long ride and swimming for 75 minutes. I can't even imagine trying to keep myself afloat that long much less swim!

  4. Biking sounds fairly miserable. I'm not sad that it's not one of my activities. :)

    I can't believe you can swim for 75 minutes. That's like running for 14 hours or something crazy like that. No one can do that.

    1. This is basically my reaction to you swimming for that long. Especially freestyle the whole time, too!

  5. nice job chica - way to rock your bike and swim!

  6. that bridge would scare the crap out of me. i partially agree with kara - biking doesn't sound miserable but it scares me to death. i'm glad i don't do it (or i guess i'm glad i don't have the desire to).

  7. Riding on that bridge would freak me out. Great job swimming for 75 minutes, that's amazing!! I have yet to bust out our bikes here in CA. My husband tried but gave up. I can't do a 10% incline on a bike. I don't really want to walk my bike up that either. I think we might get a bike rack so we can bring them some place flatter :)


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