Friday, April 9, 2010

Rain Schmain! I'm Going Riding!

This morning I woke up and snoozed the alarm for far too long.  Which I never do.  I didn't get out of bed till 7 which was an hour later than I wanted to.  I was doing so well on the get up at 530 or 6 thing for so long, but that one work project that kept me up till 130AM for a couple of nights has really wrecked my sleep schedule.  I need to work on that...  but I digress.

I checked the weather and it said rain showers were expected.  I looked outside and it was grey and clear.  For a brief moment I thought about the fact that my bike is brand new and I didn't want to risk getting it wet.  But then I figured its gonna get wet sometime...    I bought it to train on, not to baby it.  So off I went.

As soon as I pulled out of the driveway the rain started.  Awesome!  Hmmm....   maybe I should have bought a rain coat suitable to ride in.  oh well.  Screw it.

So to digress for a second...   deciding what to wear to train in outdoors is a tricky matter.  You want to have just the right balance of clothing on so that theoretically you never have to shed a layer, and if you do its easy to trasnport with you.  You want to be cold at the start of your training so that once you've warmed up your just right at the peak of it.  Its a delicate balance of trial and error.  Its kind of amazing how little you want to wear to go running in 20 degree weather.  You get kind of hot quickly.  Anyway...  all my experience is with running.  Which I'm quickly learning does not apply to cycling.

So...  off I went on my merry way in the rain wearing bike shorts, a long sleeve base layer to keep warm, and a cycling jersey over the top of that.  I was cold.  Quickly.  And then wet.  And then wet and cold.  I'm learning that with a mild to moderate effort long ride your core only heats up so much.  Nowhere near as much as it does when I'm out running oddly.  I think this must have something to do with the wind, and wind resistance, and all the air rushing past you as you ride.  So yeah.  I was cold today. I need to get a lightweight rain coat to ride in thats easy enough to fold up and stuff in the back of a jersey pocket.

Today I focused on a few things on my ride...    clipping in and out.  I stopped at every single little crosswalk, cross street, squirrel crossing, you name it.  I unclipped, put a foot down, and then got going again.  I was doing really well for a while.  I may have overpracticed though as I got sloppy towards the end and it was taking me three tries to get my foot in.  But I didn't tip over this time!  So thats an improvement over yesterday.  I also practiced unclipping ahead of an intersection and then rolling through it and clipping back in without stopping when theres no traffic.  But at least I'm prepared if I have to stop and won't be in danger of tipping over again.

Other than that I just tried for a steady pace, experimented with whats its like to ride in the pouring rain because it did start to rain quite hard once I hit Barrington.  (those wooden bridges are scary slippery when wet!) I went for a longer distance today.  I did 21.5 miles.  I also remembered my heartrate monitor today.  Which was at a surprisingly low number for most of the ride which says I have a lot of room for improvement and I'm not pushing hard enough yet.  But I'll get there.  Wearing it also gives me a better idea of calories burned... which on todays ride was 800.  The hill at the end seemed harder today...    so clearly the extra miles had a small effect on what was left in the tank for my attempted sprint up the hill.

Other significant achievements today?  I managed to pull a powerbar out from my jersey pocket, unwrap it with my teeth and eat the whole thing without stopping.  Which now officially makes me ready for the Tour De France.  Well..   as long as I can skip the Alpe D'huez part...    and most of the other hilly bits too.  The fun part was looking at the intersection approaching in the distance and trying to scarf down the rest of the bar, tuck the wrapper in my pocket, unclip and stop in time. 

I need to go and start reading up on proper bike training and getting a proper routine going.  But for now I'm just enjoying putting some saddle time in.  I'm also thrilled to be back excercising again.  Those couple of post mary weeks off were killing me!  Sadly though now my right calf is starting to tighten up.  I'll baby it and see what happens.  Sometimes I'd like to cut my entire right leg off and replace it.  Its definitely my weakest link.  I have to think about that more and fix it.  But thats for another day.  Surprisingly my ass seems to be getting used sitting on a popsicle stick faster than I thought.  So thats promising.

In other Tri related news...   I cancelled my membership at BSC the other day and signed up at the YMCA.  So I now have pool access!  Next up is to line up some private swimming lessons so I don't start teaching myself bad habits in the pool.  I'm determined not to step foot in the water untill I get at least a cursory overview of proper stroke technique.  At least thats my plan.  Really though its that I don't want to get in the water in some fancy streamlined bathing suit and goggles and then dog paddle back and forth for 50 yards and get out exhausted.  If your gonna look the part you might as well learn the right way to do things!

Oh I also learned a new trick today....   although my bike doesn't have a bell on it.  I have learned that pulsing the breaks makes enough noise to alert the 4 shoulder wide walkers hogging the entire width of the bike path that your about to run them over.  Works really well.  As does barking "Heads Up!" as politely as possible.

And one last thing...  speaking of bike path dangers...    So far my greatest risk of injury on the path are the squirrels!  They are everywhere and they love to dash out in front of you!  its like that insurance commercial.  I can't decide whats more dangerous...  my last minute swerving and braking to dodge them, or holding my line and hoping they move.  I might pretend to be a tough guy at times...  but I can't run over a squirrel.  Thats just wrong.

On that note...  time to go finish drying the bike off, go buy a rain coat to ride in, and find out what sort of post riding in the rain maintenance (chain grease?) I should be doing

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