April 19th, 2010

on my bike

Another event off my checklist

Just not like I'm not really naturally a running person, I'm not really naturally a bike person. And yet I find myself occasionally running and biking absurdly long distances. I think it's the personal challenge that I thrive upon, less the thing that challenges me. I'm certainly not good at running or biking but I suppose I am very good at pushing myself.

And so, at 5:00 on Saturday morning, Graham and I got up, threw my stuff in the car, said goodbye to the dogs (my brother would come to pick them up later) and drove to the Red Roof Inn, where my team would meet and depart. kittyajh was kind enough to invite me onto her team, Ol' Army Cycling, even though my only connection to Texas A&M was that my dad graduated from there 50 years ago. I met a few people the night before when I went to pick up my jersey and check in at the official Expo, but I really didn't stick around for a long time because I wanted to get home to double check my packing and eat the pasta that Graham made for me. I also wanted to get to bed relatively early, given the start time.

I don't know how I really felt when I woke up. That we had a lot of stuff to take care of was helpful because it kept my mind off of what was ahead. I knew that I was much better prepared on my bike than last year, with two long training rides in the previous two weeks and a better understanding of my bike. But I also knew that I wasn't in as good physical condition (save for the lack of gallstones). Last year, I'd prepared with a bootcamp and a Lenten vow to exercise to the burning of 300 calories a day through most of the two months prior to the event. This year, I was hit with the 'flu on the first day of Lent and it knocked me out for a solid two weeks and took even longer to recover. I'd started taking my body seriously in mid-March, but was it enough to catch up?

We got to the hotel at maybe 6:10, and Graham, who didn't want to get caught in the MS150 traffic, took off pretty quickly after dropping me and my stuff off. He went straight to Austin to hang out with some friends of ours while I was riding my bike. I introduced myself to a few people, but I didn't really catch that many names. I had no idea what the pace or skill level of anyone on the team, so I had no idea if I'd see them after the start. It was a little drizzly, and the forecast for the day said at some point it would rain. But there's not much you can do about that, so I didn't worry. I did contemplate bringing my rain gear with me on the ride, but then decided I'd just get hot, and I'd still get wet regardless. After my bag was loaded into the truck, I realized that it was just me, my bike, some of the items I'd stuffed in the pockets on my lower back, and my camelbak. I would have to rely upon these things to get me from the Red Roof Inn to the Fayette County Fairgrounds. Holy crap. At 6:45, after a quick group meeting and prayer, we were off.

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I slept 11 hours last night and I took today off work. I feel pretty good, though, of course, I'm a bit sore. The only really weird thing is my left arm, which still tingles a bit, but less with each hour. Yesterday, I could barely cup my hand. Today I'm fine. I imagine this will go away sooner or later, and I'll get my bike fit adjusted later on down the line to see if I'm sitting on my bike incorrectly.

I'm still a bit in awe and still processing. Do I want to do it again? I think so. Not tomorrow, but yeah. I want to see if I can replicate, maybe improve upon it, take the things I've learned about myself and use them again. I want to take my bike skills to triathlons again and see if that improves my performance. I think it will.

So I rode my bike 165.57 miles this weekend. Huh.

*The cable to my front gears had been bent a little, and it was very difficult to shift during my training rides, so I avoided going out of the middle cog for fear of getting stuck. I got my bike fixed the Monday before the ride, so this was my first time playing with this stuff.