On the Road Again


Well, for all of you that have been patiently waiting for a real update, I finished my first team ride yesterday. Woohoo! How was it? Honestly? …painful. But we’ll get to that. To start, I packed all my gear into Charles’ truck (who didn’t join me on the morning’s ride – a story for another day), and headed out around 6:30 am to put in some road time – before I pack on an extra few pounds to carry up the hill at Thanksgiving.

This week’s ride was the pacelining clinic. I’m actually pretty glad to have landed on this particular activity for my first time back on the team. The route is an out-and-back loop on a very straight road, with minimal hills (In fact, most coaches wouldn’t even call these “road bumps” hills at all, but what do they know?). The day runs such that the team splits into our assigned ride groups and take anywhere from 2-4 trips down the road, practicing group riding skills, communication, and generally getting comfortable being that close to someone else’s rear wheel.

I was placed in Coach Devan’s group to start, based on my ride group from the summer team, with the option to drop down should it be necessary. Goodness knows that my one prior ride up and down my street probably didn’t bring the legs back into tip-top shape (unfortunately). The first trip out was brutal. Our pace was much faster than what I’m used to, as the group was feeling fresh and tearing up the hills. I burned everything I had keeping up on the last mini-climb out, and ended up having to drop off the tail before we made it back to the rest stop. Apparently those old lessons of “eat before you ride” didn’t take the first time around. Pair food deprivation with a wimpy arm and some general awkwardness on the bike, and I was completely spent rolling into the parking lot.

I chatted with Leigh Ann and Devan, ate a few Shot Bloks and a couple orange slices, and decided to give this group another spin. Overall, I think the speed placement is right – just a combination of being out of shape and a too-fast start kicked my butt that round. It seemed like a good call, as I was able to keep pace with the group much better the second time around without a struggle. Granted, I dropped off the tail again on the last climb, but to me that I just shows I need to hit hill repeats with a vengeance when I get back in town!

My arm was utterly killing me after the second trip out, so I opted to do a solo run with Leigh Ann rather than slow down the rest of the line for me. Many thanks to her for sticking with my slow self! We took a much slowed-down spin out to the “big climb” right before you hit the water, then headed back to the lot. All in all, I probably only did 80-90% of the last round, but that was unfortunately all I had left in me. At least I was able to talk myself up the hill

Overall it was great to be back on the bike. The first descent reminded me of how much I liked to travel at cycle-speed and how much I’d missed just being outside and active. That said, I definitely gained a good number of takeaways from the day:

  • Buy and bring my own cold weather gear. I ended up wearing Coach Dave’s jacket, Andy’s headband, and Leigh Ann’s leg warmers before I hit the road – and some pieces were still cold! The long sleeve light jersey and cycle shorts really aren’t going to cut it!
  • Take Advil before you ride, at least for now. My arm was aching pretty bad on the bike and for most of last night. I’m still working on the strength training, and I’m sure this will abate in time…but for now do something to make it a bit more bearable.
  • Along those same lines, Try matching my good arm to the goofy one rather than forcing the busted one into a position it can’t make. I don’t know how much this will help, as I didn’t get it as a suggestion from Coach Dave until after the ride, but it makes sense, and I’m betting will ease up some of the shoulder tension.
  • Eat. I know this, but somehow forgot…so I’ll write it again.
  • Get another bike fit. Whether I’m sitting differently because of the arm or the saddle shifted during the crash without me knowing it, something just felt off on the bike. I was constantly shifting up and down the seat trying to find a spot where I was comfortable and not crushing any spots, and didn’t have much luck.

So, I’m off for a week to visit the family for Turkey Day. No ride updates for a few days since I won’t have a bike to ride (and MD is expecting “flurries”, but I might have a PT update for you instead. I promised Coach Don I’d be at hill repeats next Sunday, so look for an overly-detailed rundown of that sometime soon!

Oh, and if you were looking for the ride map, I accidentally left the Garmin plugged into the wall when I left in the morning. Yay for pacelining with no computer (insert sarcastic voice). Yes, I know…I suck

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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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