Kickin’ it off in style


Early style that is. A year plus of off-team 10 o’clock start times rides apparently really spoiled me! I had to get up at the tailcrack of …morning (not to be confused with the crack of noon, which is sadly never an option on ride days) to meet my fellow Team in Training folks for our very first official summer team ride. I was out of bed by 6 am and on the road with lifeblood (aka coffee) in hand within the half hour. I don’t get up that early for work, people! I hope this team realizes how much I *obviously* love them!

Upon arrival in Los Altos, I stumbled bleary eyed through the crowd, applying my name tag, wrangling up participants and guzzling my pre-ride fuel. Now I’m sure there is some cycling theorist/armchair physician/sports research junkie just dying to tell me how terrible a caffeine infusion just before working out actually is for me. I probably even believe them. But I also believe that I won’t ride far (or survive long) sleeping on a bike… so I’m willing to take the risk on this one. Lucky for me, I’m in good enough shape to take the 15 mile easy kickoff loop in less than “super optimal athlete condition.”

The first meeting of the season is always exciting (yay – we’re really doing this). And long (wow, do the coaches and staff have a lot they need to tell us). And a bit nerve wracking (how many of you are new to clips again?!). With so much to cover, including learning how to change a tire, it’s no wonder that we didn’t roll out of the parking lot until close to 9:30. While I was cold and quite antsy to get started by then, I can happily say that I was also properly caffeinated!  Once we were sure everyone could fix a flat and that the proper forms were all in, the participants self selected into the “fast, faster and fastest” groups to stagger the start.

For my very first ever ride as a mentor, I stuck to the middle of the “fasters” group. It was actually an interesting experience riding where someone else was setting the pace (and actually being comfortable there, instead of always chasing my ride group — preseason training pays off!), and just spending time getting to know the new team members. I had a lot of fun chatting with new people and learning why they joined TNT. Oh… and shouting. There is nothing I like more about Team in Training rides than the shouting! I think that we aim to be the safest and *loudest* group on the road. “On your left,” “car back,” “downshift,” “left turn!” It probably sounds silly, and probably is a bit obnoxious in some cases… but I would kill to have the majority of cyclists be as aware and communicative as we try to be. Not dying is good! No… really! 

At the crest of our first teensy weensy climb, we pulled into a parking lot for the “OMG, you back tire is flat!” (aka the “how well were you listening this morning?”) surprise tire changing clinic. You guys remember this from my seasons right? Every participant had to flatten their back tire and then go through all the steps of changing it. Despite an awful lot of moaning and groaning, I think most folks did surprisingly well — no pinched tubes or sliced hands so far! As a side note, I’ll likely be buying stock in speed levers soon. They really are the greatest piece of plastic known to cycling. My group was anxious to get back on the road, and were some of the first folks out of the parking lot. (Seriously… I almost didn’t notice them leave and had to sprint to catch up!)

The remainder of the ride was fairly uneventful. We had a couple folks with clip accidents of thankfully minor severity and to mercifully small audiences. I almost got a portion of my group lost with a single wrong turn on a really similar road name… but was luckily steered back onto the right path before we’d gone more than 20 feet. Hey – it would’ve just been a bit more climbing anyway! I’m pretty sure we did hit a wrong turn somewhere in the last half mile or so, but as we made it back to our starting point intact and on time, I’m not too worried. We celebrated our first official team ride with a “Meet the Honorees” breakfast, a bit of mingling, and a gear raffle. Lots of food, lots of prizes, and lots of fun.

The first ride was definitely a success, although I definitely could have ridden longer. But that’s the point of the early training right? To try and keep my training level just a squish bit ahead of my group so that I can effectively be there to support them! As for the data piece, I finally figured out what was missing on my cadence meter… when I got home. I accidentally left the pedal button on my old bike (whoopsie), so you won’t see it for this ride. 

Kickoff ride

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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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