Saturday, August 16, 2008

20 miles

Ok. Where are we? Ah yes. I had just brought you up to speed about my adventures with clipless pedals.

So, I got past that, and got pretty comfortable with the shoes/pedals. Over the next several days, I would jump on the bike and take a quick ride after dinner. Let me see...

Got the bike on Monday. To the park and back on platform pedals on Tuesday. (about 2 miles) Did 4 miles on Wednesday, 5 on Thursday, and took the evening off on Friday ending every ride with making small adjustments to the bike. Thursday evening I remembered that at some point in time I had put a small bike computer on the Schwinn (the mountain bike). I mounted that on the Fuji so that I can start keeping better track of my progress.

I have also set a goal for myself. I want to do a century ride. I don't think there is enough good weather left to pull it off in '08, so my goal is to be ready for one next summer. If things really progress well, and I happen to find something locally in the fall, I may give it a shot. But I think I need more training than that. We'll just have to see how things go.

That brings us up to today. I got up bright and early, had 2 pieces of Rudi's whole wheat toast and a glass of this energy drink my wife has been trying. It is called FRS and you get it through the mail. It tastes pretty darn good and what the hell - it has bicycles on the website and Lance Armstrong is involved in some manner. And considering it was already in the 'frige, well, that was good enough for me. I finished up my breakfast and then grabbed the water bottle from the refrigerator that I had swiped from my kid the night before, and the Ipod. I went out to the garage, stepped into the crazy shoes, strapped on the helmet and gloves and I was on my way.

I headed north up Nagel to Caldwell Woods at Milwaukee and Devon. It is known for having a pretty nice bike path that goes for a long, long way. It may to to Canada for all I know at this point. It was about 3.5 miles to the park / Forest Preserve and then I rode the path until I hit 10 miles on my newly mounted bike computer. That just so happened to put me at a picnic table. So I stopped, had a nice drink of water and started back toward home.

I road 20.1 miles this morning and gosh darn it, I'm pretty proud of myself. I have ridden bikes my whole life. Growing up in NW Indiana, it was ALL we did. We rode our bikes nearly every single day and pretty much year round. I can remember plowing through 8 inches of snow on my BMX bike, in a full snow suit, heading over to a buddy's house so that we could play on our bikes in the snow. We were always riding, either to get some where, or riding just to play. Bikes were our transportation to be sure. Everything was spread out just a bit too far where I lived to make walking practical. But bikes were also our imaginary motorcycles as well. (Can't count how many times I got in trouble when my Mom would try playing solitaire and find her deck three or four cards short because I had taken them, along with a couple of her clothes pins and used them to get the proper motor cycle sound from my bike) Bikes were our getaway cars, our horses, and could even be flipped upside down and used as an imaginary ice cream machine. We raced each other and built ramps and learned to bunny hop and got full of mud after a good summer rain. We tore them apart and rebuilt them again. I could strip a bike to a bare frame in probably 30 minutes. Then we'd sand them down, break out the rattle cans of primer and whatever cool new color of paint we'd picked out from hardware store. (which we had ridden to on our bikes) We'd have them resprayed and put back together before we went to bed that night. I lived bicycles.

But, I don't think I've ever ridden 20 miles until this morning.

The ride was very nice and for the most part, easy. I was sore coming home, but not terribly winded and my legs felt good. My butt was getting sore and my back was just starting to ache a bit. My thumbs were getting numb. I'd say the back and butt are just a matter of training. The thumbs? Seems like my gloves were too small. But when I tried the next size up at the store when I purchased them, those felt too big. I think these gloves may just need to stretch a bit. The outside edge of my left foot was hurting a bit, as if I was pedaling with the side of my foot. I may adjust the cleats on the shoes just a bit, and I think that I just need to be more aware of how I am pedaling. I started getting really comfortable with the crazy shoes and the clippless pedals on this ride. I did my best to move the pedals in circles rather than just pushing down on them. That helped the foot pain a lot and, wow, what a nice feeling it is to use completely different muscle groups to pedal a bike. I would forget, and my legs would start to get a bit sore. Then I'd remember and start using different parts of my leg to power the bike and all the leg pain would just go away. Especially when climbing.

Here's something you wouldn't expect in Chicago - I was on alert for other bikers, and walkers, and runners. But coming around a blind corner at 14 mph into a herd of deer? Now THAT was just a bit odd! Turns out there are about a million deer in our parks. And they aren't terribly frightened by bikes.

Well, this is way longer than I expected. Time for a nice breakfast.

20.1 miles
12.7 mph avg.
24.9 mph max.


Paul said...


Did you reset your computer for the road bike?

One thing that will help you learn to pedal in circles is to imagine you're scraping pooh off the bottom of your shoe. The up and down comes naturally - it's a lot harder to use the bottom and top of the stroke.

If you're serious about getting ready for a century, consider joining Team in Training. Great group, great schedule, great tips/tricks, discounts at local shops and for a great cause.

FWIW, it's illegal (in most states) and dangerous to ride with headphones. At least take the left one out. Please.

-T. said...

Yes, I did reset the computer for the road bike. I was suprised I still had the instructions.

Pooh scraping... ewww.

I'll check out this Team in Training. Sounds interesting.

I figured I was breaking some law with the headphones, but...

The sound is very low. I was very paranoid, but found that I could still hear very well. (famous last words)

Also, for some reason that is unknown to me, I am super suceptible to ear aches. 5 miles on the bike the other evening in 70 degree weather had my ears achin' pretty good for awhile. So I have to stuff something in them anyway...

I'm leaning more toward packing the bike up and taking it to the trail rather than fighting traffic to get there and back. I promise to remove one headphone while I'm on the street, OK?

Paul said...

Sure. But the problem also comes from not being able to hear other cyclists about to pass you. Besides, you can then ride smugly annoyed at everyone on their iPod who can't hear you.

I refuse to drive somewhere to ride my road bike. That's just me. :D