Wednesday, April 10, 2013

H140 Training Update #1

Now that the half-marathon is behind me, this is the time to jump into training for THE BIKE RIDE. I had great intentions of getting a start on it on Good Friday. It was a holiday for me from work, and I thought it was the perfect day for a little inaugural bike ride. I had a route all planned out - a 20 mile route along mostly bike paths to Woodland Hills. The route runs parallel to the Metro Orange Line. Some of it is in bike lanes on roads, and some along the paths.
The day started in a bit of fits and starts. I had spent several hours during the week getting the proper tool (pedal wrench) to put my Speedplay pedals on the bike - the pedals that allow you to "clip in" with biking shoes, providing they have the compatible cleats. With freshly-mounted cleats and newly-installed pedals, I thought I was ready. I've spent years on a spin bike with cycling shoes - how much harder could it be to make that transition to a road bike?

As it turns out, not as easy as I thought. The cleats and fittings are different than the ones I use in spin class, so all the muscle memory I have for clipping in and out was completely useless for these new ones.
Just a small setback, no big deal. I switched the pedals out to the store-issued ones (I was an expert at this by now), rechecked all my supplies and headed out.
All was well and good until I hit a literal bump in the road. There was a two-three inch difference in the pavement which I didn't see in time to properly avoid. Other than jarring my bones inside my skin, I thought everything was okay, until I realized that the ride felt mushy and slightly out of control.
Flat tire. Not to be deterred, I smugly pulled my PocketRocket bike pump out of my pocket and started pumping up the tire.
...Which didn't hold any air. While the tire itself was still in good shape, the tube had apparently gotten pinched and was completely useless.
While that initial ride could be considered a failure - no cleats experience, flat tire and only a quarter of the goal distance accomplished, I learned some valuable things: Be more aware of bad pavement spots and carry a spare tube.
I'd somehow figure out the pedal thing later.

Fast forward one week. I still hadn't gotten the pedal thing figured out (but that was because I hadn't tried again yet). I started out on the same trail and this time made it the whole way with no mishaps. I did 40 miles in three hours. I'm pleased with that distance if only because I got some good time in the saddle. It was a fairly flat road, and I know that I need to concentrate as much on hills for this ride as I did for the half-marathon.
Tonight I  took a backwards approach to the pedal issue. The bike shop guy recommended a specific lubricant for the cleats, so I put some of that on the shoes, then put the shoe on the pedal. So what if the pedal wasn't on the bike yet? Getting the shoe properly clipped in was no small victory.
I then took the whole kit and caboodle and put it on the bike, then put my foot back in the shoe and practiced clipping in and out with that foot. I then put the other pedal on and practiced with that foot (doing that one in the proper order - foot in shoe, shoe in pedal), and now feel fairly confident with the motion and movement.
This Saturday I have another ride planned - a 43 mile loop from Sylmar to Santa Clarita via Little Tujunga Canyon. Yes, lots and lots of hills on that. One more thing on my to-do list - extra tubes.

Only 10 weeks to go until the ride. Hopefully that will be enough time for me to get ready to the point where I feel - I dunno. More than not-ready. It's like the training I did for the race. I never felt ready, but I at least I knew I had done everything I could. I need to feel like that by June 15.

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