Cycling Adventures

If you missed my post a week or two back… I got a new bike.  A cool red and black Cannondale that weighs almost nothing. My first venture into professional bikes.

I feel like one of the big kids out on the road

In the few weeks since I got it, the two of us have been on some adventures together. In the first week it was really about getting to know one another… somewhat like a new relationship.

I kept my rides shorter… 7-9 miles… as I got used to shifting (ugh this is still something I’m learning) and letting my body get used to the new positioning on this bike ( you seem to use muscles in a different way, and something TOTALLY  new for me, being clipped in to my pedals.

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Ready, set, clip.

 

I now understand, and know why cyclists walk they way they walk haha… those shoes with the clips…

There is, I believe, a skillful art to getting on your bike, clipping a foot, beginning to pedal, and clipping in the other.

I wanna ace that move seamlessly… I’m so… close.

So… I do know this.. when you fall over… you come unclipped haha

It really was silly on my part… I was getting on my bike in our side yard which is horribly uneven…my new bike is also taller than my cheapy old one so I have to stretch a bit more… I had one side clipped.. somehow over corrected.. and BOOM… I was down… and unclipped.

Yes I was fine and so was my bike… but I was annoyed with myself. You have to understand I have a high expectation level for myself. I want to nail things pretty close in the first couple attempts, especially when I’m doing something new.

Let’s just say now I’m hitting the road, and clipping while I’m pedaling.. I’m getting there 😛

The second week in I was itching to just do some long miles and see how it all felt. I made my first 23 mile ride on it, which was kind of amazing.

Those miles are always involve hills and lots on constant inclines… not a bad thing.. but definitely work for the body.

 

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Yes, those are hills behind me. Yes, I ran off without my gloves, watch and water on this ride. At least my head was covered.

 

 

I’m still learning the fine art of shifting and hills and getting the right gear for when I hit it .. you know .. just the right amount to pedal.. but not be so hard it shuts  me down.

I feel like Dory from Finding Nemo…

Just keep swimming,
Just keep swimming,
Just keep swimming swimming swimming,
What do we do we swim swim swim

Only for me… just put pedaling in there haha

I did my second long ride this past week. I guess it’s a good thing to be finished and still wanting to do more?

Ok as mentioned, the bike is super light, and I’m really learning to move my legs faster to get that speed going.

That speed, is a head rush, a cheap adrenaline thrill.

And then, when you’re flying off big hills, yeah I pretty much lay low and enjoy the blurry ride down.

Admit it. If you’re a cyclist you do too. It’s the reward for torturing yourself going up hills  😉

I’ve learned to skillfully pull my water bottle out of the cage, drink, drop it in all the while pedaling and not crashing.

I call that a win.

I think as I start getting out farther and need to eat, it will be way easier than doing it while running.

Of course being on a bike also means having eyes all over my head to dodge cars and wild life.

Today a deer and I had a close encounter when I went flying onto a side road. I had moments to ponder… ” are you gonna move deer?”

That keeps things interesting.

Clothing. Other than wanting to get set up with the right shoes for the job, I’ve kinda been winging it in my running attire. And since it’s like… crazy warm and summer time… it’s a sports bra and boy shorts for the adventures.

I can’t help it. I just love feeling the sun and wind on my skin…. and the sweat. Let’s not forget all the sweat haha

I did actually purchase my first pair of cycling shorts, I’m thinking if I’m gonna be on that bike for a lot longer mileage, they will come in handy 😛

So for now, in the upcoming weeks, my goal is to keep moving my miles up, pushing myself on speed, heading into more hills to get super skillful on shifting with them, and looking for my first race to actually ride in.

Oh… other goals? To be so good I can be flying down the road, snap a super cool road selfie, and not crash in the process.  I’m kinda jealous of some amazing road picks I’ve seen…skill level… high.

Cycling has been a good fix for me to get miles in while I’m curbed with running. I’m excited to see where I can go with it, how I can improve and ways I can challenge myself.

Tell me… have you began any new adventures in your life?

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Ready to crush some miles.

As Easy As Riding A Bike

So I took my bike out for a few miles yesterday.. first sunny day in quite a while… I soaked it up.  I also went out for some miles this morning.

Big deal you are probably thinking, slurping your morning drink, you’re always on your bike or doing something crazy.

What’s new?

True. The difference is I just bought my first, real, professional road bike. Or as one of my friends put it, “oh, you’re getting one that’s the price of a new Kia!”

Haha…. well not that much I assured him…. maybe just a good used Kia 😉

I’m excited to be getting more serious about this sport. I know I’ve written about some of my cycling adventures, but this far consider myself to have been dabbling in it. ( although some of you would laugh at my 20ish mile rides as “dabbling”)

I’ve had an inexpensive road bike I’ve ridden the wheels off of, I’ve literally used all my running gear to ride in, and other than having a helmet and something on my bike to track distance, those have been my nods at anything “cycle” related.

I just got on my bike… and started riding.

Fast forward… through a series of events… I was a local bike shop… fell in love with a sporty, fast, red and black Cannondale and knew I was going to get it and take my athletic skills with a bike to a whole new level.

And I picked my baby up on Friday.

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How beautiful 🙂

 

But not before they put me on the bike and tweaked, adjusted and made me ride it to make sure everything was in alignment for me.

I’ve never, ever had a bike that fit my 6’0 body like this one. Nor, have I ever been able to fully extend my legs on one. I can actually lean in and over the handlebars flying down the road and not feel like I’m gonna go over the front. There’s a lot more bike under me now. Of course, it’s a whole new adventure  because my body… is now positioned very differently… so I’m learning to adjust to how that feels from how I’ve been riding.

And light. Can I mention it barely weighs anything? I’m learning to make adjustments in certain ways for that.

Oh yeah. And all the shifting…let’s not forget that part. I’ve determined it’s a skill to really get it perfect.

I got some schooling on clipping my shoes into the pedals ( if you can call those tiny little things pedals haha) and I have to admit to feeling a little weirded out like… “I’m locked onto a pedal… how the heck do I get my feet disengaged? What if I crash??  And  how do I start and stop and all that stuff??” I didn’t know, and you probably don’t either, but clipping in gives you a lot more power on the bike. I’m all about utilizing my power as much as possible, so as long as I was going all out, got the pedals to clip into over the cages that came with it.

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Pedals. We’ll use that term loosely 😉

 

Eek! So much to learn.

That old adage, as easy as riding a bike ? I think that is really only applicable when you’re 8, riding a bike with a banana seat, your feet are what stops you and the only gears are how fast your legs pedal.

That’s easy.

And cycling is more complex than buying a good pair of running shoes and hitting the road haha

New challenge now accepted.

If there’s one thing I preach to people when they start looking at some type of exercise activity is to 1) make it something you want to do and will look forward to doing 2) be an excellent student of it.

That’s how I’m approaching moving deeper into the world of cycling. I’m learning from people who know, I shamelessly pick their brains,  and I intend to apply the knowledge and be the best I can at it.

I have goals.

A duathlon is definitely in my sights and now I have a team at the cycle shop who can help me become the best cyclist I can. ( A duathlon, if you don’t know, is a run, cycle, run event)

For now… I’m doing some short rides (7-10 miles) just playing with the bike, getting to know it, getting used to having my body stretched out on it, learning how it handles, LOVING how fast it moves even without pushing hard right now before I head into longer rides.

The speed is a complete head rush 😛

I can’t hardly wait to get out on some long rides… to get so comfy with the bike I can push the speed… and to really log the miles.

For now… just a few baby steps before I head that direction….soon…very soon…

That’s my new adventure for the week boys and girls 🙂

tell me.. are you starting any new athletic adventure?  or expanding on one you’ve been pursuing ?

 

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Wrapping a morning ride 🙂

Those Voices In My Head

I was only a few miles into my ride yesterday morning when they started.

The voices.

Not the “I’m crazy and hear voices” kinda voices… although…. I am crazy… but in that good kinda crazy way…anyway… I digress….

I left knowing the weather was less than impressive. Foggy, wet, drizzling, soupy… overall kinda just yucky.

The kind of weather sane people stay inside  and OUT of.

bike weather

My thought was… “oh, it’s gonna be clearing out soon” but that thought was leaving me as I watched water dripping off my helmet and I had to repeatedly pull of my glasses to clean them ( yes, even on dark and wet mornings glasses are essential on a bike)

rainy cycling

The voices started talking…. suggesting things like…

“So this weather isn’t so nice, you can just do a short ride and head home”

“Do you really feel like riding so far out ? All those hills you know? in this weather ?”

“Do you really have the time to ride so far this morning?”

“Knocking a few miles off won’t really matter… really… it won’t”

The annoying chatter continued.

I started considering some of the things rolling through my head. I guess it wouldn’t matter if I cut my ride short… would it ?  And yeah, the weather wasn’t so impressive…

I began to mentally push those thoughts away, slowly and deliberately.

You see, I have had some experience with those “voices” as my athletic adventures have unfolded these past couple years.

Those voices offer excuses. They offer an easier way out. They try and convince you that you don’t have what it takes. They tell you that you aren’t strong enough, fast enough, young enough… whatever….They try and keep you happily in your comfort zone.

Our comfort zone is where we stagnate and die.

I first heavily encountered “the voices” during my first marathon in 2013. It was the end of November and a ridiculously hot 89 degree day. Running was brutal under the solid blue sky and unending sun. By mile 21 I was praying for deliverance. … but I am to stupid, crazy, stubborn to ever give in.

The voices started reminding me that the cool down buses were “right there” where I was running. I could go in and cool off for a little and then continue the race. It would be so easy.. just stop for a few minutes. After all, I had been working so hard. 21 miles was a long way, and even longer when the heat was so unbearable.

I passed one, and kept moving. The next one, the pull was stronger. The call louder. I did feel weak… weak against the temptation of what was offered and physically… I was getting depleted on almost every level and it seemed so  easy to give in to it.

But I knew better. I knew physically if I just stopped what my muscles would do. I knew how hard it would be to start again and go back out into the heat and finish those last 5.2 miles. I knew how I’d be so displeased with myself when my time suffered ( I’m so competitive with myself)

I stomped the voices down. I refocused on my goals. I dug deeper in myself beyond what I thought I had in me to finish that race. And I did… it was the sweetest feeling ever crossing that finish line physically, emotionally, and mentally spent. It was one of the most victorious moments of my life.

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Exhausted, yet feeling over the top victorious, after a brutally hot first marathon.

 

 

 

 

You know what I gained that day? Strength. Strength in knowing that I could overcome and prevail and I had more in me than I understood at that point. I learned that there would be times those voices would rise up to convince me I couldn’t do something or didn’t have it in me and that I had to fight right back against them.

Oh, there have been many other times since then. But now I know what they’re about…those voices are from the weakest part of me… to a great degree I’ve learned to tame them, stomp them down, and press on.

So back to the bike ride…. yeah… you know now what happened. I reminded myself that if I quit, how disappointed I’d be that I had given up.  I thought of how I was not only getting physically stronger, but mentally too. That if I was to get to my goals of doing a bike race it would take hard training and training in not so ideal weather. I reminded myself that I would run in weather like I had that morning, cycling wasn’t so different ( ok yeah maybe I shouldn’t take those curves and stuff as fast 😉

The more I pedaled, water dripping off me in the foggy morning, the more determined I got and the quieter the voices became.

I finished up my full ride of about 20 miles… and it felt pretty darn good on more levels than one…. and by the time I was done… I had dried out 😉

A reminder, perhaps to you. When you feel like giving up and quitting, don’t. Your biggest competitor is within you…. that is who you work against every single time.

When the voices rise up against you ( and I know… some of you will totally get this) push back, work hard, and don’t give in to them.

There’s a new, stronger you, waiting to emerge.