I had a fantastic weekend of cycling – really fantastic.
Saturday I went out with a group in the rain. I had never ridden in the rain before and another guy and I were chatting while we waited for the leader to show up and pretty much had ourselves talked out of it. Then 4 other people showed up and of course there was no way to bow out so off we went.
It was okay! In fact I enjoyed it and one of the elite riders on my team gave me some personal coaching on the way back. This is a woman who in 2006 rode IM CDA in just a hair over 6 hours and then did IM FL in just over 5:30. She’s what in California we refer to as hella fast. She’s also hella nice and remarkably helpful. At one point in the coaching process she told me to just tell her to be quiet if I got sick of getting coached. HA! As if. I loved it and so appreciated the feedback.
We only went 20 miles Saturday but 20 miles in the rain is quite enough, thank you. That photo is of my socks which somehow missed getting into the laundry yesterday. EW! I also got the seat of my new car dirty. We were totally soaked and covered in grit as were our bikes. I was so frozen when I got home I emptied out my 50 gallon hot water heater. The bike got a nice shower, too albeit a cold one with the hose.
It was totally worth it, though!
Today we did 40 miles in nice, warm, dry but overcast weather. Perfect riding weather except for the headwinds in places but it wasn’t ferocious – just a bit annoying. It was the ladies ride, lead by aforementioned super star, fabulous cyclist. She gave another woman and me a lot of coaching. She had me riding up hill in the big chain ring (of a triple), keeping up my cadence (if I could which I must admit I failed to do a couple of times) and holding my speed at something in double digits. That’s a first for me.
Mostly I was able to keep up with everyone until the way back and then I sort of lost it for a moment. I just ran out of juice on this one hill but once I caught up to the pack (waiting patiently for me) I was able to hang on. There was also a moment on the way out where I think I learned first hand what the expression ‘blew up’ means. I never really got it before but there was one hill where I was trying for the 5th or 6th time to keep it in the big chain ring and stand up and power my way to the top and I could barely move the pedals. I dropped the gears way down for fear of falling over and still I could hardly pedal. I thought there was something mechanical wrong with my bike but it turned out to be a mechanical issue with the rider, not the ride. Fortunately I got my mojo back after some downhill.
Saturday – 21 miles @ an average of 15 mph
Sunday – 40 miles @ an average of 14.5 mph
And that’s 2 more firsts. It’s the first time I’ve gone out riding 2 days in a row (I know – not the stuff a triathlete is made of but I’m working on it!) and it’s the first time I’ve averaged over 12 mph on a hilly course over distance.
All of this is really great as I have an unexpected, recently scheduled Olympic (sort of) distance triathlon next weekend. It’s the one I won an entry to at my last sprint. I intend to nail it!
Sunday I am going swimming with the sharks in the SF Bay again on the YMCA’s Treasure Island to Embarcadero swim.