Sunday, August 17, 2014

Weekend Day 2 - RailRunner Bike Tour

If you haven't read my post about Weekend Day 1, consider reading about Saturday's training adventure there first.

All caught up now?  Good.

Bikes on top of the car ready to go before sunrise
Today's adventure required us to get up at stupid-o-clock in the morning because the RailRunner ride was scheduled to begin at 6:30am and it's about a 45 minute drive from our house to the start point.

I'm really not sure why they thought it was important to start THAT early in the morning for a 40 mile ride, but it is what it is.  Part of the reason we opted to participate in the event was to give us a solid day2 ride in prep for the MS ride in early September

A variety of types of riders participated
This event has a photographer and I'm hoping there is at least one good photo of Husband & I.  I really liked one of the photos last year and apparently the event folks did too because they used it on their event page!  Anyway, I didn't take many photos today, just focussed on riding.  I am including this one that shows some of the diverse types of riders that participated (tandem and hand bikes shown) The majority were road bikes, of course, but we also saw a few mountain bikes and recumbents.

Unlike the course we rode Saturday, this course is mostly flat, with one section starting around mile 23 or so that had some slow gradual climbing.  We started off surprisingly strong, averaging 17.5 mph until the first aid station.  Slowed down a bit after that. And I was pretty slow on that climb part. Overall average ride speed (when moving) ended up being 15 mph for the ride, 2 hours and 31 minutes.  We ended up stopping three times, two aid stations plus one stop that we added.  No flats today.  Yay!  Also, it's worth mentioning that the course was very well marked and had alert and helpful volunteers.  Thank you!!

I should have mentioned that I had one of the worst nights sleep in a long time last night.  I was pretty tired when it was time to go and I was very low on energy once we got back home. Took a nap, but I'm still dragging.  Hopefully I'll sleep better than that in between day 1 and day 2 of the MS ride otherwise that 2nd day is going to be very difficult.  I decided to order a white noise machine to help with my sleeping issues.  I hope it works.  It's small enough to take with me when I travel too.  More on that later.  Should arrive Wednesday.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Weekend Day 1 - Aqua-Bike training day

out of breath after loop 2
Given that the Aqua-bike is a week from today, I figured maybe it would be good to ride the course.  And since we're doing the MS ride in a few weeks, we decided to ride the course twice.

I wanted to give my wardrobe choice a trial run as well.  I decided to go with tri shorts and a bathing suit top with a shirt over it.

The tri shorts were okay although I obviously prefer bike shorts. The bathing suit top however is a no-go.  I found it to be very uncomfortable.  I think I'l wear a run-bra thing with a shirt over it instead.

My race times on this course have varied from 42-46 minutes.  I did it in about 43 minutes the first time today and 48 the second.  It's a short, but moderately hilly route.  I feel confident now going into the bike part of the aqua-bike next weekend and I learned that I need alternate wardrobe choice.  From that perspective, it was a good training experience!

True be told, I haven't been swimming laps since sometime in 2013.  I should probably at least check my goggles to make sure they don't leak.  Yeah, you may have noticed that I'm not really all that serious about training for this event.  It's really just for fun anyway and news flash, I'm not going to win anyway. :-D

Tomorrow we have an early wake-up for the 40 mile ride event that we entered.  It has a 6:30 start time and the starting line is about a 45 min drive from our house.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Three (mostly) successful rides

partly cloudy skies!
Thursday - Solo ride of a local 16.5 mile route with some hills.  The weather was quite nice, partly cloudy which is a treat for us in central New Mexico. I was feeling good and had four tubes, a bike pump, and two C02 cartridges just in case I had flat tire issues so that I wouldn't have to call for a ride home.  Ride started out well, but noticed front tire getting soft on the back part of the ride.

Rather than deal with it on the road, I rode on it carefully.  Tire pressure was down to 60psi at home; it was a slow leak not an all out flat. I put in a new tube *and* a new tire on the front. My bike is now sporting a matched set of Vredstein Fortezza tricomp tires. Was another frustrating ride experience, but it is what it is.

new front tire
Saturday - The plan was to complete a ~44 mile route with husband that includes much of the upcoming bike tour route.  I checked to see how my new front tire/tube was holding up before we left the house and it was in good shape.

I'm happy to say that we completed the full route as planned this time. Hit some debris under a bridge at ~mile 32 and had to change the front tube, otherwise an uneventful ride. I felt pretty good when we got home and was encouraged about our planned day 2 ride.  We really need that second day of training since the MS ride is two hilly days in a row, but we don't usually ride consecutive days in training.

ready for day 2
Sunday - Chose a local 18.5 mile route with hills to ride with husband with hills. Neither one of us was all that happy about being on our bikes for a second day in a row (saddle soreness), but once we got going it wasn't too bad. However, it quickly became clear that hills are going to be a challenge for me. Was struggling on the hills and was exhausted afterwards when we got home.

I'll admit, the struggle I had with the second day of riding was discouraging. However, I'm not ready to give up.  I'm just really glad that we're doing the back-to-back riding in training so that I'm in better shape the day of the event.  Besides, "Life's not about limiting your challenges, but challenging your limits."  Right? RIGHT?!?

So here's the plan for the upcoming week:

  • Thursday - Solo ~16-20 miles with hills
  • Saturday - Ride the 15 mile live.love.tri course (aquabike is the following week) with husband - possibly starting from home to add some distance?
  • Sunday - RailRunner 40mile bike tour with husband

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Domino effect


sidewall puncture
Friday morning, I was meeting a friend to walk.  I decided to ride my bike to meet her and kill two "training" birds with one stone.  It was about a 20min ride to meet her and I left 30min in advance.  What I didn't anticipate was getting a blowout flat 2 miles into my ride and getting another flat with the first tube I tried when attempting to get rolling again on the side of the road.  I ended up having her pick me and my bike up. In the process of loading my bike in the back of her truck, I bumped the derailleur fairly significantly.  Just great.

We walked.  When I got home, I went through two more tubes and finally realized that my tire had a sidewall puncture.  You can see it between the two red tire levers in the picture posted here.  Too bad it took me three tubes to figure out that the problem was with the tire!  Even worse, they were the last three tubes that I had on hand. Out of supplies (and out of patience), I took my wheel, a new tire, and my bike to a local bike shop for help.

I told them my tale of woe and asked them to put in a thorn resistant tube, install the new tire, and check my derailleur.  I also bought some spare tubes, a new frame pump, and some CO2 cartridges.  With my bike checked out and ready to go, I was ready for Saturday's ride attempt.

two bikes ready to roll
The plan was for husband & I to do 44 miles.  What I didn't expect was that my legs/thighs would be sore from the squatting position I was in while trying to take care of my flat on the side of the road. Hence the domino effect title of this post.  Funny how things just add up some time. I ended up cutting my ride short to 28 miles.  He did the full 44.  At least I got out there!

It's frustrating to have mechanical problems get in the way of ride goals.  I feel like I lost last weekend.  But the good news is that I'm now carrying four spare tubes, two CO2 cartridges, and a new pump.  Plus I have a brand new tire on the rear wheel.  I feel better prepared now for getting rolling sooner if I have problems while riding along again. Of course I'm also considering installing the lyft app so I can call for a ride if needed.

So at this point we have one free weekend, then the 40mi ride, then the aqua bike, another free weekend, then the two day MS ride.  I'm a week behind in my training which was already cutting it close  But, the show must go on. You can only do what you can do.

Ever have unplanned issues like that get in the way of your training goals? 


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Undertrained and overcommitted?


or as they say, "What could possibly go wrong with that plan?!?"
  • 3.5 weeks until the 40mi bike tour.  It's a route that I've ridden before, not too challenging.  Sounds doable. This one actually should be easy-peasy.
  • 4.5 weeks until the aqua-bike, which includes a swim. I haven't actually done any swam lap swimming since last August and may not get in the pool before race day, but it's only a 400m swim.
  • 6.5 weeks until Pedal Los Pueblos where I'll be riding ~76 hilly miles at elevation and the farthest I've gone so far is 38 miles on flat terrain. 
Maybe I should spend less time signing up for stuff and more time training.  Ya' think?!?

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Rollin' rollin' rollin'


ready to roll
The big training need is to get ready for Pedal Los Pueblos.  Husband & I went out on a ~39 mile ride Saturday.  That's about half the distance we'll need to ready for, but also with hills.  Right now I'm just getting comfortable being on my bike that long.  Soon we really need to add in some back-to-back training days because day 2 is probably going to be the more difficult of the two. Anyway, I took some photos to reflect Saturday's ride.  

half-way
I have a carrier for two water bottles in back along with space for a small bottle and a large bottle on the frame.  I didn't think one small and one large was enough because it was HOT.  So I loaded my bottles in back.  Next time, I'll probably include a small bottle in front as well.  There are a few places on the trail where it gets very congested, but most of the trail was fairly open so we could ride our own pace. Probably the scariest part of the ride was when we needed to cut through a parking lot because there is an intersection without a bike lane.  Someone started pulling out of the space without even looking my way.  Had what seemed like a close call.  We also had an incident on a small section of road with a bike lane when a car suddenly cut over into the bike lane in front of Husband.  Another close call.  Sheesh.
stupid flat
It was fairly calm winds on Saturday, which always makes for a more pleasant experience.  Can't say the same for today.  Glad we're not riding today, but it probably would be good practice if we did. Speaking of practice, Husband got to practice changing a a tube while out on the trail. And we were able to find some shade not far from where he got the flat.  That made it much more bearable.  As I mentioned earlier, it was HOT. I got to practice at home before we left and it looks like I get to practice again before I head out on my next ride because my rear is flat.  See how I spin that in a positive way? It's practice. Hahahahah.  Not that either of us need any more practice, we've dealt with enough flat tires over the past several years to be pretty good at taking care of them.

Next week we're adding another 5-6 miles to our route.  After that, we'll probably start doing back-to-back days.  There really isn't a lot of time to get ready for this event, but we're trying to build up in a smart way.

new black tires installed
And to get ready for all the riding up ahead, I put new tires on my bike.  The ones I had on my bike had been there for 3 years.  Boy, oh boy, the rear tread was WORN.  The new tires are black.  It's weird because I've had blue tires since 2006.  Hopefully they are lucky tires!!  Had a little trouble getting the back tire replaced.  Went through three tubes.  I'm sure it was operator error (mine), but eventually got everything installed, so I'm back in business.

Also, I lied when I said that the live.love.tri was next up. Just registered for a 40 mile bike tour the week prior to that. It will be good training for pedal los pueblos. The goal is to do a long ride the day prior as well. Rollin' Rollin' Rollin' keep that bike-a Rollin'...

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Horizon

I've registered for two upcoming events.

The first is Live.Love.Tri at the end of August.  This is an all-women triathlon, the only one in New Mexico. This will be my third or fourth year competing, I've lost track! Instead of doing the full triathlon, I signed up for the Aquabike division which consists of just the bike and swim. If you would have asked me last year, I would have said that I would never compete in that division, but here I am a year later and it seems perfect given the situation with my knee and foot.  Confession:  I haven' been swimming at all.  I'm not even all that worried about it. I figure I can do a 400m swim without much practice and even if it doesn't go well, I guess it just means that once again I won't make the Olympic team.  Hahahah.

The second is Pedal Los Pueblos MS Ride, a two day event in the beginning of September.  I will be riding a total of ~76 miles over the two days in a hilly part of northern New Mexico.  I'm a little scared, but excited. So far I've raised $0 against my goal of $375. Of course, I just signed up on Monday.   If you feel inclined, you can donate here: National MS Society

Also, I've decided that I don't ever want to do a competitive walk again in my life.  Okay, maybe "never" is too strong of a word.  But I will think twice about doing it again.  I was in so much pain and limping for a few days afterwards. No bueno!