One year ago, Monday, I bought a cheap, beat up and rusted Huffy mountain bike with eyes on a triathlon. One year ago today I went on my first real training ride – 4 miles in 17:34 – and absolutely busted my ass to do that. That’s an average pace of 13.8 mph. I was also averaging about 13 miles a week back then – all running – and couldn’t manage better than an 8-8:40 mile pace.
In the last year I’ve bought a Trek mountain bike (I completed my tri’s on that), a Cannondale SR400 road bike and a Trek 5200 road bike for myself, a K2 mountain bike for my wife, 2 mountain bikes for my eldest daughter and my youngest has three bikes of various sizes (some of which we’ve had for a few years).
I’ve put more than 3,300 miles on my bikes in that year, completed a couple of Olympic length tri’s and had a hell of a great time in the process. I average around 120 miles a week between running and riding, my riding pace is around 20-21 mph and my running pace is 7:10 – 7:39 – 8:00 min/mile depending on the distance.
I’ve lost my last 15 lbs, dropped my resting heart rate from 70 to 55, lowered my blood pressure and have changed from a ho-hum existence to one that I truly enjoy.
One year ago today I made my life fun.
Happy Anniversary To Me.
UPDATE: I celebrated my cycling anniversary as a cycling anniversary should be celebrated…by kicking out of work a little early and hitting the road. 25 miles @ 19.8 mph – just a shade over 1h:15m. What a great day for a ride. Celebration dinner: Pizza – big time!
There are many pieces of evidence one can use as justification to consider oneself an endurance cyclist I’d hardly want to list them all but here’s a few:
You’re riding in wind that sucks the life out of you – and it makes you laugh. You figure a 25mph crosswind is a fine time to do some intervals with the extra resistance.
You push hard enough that you puke – and that makes you laugh.
Just before ralphing you realize that you’re more than halfway home and you’re so bummed that you consider adding another ten or fifteen miles just so you can prolong the enjoyment of the ride – even though you absolutely do not have the time to fit that in.
You hadn’t bothered checking your average speed because you figured riding into the crosswind and wind slowed you down too much, so even after doing some intervals, but because you were stopped at every stop sign and stop light, you figure you’ll just call it a nice “easy” ride. Three miles to home and you check just for giggles to make sure you’re above 17 mph so you can push with the wind at your back to get your speed up to a respectable 17.5 in tough conditions – your computer shows 19 mph so you kick it anyway to try to get the average up to 19.5.
You finish with your 25 mile ride, the longest distance you could realistically complete in the time available and still meet family obligations, and you long for your Century.
These all happened to me yesterday and I can’t even begin to articulate how much fun I had. The weather had been cloudy and chilly all morning but the clearing (and wind) began around 1:00 in the afternoon…by the time I was riding it was mostly sunny and 73. On the agenda for today is another 25 and the forecast is for completely sunny and 80 with winds below 10 mph. Perfect!
What are your favorite “You know you’re an endurance athlete when” moments?
I’ve run into a couple of interesting, but obscure maintenance tips that I had to take care of on my 5200 over the last couple of days. First of all, my brake pads were looking like they were starting to wear a little low so, having an older Trek, I took one of the pads in to make sure I got the right replacements. On inspecting them, Matt at Assenmacher’s suggested that I still had a couple of seasons left on them (the good news) but that the pad I brought in had a couple of tiny pieces of aluminum – presumably from the rim or road grime – stuck in he pad. Those had to be dug out – I used a safety-pin to keep the holes as small as possible. Being new to the whole high-end bike maintenance deal, I had no clue. Lesson learned though, all four were cleaned before I turned in for the night… Of course cleaning the brake pads from time to time when you’re dealing with a wheel set that can set you back more than $1,000 only makes sense – now.
The second neat little item I ran into has to do with tires. Just bopping around the internet, I found a couple of forum discussions that recommended “wiping” the tires after riding through sand, tiny pieces of gravel or, gulp, glass so said schmutz doesn’t imbed into the rubber to cause a flat later. The recommendation, of course, was to do so with a gloved hand. On the front tire, just ahead of the brakes. On the rear tire, at the seat tube. The idea behind fishing your gloved hand between the seat tube and the tire for the rear wheel is that if you reach behind the rear brake and your hand grabs on the tire your hand could get sucked into the brake and get stuck. This is not easy to do but I have managed to wipe away a few particles that could have gotten stuck. However, truth be told, it’s just a little too dangerous for me to incorporate into my normal riding. My worry is becoming too complacent and accidentally missing the tire and shoving my hand into the spokes. No thanks, too big a risk. That said, I have started to inspect my tires after every ride to make sure I haven’t picked anything up on my ride. I actually found a small piece of a staple that had managed to stick into the rubber the other day – had I missed this, over time it could have eventually worked into the tube and caused a flat.