too many words by laura lemay


I was too tired to post on saturday or on sunday for that matter. And then I started work yesterday and was too busy to post. I hate it when life gets in the way of blogging.

Cinderella bicycle ride: a success! I rode the entire 65 miles with nary a problem (and it was actually a real 65 miles, despite the kilometer/miles conversion Stan talks about in the comments to my other post. Most metrics round up.)

My uber-geeky polar heart rate monitor/bicycle computer/word processor/blender/missile guidance system wasn’t working for the for 20 miles of the ride or so, and I spent an inordinate amount of time fussing with it, turning it on, turning it off. What I really needed to do was stop and wiggle the magnet and the sensors on the front wheel, but that would have required, well, stopping. I didn’t manage to do that until the first rest break.

Tangent: The last time this happened to me on a training ride I reached forward while I was riding and wiggled the sensors on the front fork and that was fine but Eric had an absolute bejeesus of a fit at me when he learned I had done that and shouted stories of how I could have sucked my hand into my wheel and crashed horribly. I thought this was normal Eric Panic and mostly dismissed it and then I read about a serious bike racer chick who had done just that: leaned down to adjust her bike computer sensor, got her hand stuck in the wheel, endoed and broke her back. Years of recovery.

OK. I’ll stop.

Riding with other people is really kind of strange; I normally get the impression from riding alone on my usual route that I really, really suck. Everyone passes me, especially on hills, and I am a big wobbler from stops. On this ride I learned that hey: I could suck more. I had figured that given a big group of riders I would be in the medium to slow end; in this group of riders I was up there with the fast girls. I passed and passed and passed, especially on hills (shock!) and really especially on descents. I’m sure part of this was because this was just a casual ride and no one was trying really hard, which is fine, but really: I was much better than I thought. I got impatient going so slow sometimes. Especially on descents. When you have a long fast swoopy descent in front of you there’s just no reason to coast it, in my opinion. Must! Hammer! The Downhill!

The ride started in Dublin and went through some really pretty roads in Livermore, Pleasanton, and north up to Blackhawk and back. The route was mostly flat, with a few little hills, and a lot of the roads where quiet with not a lot of traffic. It was a really pretty route. The worst part were some nasty headwinds on the second part. Headwinds are just no fun at all.

By mile 50 and the third stop I was starting to get pretty tired and I figured for the last 15 miles I would take more breaks so that I could be sure to make it and not do anything stupid (I always seem to do really dumb things on the bike when I’m tired like, forget that the light is green, or forget that I’m clipped in at a stop and fall over sideways. Very embarrassing). But then I got to mile 5 and felt pretty good, so I continued on. I got in kind of a fast pace group, kind of unorganized, but we were sprinting from lights and banging up little hills and generally being pretty energetic. Mile 10 passed and I still felt pretty good. I can make the last 5 miles, I thought. And I did.

I felt so terrific at the finish line, I had such a huge sense of accomplishment. I wasn’t bonked or cramped or exhausted like I had been on other long rides. I put my bike on the grass and went to check in, then rode down through the parking lot to where Eric had been wasting six hours waiting for me to get back.

And then a car ran me over in the parking lot.

OK, nearly ran me over. I made eye contact with the woman in the car who wanted to pull out from the right, and she smiled at me. I continued on, and then she pulled out right in front of me anyhow. I swerved to the left and screeched at her and she missed me by about two inches. Hey! Hey! Eye contact! What the hell!

Score one for much improved bike handling skills over the last year and over the course of the ride itself. And an even more important lesson learned: the ride isn’t actually over until the bike is in the car.

Now I need another training goal for the remainder of the year. Up until now I’ve been focussed on metric metric metric and I’ve been training for distance. Now what the hell do I do?