Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Adventures in Cycling ...

... and a few other random thoughts! (warning: long post ahead ... but it's a good one!)

So I've really been meaning to write this post for a week now, but lazy me just finally got around to uploading pictures and the post really needs to be told with pictures.

Anyway, back to where I left you off last week ... I had done a very slow, but social run with my brother's girlfriend. That evening was mid-60s and overcast - in otherwords, fairly pleasant.

The next day ended up being cold, so I scrapped my plan to ride the 470 trail and instead, hopped on the stationary bike and about died. For whatever reason, it was incredibly, painfully hard AND I had weird issues with the bike so I gave up after about 15 minutes. That evening, I went to swim and forced 1200m despite an overly chlorinated pool that made me feel like my mouth had some sort of sandpapery fuzz growing in it. Seriously, that's the best way I can describe it; it was so nasty.

Wednesday was the day I really wanted to blog about, however. It was my off day from work so I had a nice ride and a long run planned. Then, I woke up, went downstairs, and looked outside.

5.12 Snow
Oh. Fabulous.

However, I noticed that, while there was snow on the ground, the sidewalks and streets were merely wet. Since I had planned on a longer, relatively flat ride on the Platte trail, I figured I could still get that in since it's a nice, paved trail. So, after breakfast, I hopped in the car and drove over to the trail. My normal parking area, which I noticed was nice and empty off the highway ... was nice and empty because the road accessing it was closed (probably because it's a dirt road and it was really wet). Peachy. Luckily, I knew of another parking lot right off the trail at a nature center I volunteered at a little bit in high school, so I hopped on over there, parked, and got ready to go.

5.12 Ride
Outside temp according to the Rav. Brrrrrrr.

5.12 Ride
Socks, cycling shoes, my warmest running tights over my cycling shorts ... workout tank, cycling jersey, cycling jacket thing I have, fleece jacket, rain jacket ... ear mitts and a toque jammed uncomfortably under my helmet ... cycling gloves over those one-size-fits-all "magic" gloves.

I hopped on the trail, not knowing how far I would go. I was right in that the trail wasn't snowy; just a little wet. It wasn't dangerously slick or anything though, which made me happy. I had gone maybe a mile and a half or so before my length decision was made for me.

5.12 Ride

The trail was fantastically under construction ... which it so wasn't last time I rode the Platte. In any case, I turned it around and headed back to the car ... saw my bike's odometer at about 3 miles ... and decided to get back on the trail the OTHER way. I rode down to where I usually park and then back again.

The whole time I never encountered another cyclist. I ran into two runners just finishing up at the beginning and I saw three whole walkers. Wusses. ;)

5.12 Ride

I only ended up going 6.29 miles total and stayed out for a little over 25 minutes (you do the math; it was slow, I know), but I was so proud of myself for getting out there that I felt like a rockstar.

I also learned that tri-specific cycling shoes (got lucky when getting my shoes), while nice, are not suitable for cold rides. Mine are very porous, meant to be worn barefoot after a swim and will probably help your feet dry out. NOT good when it's barely above freezing out.

I also got in a run that day. I had a long run scheduled for that day and I busted that shit out too. I was hoping to go about 7 miles and I thought the route I chose would get me there ... but fail. Almost, though - 6.92 miles. Did it in 1:15.23 which is still under an 11:00/mi (woot!), it was in the high-30s outside and I didn't walk until within the last mile thanks to this huge, bitch-ass hill.

Thursday was spent lifting and doing Wii Fit and Friday unexpectedly turned into an off day, which, in hind sight, was probably a good thing anyway ... particularly because I didn't feel like battling rain and wind for a run.

Saturday was a milestone in training in that I got in my first ever mile in the pool! I did it in two sections, but it counts. I did 1200 along with Brandon to help time him (he forgot his watch) and was going to stop there, but I really wanted to do 1600 so I continued on after and I did it! Woo!

Sunday was one last bike ride with Brandon before he had to go back to St. Louis for training.

5.16 Ride
Peace, love and cycling, man.

Monday turned into another off day, partially due to work. Weekends at work chew me up and spit me out ... especially when I end up running around non-stop on my shift.

Yesterday, despite the freaking wind, I got in a run AND a lift. I do want to mention something about this run ... The run was 4.69 miles. The downhill portion of the run is entirely in the first mile, mile and a half. The rest is either relatively flat or uphill. I took Brandon on this route once and he hated it so much that he vowed never to ever do it again (and he hasn't).

But, I wanted between a 4 and 5 mile run and more toward the 5 end. So ... I decided to do this run. The way I do the loop, the last killer hill ends up being on this dirt trail that follows the power lines in the area.

This hill is .92 miles long and one gains 159 feet in elevation over that mile (5802.8 to 5961.5). OUCH. I was also running INTO the wind at this point. The wind got so bad at one point that I literally could not run anymore and had to walk. However, I made my feet start moving again. A little over halfway up, a pair of runners joined the trail from one of its offshoots. The hill was hurting, but with them behind me, I refused to stop running and kept on plugging upward. Those two ended up being the motivation for getting through the last part of that run.

It hurt, and hurt a lot (my knee's bugging me a tad today), but I did it, when earlier this spring I would have let the winds defeat me.

Today I still have yet to swim (distance undetermined, but over 1000m), but I did get back on the bike due to having a little baby shift at work today. I went back to the Platte trail, but this time, from the other end of it downtown. I also took a few pictures along the way ...

5.19 Ride
Take a guess at what's wrong. Hint: there were several of these signs due to this damn detour and the same mistake was on EVERY SINGLE ONE. I pity our society.

5.19 Ride
Random sidewalk/trail "art."

5.19 Ride
So the REI Denver flagship store has all of these clocks showing the time at all different places around the world. This one shows the time at l'Alpe d'Huez, one of the stages of the Tour de France.

5.19 Ride
The Denver B*Cycle station at REI. These are bike rental stations that are scattered all around the metro. You can rent one for a day or a week or a month or get a yearly membership and it's a fun, healthy way of getting around.

Later this week will be more running, more swimming, more lifting and a long (30 mi) ride with Brandon once he gets his ass back in town.

Speaking of that "long" ride ... I'm sure that number seems short to some of you. I'm sure our long run distances of 7 miles seem short.

However, I was going back through my tri log for the year and noticed the comment from a run on January 4. It was a 3.19 mile run: "1st long run since Turkey Trot" and "tough, long, slow run but felt so happy to get in a long run!"

Look at that. LONG run. That's our short run now. Brandon and I have come a long way, but we know we still have a long way to go. :)

1 comment:

  1. It's so funny to look back, isn't it? I remember back in February talking about how 4 miles always felt huge. Then, last week, I actually said to myself, "meh, I'll only do 4 today, my legs are tired."
    And good for you on being tough and getting out there. :)