Sunday, August 09, 2009

The long bike

It's still all about the bike. Our dear friend Bolder said it a long time ago, and it holds true today. Folks, you HAVE to be able to bike, my triathlon brothers and sisters. If you can't hardly swim, you can breast stroke, back stroke and side stroke your way through just about any distance swim. If you can't run, you can walk. But you have to be able to bike, no if's and's or butt's.

Regardless, I'm training guilt-free for the Bike Across Florida, and if I get some running and swimming in, well, that's a bonus. I have been getting some swims in. Do you realize how much fun it is going to the pool for a 20 - 30 min swim??? 1000 meters (yawn) and you're done. Read, "sprint triathlon, baby". 'Cause really, what's worse than staring down the lane looking at a 3k or a 4k swim session? Root canal?

Today was the long bike day. Funny how plans get thrown out the window - even training plans I make myself! Today was supposed to be an easy 50 to 60 mile bike ride. 78 miles later, there was nothing easy about the day. Oh sure, you can scroll back to the days of yore, when the M-Dot Bigun would laugh at a 78 miles. Today, I missed those days.

You know what's cool though? I'm training with 4 other guys now for this long bike, and we do these rides together, full on draft. That's right, I said it - FULL ON DRAFT is in effect. You'd think it would be easier, but two flats and a dozen or two pulls at the front at a pace I assure you would not be my long-ride pace, and the group ride thingy takes on a whole new meaning. Marc-y Like-y.

Now if I could just get one of the guys, Markel, to quit taking the gosh-darn pictures! Kriminy! I know I'm fat now. I know, I know! Then he posts my fat pictures on facebook. I hate him. 280 lbs does not look good on me, no matter what angle he shoots from. It looks even worse in spandex. Don't even ask...

Monday, August 03, 2009

A good week...

I had forgotten what it's like to be so tired, physically, that you can't keep your eyes open. Shuttling around like a zombie, ravenous but still too queasy to really eat. Conscious of the diet, drinking water but wanting a coke, or a beer.

Feels good.

I went out with my Lazydays bike team for a 53 miler in the hills of San Antonio. This was not my first time venturing into these parts... I'd ridden once out here for the Hilly Hundred two years ago (it was mercifully the 100k ride) and then I came out with some billy goats to ride one Sunday about a year ago, hammered up one of these hills (I was in Iron Shape then) and blew a spoke on the 2nd or 3rd really steep hill. Had to limp about 20 miles back with a wobbly rear tire. That was a scary ride.

So five of us set out for a Sunday morning jaunt, wheels up at 7am. The meet-up is 40 miles from my home (the things you do to find hills in Florida), so I almost drove farther than the ride was long. It looks pretty certain that the five person "team" for the Bike Across Florida will be myself, Lee, Markle, John and Mark.

We launched out without a hitch, but shortly into the ride, I downshifted into my small chainring for the first little climb and "snap"; the front derailleur cable breaks. Fortunately, the front derailleur's spring pulls the chain to the smaller ring without the cable tension, or else I'm telling you, I would have been walking up a few of those steep hills!

John flatted. Lee flatted. Lee ejected his water bottles twice out of his X-Lab. We stopped for water at mile 36. They stopped - and waited for me. I had just enough time to run in the store, buy up some Gatorade, fill my bottles and hop back on for the last 17 miles. Seemed like a lot of rigor morale for an hour of riding, but at that point, I was really sucking down the fluids. It was after 9am, and it was hot in the Florida sun (and it was longer than an hour...).

We climbed about 3,700 feet in 52 miles. Took us about 3:25 - yea, I was the anchor. I weighed in at 280 when I got home. Dropping at least 20 by the Bike Across Florida is a must. Two weeks into this train-up, I'm confident things will improve. As hard as that ride was, it was an awe full lot of fun. Hearing my back spokes ping and groan with each climb was cool. I was kinda scared to stand up in the pedals; that little bit extra force with the added weight might have been too much for those skinny strands of aluminum to bear!