Monday, August 29, 2011

Bugs, the downside of a bike ride

Estela was in the shop today getting shifter cables adjusted. I haven't ridden much lately because it's nearly impossible to get onto the big ring, and I'm not strong enough to stay on that ring once there.This winter for sure I want to take a course on how to maintain all the shifter stuff properly. Adding in how to take everything apart to ship a bike someplace might be handy to know. Not that I'll ever need to ship a bike to Kona, but a buddy mentioned Boulder 70.3 next year, and I'm thinking about it.

The shop is downtown only a few blocks from work. From there I rode home, taking the scenic route through Sandy Beach, and the west side of the reservoir. Somehow, the Sandy Beach hill doesn't seem so steep anymore, though it was tough getting past some of the distractions there.

Once I started down the hill from North Glenmore park I ran into bugs. Clouds and clouds of bugs. I put my head down and breathed through my nose. It was like that all the way to the right turn for the 37 St path, and there were some clouds even after that. My arms and legs were black with dead bugs. Icky. At least I didn't swallow any.

It used to take an hour and a few minutes to ride home by the most direct route. This route is about 5 or 6 K longer than the direct route, and I did it in just over 52 minutes, without trying particularly hard. I was thinking it would be an hour. I didn't think about cadence or anything, just rode. And looked at the scenery when I could.

The trick with this route is that on Elbow if you work a bit you can keep up with traffic, and the shoulder is crappy enough that there is incentive to keep your place in the lane. Then once you're on the bike path, technically, there is a 20 Kph speed limit. I work with a guy that got a speeding ticket once, and boy was he choked about it. Even for me in my current weak and feeble state it's trivial to break the speed limit on the paths, even going up many of the hills. But I can see the point of it, most of the paths have to be shared with walkers. (yes, my rant soapbox is just sitting there ready for action, but I will abstain.)

I know a few people that commute to work on bikes. Talisman has a locker room with showers that I have access to. There is indoor locked bike parking, though it's expensive. ($150 per year). The path that I'd take most of the way to work is cleared in the winter, and it's no surprise to find the paths in better shape than the roads. It isn't all that far, say 15 K by a reasonably direct route. I don't even mind the temperature, particularly, since one can dress properly. It's the cars. More properly, the drivers. I barely trust the drivers in the summer, and during the winter, when it's dark, and the windows are frosted up, and the roads have ice and all sorts of crap on them, my imagination can supply the all too likely consequences.

This is my first ride in a little while. There were a few twinges in my left calf going up one of the hills. Not sure what that's about. Maybe the complete lack of a warm up, and going almost immediately to chasing cars. By the end the ride it felt pretty good. Yes, I wore my Road ID.

Watching IMC yesterday brought it all back. How I felt during the training, before and during the race. And crossing the finish line. I'll never forget that.  Julie told me that I had to be prepared to lose almost all my conditioning to recover properly, and now I believe that. In some ways this summer has been like starting over. Of course, I had the knee issue that didn't help, but there are lots of other minor issues. Old bodies get creaky pretty quick. I miss all my massage therapists.

People keep asking me if I'll do it again. I don't think so. It isn't the race; I think I'd like to do the race again, or at least another Iron distance, if not another Ironman™ race. It's the training. The training nearly did me in. I like swimming, biking, and running, even doing lots of those things. What I don't like is doing them because I have to train. Doing them because I have to get the distance in. Doing them when you're worried about the weather rolling in. Doing when it isn't fun. I'm all about doing things now because they're fun. I think I can still be having fun, and training for the half iron distance. We'll see. I have my eye on Chinook. Stalking it.


  1. Yeah! Boulder 70.3!! A mere 2.5 miles from my current residence! It. was. awesome. I'll be there to spectate you racing in 2012...

    Talk about bugs. I took one right to the back of throat on my run this afternoon. Hacked and gagged that sucker right out!

  2. Blah! The bugs were out on my ride Sunday morning. It doesn't sound like they were as bad where I was riding (horsecreek and grand valley), but I am a mouth breather. I think I actually did eat a couple...


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