Friday, February 27, 2009

Let the biking begin :-)

Ok - so I'm starting the biking thing now.

My write-up from last Sunday:

We are all about pushing the limits - seeing where they are - traditionally for me this has been to see how fit I can get and how fast I can go at that fitness. Well today was a little different. Today was a test of how hard can I push myself totally unfit - haven't had a good workout routine in 3 months - the aerobic engine is in a bad state right now - a minimal amount of swimming helps a little but still. The "race" was a biking fundraiser with course options of 4, 20, 46.5 and 55 miles (which one do you think I picked). Now I did about 1 week of biking 5 days that week back about new years. I intended to get in some spin classes this week to prep the legs a little but that didn't work out - so I figure - what the heck - I'll do the bike race anyway and see what happens.

Goal - sub 3 hrs for 55 miles - double marathon distance - surely I can go twice as fast riding as running.

After looking long and hard I discovered I was NOT the only one at the race with a Schwinn Bike - I found 2 others among the thousands of Treks and Cannonballs(oops - Cannondales) and Giants ....... And there were even a couple others out there with toe clips and regular shoes too.

Off we go - no gun - no starting line - just kinda a slow wavish kinda star. I'm feeling good and a little impatient among all the 10 mph bikers so I move my way up - after a while I find there is a certain protocall for passing - a "on your left" shout-out to the biker being passes - also I was told in no uncertain terms I should NEVER pass on the right. The miles click off for a while - then 20 miles or so in there is a big headwind. I learn to draft - much simpler than pushing thru the wind myself - when a group of bikers would come by I'd try to jump on the back end of them and get pulled along - conserving energy - after a few miles of this I find the group I was behind at the time is too darn fast for me - I drop off and I'm stranded with no one to draft behind - that is some tough mileage into the wind.

After several miles of this wind we come on a rest stop about 1/2 way thru the race.....bikers actually do rest at rest stops - not like in a marathon - swoop in - grab a cup and go - they stop, get off bikes, chow down cookies and drinks - socialize - I badly needed a rest stop - biker style and I took full advantage - in fact I lied down for a good 10 minutes trying to get my heart rate down. Interesting thing on heartrate - I was kinda expecting ~150ish since I run marathons 160ish and I've always heard biking heartrate is slower - but a sign of how out of shape I am - I was riding nearly the whole first half in the mid to higher 170s. At one time I even went higher than what I thought was my max heartrate. I badly needed that 10 minute break - truth be known - I wanted to quit right there but I had the small problem of being 25 miles from my car.

I move off that nap-time break and start riding again - all mojo was gone and I could barely maintain a crawl - after 5-6 miles of this I see the covetted words I'd longed to see "Starbucks" - I pull out of the race and go in to get an extra large ice water and call and wine to my wife for a while as I drink it down (slowly). She provide playful mocking words to my torments. Time to go - as it turns out in a 1/4 mile there was another rest stop with bikers all milling around - I skipped it and kept going. Somewhat rejuvinated I'm able to ride a steady pace to the next rest stop where I get off do the biker style rest stop - I'm kinda getting used to this. 15 miles to go - I'm just trying to keep moving. A biker told me a secret trick at these rest stops - eat pickles - who am I to argue - I did - I felt so much better after that rest stop.

Off I go - in pain for the last stretch of the ride - it felt no different to me than miles 20-26.2 of the marathon - just plugging along - in pain.

So I finished - didn't get sub3 - but I did get sub4. Finished in 3:25 minutes of riding time and 30 minutes of stopping time - but I finished - felt good to push thru poor time I think I'd like to be a little trained for it..

Time to Gear Up

Ok - time to go SHOPPING!!! Found some biking stores and I'm starting to gear up - got the gel gloves, the shoes/pedals - searched around for a used bike and got an incredible deal on an awesome barely used bike. And now I get to post it ----- bike porn:

A Giant TCR2 road bike (Carbon fiber seat post and forks) with less than 200 miles on it with computer that I picked up for a song (about 1/3rd the price of new).....I'm off to get it all adjusted to me at the bike shop today - looking forward to giving it a spin this weekend....


Steeeve said...

Gently used bikes are definitely the way to go - the markdown is remarkable.

Oh, and, um, by the way, Mr. Ubercompetitive Dude, that was an organized ride you did, not a race. I know you know that, but I thought I'd throw it in anyway :-)

kayry said...

Don't assume I know anything about biking - I was truly expecting a finishline with a clock :-).

1000+ bikers with police stopping roads and aid stations.....pretty sweet for an organized ride....

Neeraj Rohilla said...

Sounds like fun. Can't even imagine making 10 minute stop in the middle of a marathon; bikers are definitely different. Is MS 150 also on the cards? Pickles? Hmm, I wonder why?

I have a good news too. Remember, I finished my first marathon in 3:38 rather than goal time of 3:30? I salvaged my pride in run wild half marathon with a time of 1:34:41. It was a small race so I also placed first in my age group, :-)

Bayou city classic is next with a target of 43 or less.

Craig said...

I'm a 20 year bike racer-turned runner. I've learned a lot about running reading your blog...maybe I can help a bit when it comes to cycling.

You were definitely not 'racing'. In a bike race, there is no stopping. Racers carry their food in their pockets or get it from their team in a designated feed zone or from the team car. In a race, you would cover 55 miles in about 2 hours or 2 hours and 15 minutes, if you were able to stay with the lead group.

My tip to you would be to find the local bike shop group rides and start training with them. Learn how to ride in a pack. Launching yourself into your cycling career with a 55 mile charity ride is like me starting my running career with a half marathon with no real training. You obviously have a good engine, but, like running, it takes a lot of time to recruit cycling muscles.

Keep it up, and stay safe!

kayry said...

Good job Neeraj - way to bring home some hardware :). Good luck in Bayou City!!

kayry said...

Thanks Craig for your biking wisdom....the dots by now have all connected to confirm that most definately was NOT a race :).

I did a 50 mile bike ride today with a local bike group that meets every weekend. I was resisting riding with them up to now for fear I'd look a little too rediculous among them with last weeks gear :). Even with the new bike I found I was guilty of a couple beginner things I got a little teased about - for example I had reflectors on my wheels and front and back (they came with the bike I didn't put them on). Apparently bikers don't use reflectors - extra weight of no value - they come off before the next ride :).

I'm not really trying to build biker fitness - more I'm just trying to learn the sport. For the last couple months I've been focussed on learning to swim - I've made a lot of progress improving my 50m sprint from around 60 seconds to 38 seconds last time in the pool. I've learned a bunch of technique on strokes etc. Feeling pretty good about the swim leg technique although to build the fitness will take much more time. Kinda the same thing I'm doing with biking - learning the technique more so than the fitness.

I've been injured since San Antonio but once better I plan to probably drop the swim/bike for a while and focus on getting my running fitness back again. I do have a Tri scheduled for April (Galviston - Olympic Distance) to get the feel for how it all works - not planning a race effort - especially for the run since I'll just be starting to run again.

Long range goal in Kona 2010 - the plan to get there is to sign up for an ironman this summer for next summer (probably Placer Lake, NY) as I work myself back into running fitness. Hit a marathon or two in the fall/winter (my eyes are on Amsterdam and Houston) then switch to Ironman training having already learned technique from now so focussed on fitness - developing my swim and bike muscles - hit an tri or two for practice. Do the ironman - qualify for Kona then go to Kona in November....There's the plan - I just have to go do it.


Craig said...

Kona is a great goal, I have no doubt you can make it there.

There is so much more to learn about the bike than there is with running. With running, it's all about your training. With the bike, it's training, plus learning about equipment, plus bike handling, plus riding in a pack, plus learning about the chess match, plus learning the nuances of the aero position (flat back, rounded shoulders, arms tight...getting this stuff perfected can end up saving you an amazing ammount of time!), and much much more.

It's a great sport...the more you ride and learn, the more you will love it. Another tip: We are 'cyclists' rather than 'bikers'. Bikers ride Harleys and scare kids :)

Good luck with all of it. Keep us posted.

kayry said...

Can you recommend what's the best book on Cycling?

I might take issue that running is easy :) - but I can see your point to the complexities of biking.

This aero position looks like it could have helped me today - did 40 miles on my own and had wind much of it. With temps in the low 40s I nearly froze my toes off - warmer socks next time :).

Craig said...

Never said running was easy. It's incredibly hard. They are both hard, in different ways.

Two books: Greg LeMond's Complete Book of Cycling. A little outdated ('85), but full of great info that still holds true today...especially his thoughts on training, and of course his thoughts on how to ride and how to race. Also, Serious Cycling by Ed Burke...lots of good info.

Stay warm on that bike...the wind chill is a lot worse than when running, and your blood isn't flowing to the feet like it does when you run. Keep it up!

kayry said...

Books on order....

it seems to me

running is mostly endurance and a little bit of form.

swimming is mostly form - how to streamline thru the water with the least effort - and less endurance.

biking is in the middle - endurance and form seem about 50/50 - I have no idea the right form yet - wondering the best place on the rotation to apply the pressure to the peddle (by habit it is the downword push since I haven't had my foot attached to the peddle before) also how to shape the body to be aero yet still have the leverage to push. Lots to learn - looking forward to it...

Thanks again for your help..

elf said...

So it's come to this, huh? :)

Sounds like you've found a good outlet for all of that pent-up energy that builds when you can't run. I might be taking that plunge as well, though the Ironman isn't on my radar anywhere--I'll be more of a sprint/Olympic distance gal. In the meantime, I'm just trying to stay fit and get rid of this blasted knee injury. Going on two months of no running--of course, they're weather-wise the best two months of the year...

Good luck with the cycling--my dad has been doing it for years, and he absolutely loves it. He starts running again from time to time, but cycling has really won him over.

kayry said...

He elf - sorry I've lost track of you and didn't know you were injured - I've got your blog on my watch list now so it shouldn't happen again :).

So sorry about your injury last couple months. The bench royally sucks for sure. As I've now been on it for almost 4 months (Yes - the very best weather months of the year by far - I was in denial the first 6 weeks) I've come to accept the new temporary reality.

Hot and Treadmill Training will be fine by me (I like biking but still do not enjoy swimming in a pool even a little)....hoping to start swapping some biking hours for running hours after my ski trip next week.

Good Luck with your knee!!!