with my bike of course! Over the past couple of weeks I've had some pretty great and not so great bike rides. I'm trying hard not to do too much comparing of last year and this year IM training but it's pretty much inevitable that it will happen. Especially when it comes to the bike. I guess in order to move forward it is important to, every now and then, look back.
My days of triathlon started the day my good friend Beave said "let's do a triathlon". Without much hesitation, I agreed. I didn't know what I was getting myself into. I went into a local bike shop which shall remain unnamed and bought the first bike the bike shop dude brought out. HUGE MISTAKE!! It was a pretty Cannondale Synapse Road bike. Carbon fork, aluminum frame, shimano components blah blah blah. I didn't know what any of that was but needless to say, it was not the bike for me.
I continued on said bike for 3 summers. At the end of each summer, the bike was unceremoniously tossed into my office and collected dust until Karen told me I HAD to get on it. You could say I neglected the Cannondale but it made me suffer. And not suffer in they way I've come to kinda enjoy on the bike. I was so uncomfortable. Bike guru, Les, gave me a fit that I'm pretty sure was the only thing that kept me from picking up the bike and throwing it in a ditch.
I admit, last year I dreaded getting on the bike and sometimes even cried. I found myself asking myself why I was even doing triathlons if I hated the longest part of most distances. Nonetheless, I stuck with it. I remember one particularly rough day at West Creek Karen said to me, "well you aren't fast but at least you're tough". This be the truth. Come to find out that the unnamed bike shop sold me a bike that was TWO SIZES TO SMALL. No wonder I look like a giant in all my race pictures:)
I do not blame this bike shop, (much) but it just makes me that much more grateful for the bike I have now. I'm happy to report that the Cannondale has been sold to an unlucky UVA student. Ha, good luck with that! mwahaha
Getting off the bike at IMCDA was the best feeling ever and the cutest old bike catcher man took the Cannondale away from me, after I gave him a huge hug. Poor guy. I was tempted to leave it in transition but just couldn't do it because I had already paid a shit ton to TriBikeTransport to have it sent back to RVA.
Anyways, back to this year. Last Thursday, training peaks said to do a "hilly ride". This means Miller Lane out in Goochland. I started with the fast people and actually took the pull for a good stretch. Last year, I would not have attempted this because they intimidated the mess outta me. They dropped me going down hill which is no surprise but the important thing is that I tried.
Last Saturday, training peaks said "flat, fast 2 hours" . Again, I went out with people who are much faster than I am and learned a tough lesson. Last year, because I never pushed myself on the bike, I never really had to pay much attention to nutrition. Now that I'm actually trying to push myself, I have to drink and eat. Well I didn't and paid the price. I kept up as much as I could but it wasn't pretty.
Today, I headed out to Lake Anna with a group to do an OWS and then bike. I did about 2 miles sans wetsuit then hopped on the bike for a 60 mile round trip ride. The first 30 miles, I hung with the fast peeps for a while but then they flew off. I trudged along and felt pretty good. We re-grouped after the first 30 and headed back to Lake Anna. I was able to stay with them the entire time. Yes, they were soft pedaling more than they usually do but I didn't drop off even though I wanted to at times! I have to stop being such a sissy on the downhills and I must get more comfortable eating and drinking on the bike.
But when I look back on how bad last year was, I feel excited about the potential this year! I think I can take some time off my bike split now that I'm happy and comfortable on it. I'm so lucky to have such positive and skilled people around me! Here are some of 'em!