Sunday, August 28, 2011

Yup, Pride Cometh Before the Fall

My father, father-in-law, and brother-in-law have all recently begun riding road bicycles.  All have had incidents where they've been clipped into the pedals at a stop light and fallen over.  I had that almost happen once on a mountain bike, but never on my road bike.

I suspected the reason I'd never fallen over was because my bike was on the lower end of my size, where as the others bikes are all at the upper range of their size.  So, maybe I could stand over my bike more easily.  WRONG.

My daughters show rabbits in the county fair and had a rabbit meeting today in Sonoita, which is 40 miles from my house.  I decided to drive there with them and ride my bike back home.  So the ride was to be 40 miles and a drop in elevation of about 1500 feet, though far from a straight shot down hill.  There are a lot of climbs both directions.  I am working on becoming a faster rider and had a very lofty (unattainable I thought) goal of averaging 20 mph for the trip.

The majority of the down hill takes place in the first twelve miles.  I pushed pretty hard, but tried to maintain a pace.  My average speed was 24 mph, but after the 12 miles my mind began to wander a bit.  I was losing focus, dropping my cadence, slowing down and looking around a lot.  Those are all fine and dandy on a really long ride, but not for today.

At mile 13 another cyclist pulled onto the road behind me, a few hundred yards back.  He was gaining on me.  I decided that since I was pushing for a time I was going to do all in my power to NOT be passed.  We had another 3 miles of flat road before some hills began.  I picked up the pace but he closed a bit more.  I figured I'd slam it through the hills.

On the first major climb I slammed up the hill at 17 mph.  In the past I've been around 12 mph.  At the top I looked back and the gap between me and my chaser doubled.  After the climb the road flattens, but doesn't drop.  Instead of slowing down, I pushed harder on the flat.  I hit the next hill, which is about 4 miles long, with full force.  I never saw the other rider again.

A little competition is exactly what I needed.

I got through all of the big climbs and still was over 20 mph average speed!  YES YES YES!!!  SAH-WEET!

I had one more climb and it's a tough one to maintain speed because of the distance.  Also, at this point I was totally rubber legged.  By the time I finished the hill my speed was down to 19.5.  Still way higher than I ever really expected was possible.

There's a four mile straight and flat road before the final two miles home, which climbs about 500 feet.  The four mile straight away merged into an off-ramp from the interstate and ends at a stop light.  I was totally beat and not thinking clearly.  There's a left turn only lane and I belonged on the right hand side of that lane.  For some reason I went to the left hand shoulder of that lane, which meant that I was not on level ground (it's banked heavily to the left) and when I went through the intersection I would have to cross the traffic lane to get on the proper side of the road.

I rolled to a stop and unclipped my right foot, as always.  I stepped off and because of the slope to the left, I fell over!  Of course a lot of people saw me.  I have a minor scrape and a spot of road rash.  The bike is undamaged.  My pride, however, it's taken a hit.

At least now I fit in with the group!  I've got my scrapes of entitlement.

In other news, weight loss is going well.  I've pretty much given up bread.  I get plenty of quality carbs from sweet potatoes and fruit right now.  I'm down to around 205.  I'm excited and energized about breaking the 200 pound barrier.  My legs are still healing and I ran about 10 miles this week, pain free.

I am excited about beginning the half-marathon training.  I had hoped to have a good running base built by now, but am happy to just be nearly healthy.

I've got a should injury, hopefully just bursitis.  Rest, ice and compression...seeing the doctor about it Tuesday.

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