Monday, May 16, 2011

An epic post for a rainy rest day

1. I slept for 12 hours last night; it was great!

2. I spent a few hours at the end of last week setting up an account on Training Peaks (this is as a consequence of having lost data at Buckeye Outdoors and looking for a new online log). I wanted to restore a full clear record of my IM training, and it seemed worth the modest extra trouble to go back to the beginning of the calendar year and try and reconstruct from there. It was very easy to upload everything from my Garmin and just cross-check for accuracy with my blog (for instance occasionally I misrecord something as a bike instead of a run or vice versa, and I modify these on the Garmin Connect site rather than on the device itself); then I read through Triaspirational and transferred swims and boot camp or strength hours to Training Peaks as well.

3. I actually was much more consistent in my exercise habits this winter than I thought at the time; it is also very striking, though, how often in the blog I am complaining about being incredibly tired and feeling vaguely sick from fatigue. I am going to go ahead and make an appointment with a sleep specialist and pursue this more thoroughly, as insomnia is basically ruining if not my life then my quality of life!

4. Last week was a fifteen-hour training week! That is very good.

5. Completing a really successfully high-volume training weekend has given me huge additional confidence, especially re: my ability to finish a long bike ride even with minor adversity.

6. I had a total wipeout about an hour into the ride yesterday. It was stupid rather than dangerous; I'd already nearly wiped out on a couple right-hand turns where my wheel then got caught in a seam in the road, but narrowly saved myself both times. It was still raining and the roads were incredibly wet and slick, but also with all sorts of seams and potholes that made the going treacherous. I sped up to get through a light before it changed, but there was also a left-hand turn, and at this point I was just going way too fast for a rainy day. Those road bike tires have no traction as soon as it's wet! As the curb opposite rapidly approached, I made the quick call (having just had a couple of these wheel-caught-in-parallel groove things) that it would be safer to ride up onto it head-on and into the huge hedge at the other side rather than risking skidding back out into the road. (It was 7am on a rainy Sunday in semi-industrial suburb semi-country remote hinterland, there was pretty much no traffic.) I bumped up onto the sidewalk and into the hedge and then sort of toppled back down onto the sidewalk with my bike under me. It was like the sort of tumble you take as a child first riding a bicycle...

7. Don't worry, mom! It really wasn't a bad one; I have a couple of bruises, not even really a scrape, and was more chastened than rattled. I do not have enough experience riding in the rain, and that is for good reason, it is not really very safe! I will revert to my former caution, I think - I had just had a very good stretch of riding with a group of quite fast cyclists, drafting made it feel very easy even though we were going at an excellent clip, and it might have gone to my head. (I was actually laughing to myself after I rode off again, and thinking about how Brent would enjoy this observation: pride came before a fall!)

8. I put the chain back on and dusted myself off (several cyclists stopped to see if I needed assistance, and a very pleasant older black man with a pickup truck, who was perhaps filling up at the gas station next door, gave me a clean rag to wipe the bike grease and mud off my legs - he also asked if I needed a bandaid, but I did not!). Bike definitely felt slightly off, but certainly rideable; back wheel felt slightly out of alignment and something was making a pronging/twanging noise on the front....

9. At the next aid station, they had an amazing full mechanic's tent. The very nice guy took a look at my bike and pointed out that I had lost a spoke on the front wheel, and that the wheel also had a flat spot. (I was surprised, as back wheel had seemed more problematic - that was the first one that flatted, between where I wiped out and the aid station.) He replaced the spoke for me and said I should be fine for the rest of the ride, but that I would probably need to replace the wheel. I bought two extra tubes ($5 a pop, good deal) and made a modest donation to the tip jar - services were being provided for free.

10. Subsequent flats may have been related to the wheel issue, but probably not. Everyone was having vast numbers of flats - in fact the next two I had, I had company while I was changing my own tire, as someone else either had already or was about to flat and pull over at the same location! It was strangely companionable! I couldn't find glass, but there was an almost centimeter-long slit in my front tire on the second front flat; I used the patch kit to seal it back up, but was full of trepidation about another flat. I didn't have any more tubes left - but mercifully flat #4 only arrived as I coasted down the hill to the finish at Montauk. It was like magic!

11. I do know how to change a flat, but it was good to have the extra practice. Notes to self: (a) when changing rear tire, take a closer look at how/where derailleur goes before you take off the wheel so that you put it back on right the first time! (b) get a better frame pump! I had 2 CO2 cartridges with me, the first one worked like a dream but on the next flat I didn't lock it on properly and had to fall back on the hard-to-use frame pump. Someone with a better one stopped to help me, but I felt good that on each of these flats I did 95% of the work myself, and didn't slow anyone down much - next time it will be 100% and I will not slow anybody down, and that will be even better.

12. Might consult Youtube for tips on tube-changing techniques....

13. Have just had an extremely expensive trip to the bike store where I learned that the back wheel also got a flat spot, and that really not one but both wheels should be replaced. Was easily talked into a better-quality frame set ($400 rather than $200 for both wheels - I think it is these, the Mavic Ksyrium Equipe set). It was perhaps the salesman in him talking, but I was thoroughly persuaded that I will enjoy having better wheels; I am serious enough about my triathlon endeavors that the difference between $200 and $400 seemed one not worth having qualms about. (Next jump up is to more like $1000, at which point really I would just be upgrading to an altogether new bike, so that was not a temptation!).

14. Also got what is clearly a much better frame pump (it has an interesting structure, a sort of tube that screws directly onto the main part of the valve rather than locking onto the top - it is either this or something much like it).

15. And two new tires (with extra puncture resistance!), and three tubes and CO2 cartridges so that I am not caught out again any time soon, and new brake pads (did not realize riding in the rain so much destroyed them, but once it was pointed out to me I could see the dark powder on the bike frame where they had sort of dissolved themselves and sprayed out).

16. As I say, it was an expensive trip to the bike store! This is the Sid's Bikes store in Chelsea, the same place where I originally bought this bike, and I really like the people there; all the mechanics I've ever dealt with were extremely nice and helpful, and in this case the guy in question gave me a 10% discount on everything I bought, which was much appreciated. (Ten percent of a large number is quite a lot of dollars!)

17. I want to get a mountain bike. I really think I would like it, it would be more the sort of thing I enjoy than road cycling, only there remain the logistical questions about how you get to where you ride and who you ride with; unfortunately my MTB friend Lauren is about to move to Georgia! But yesterday's thing reminded me that truly it is not so much that I am afraid of falling off my bike as that I deeply dislike riding in traffic. It was an amazingly traffic-free route (there were some stretches where you ride on the Montauk Highway and there are more cars, but really it's hardly anything compared to anywhere else you might ride round here); I will certainly hope to do the ride again next year, I thought it was very well-organized and well-supported, though I suspect we also benefited from the fact that so many people bailed on it because of the rain.

18. I said it was going to be an epic post! I'll pick the bike up on Thursday evening, all ready for my race on Saturday: the Harryman Half. More thoughts about that later in the week...

19. I am excited about Harryman, and I am even more excited about Coeur d'Alene!

20. To end on a round number - the good thing about school being over is that now, if I can't sleep at night, I can often sleep as late as I need to in the morning!

1 comment:

Becca said...

Oh my goodness, you are so impressively athletic, self-sufficient, and positively heroic!