Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Riding through the Strawberries

Some of you may have seen my Facebook post with the sad farmer's tan/burn I received as the result of not applying suntan lotion before a 6 hour bike ride. The caption was, "I rode a metric century, and all I got was this farmer's tan."

I'd like you to know that that is not accurate, and this ride did much more for me than ruining my beautiful Costa Rican swimsuit tan. First, I had a great day out with my rad riding partner, PH. I also saw some friends from my Meetup group and met some other great peeps. Third, I had some apple pie at Gizdich Farms, and most importantly... (wait for it)...

I now know that I can ride 65 miles, including some pretty steep hills! YAAAY! I even got off the bike and ran for a little bit. (Ok, it was about 6 minutes, but I did it!) Here's the route if you're interested.

*Virtual Crowd Applause (hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh)*

This ride was probably too soon in my training plan, but I really needed some piece of mind about cycling, training, and "Holy crap, can I actually do this half Ironman thing?!"

#1: Piece of mind about cycling
Cycling isn't a bad sport. Even though many things are outside of your control (ahem, like the bike or the road), the idea is that you start to conquer the bike. Besides, it's an opportunity to get out and see your surroundings. There is only so far you can walk or run, but you can see a lot in an hour bike ride. This 6 hour route, or 5 hours of riding time, from Aptos to Watsonville through the fields and forest is lovely. I probably wouldn't have seen it otherwise. Seriously, why else would you go to Watsonville? (Awww, snap!)

#2: Piece of mind about training
Riding a bike, running, swimming, doing cartwheels over and over, or any other kind of endurance (Call it aerobic NOT "cardio" people!) activity is about knowing yourself and what you are capable of. It's understanding your body, your mind, and knowing when to slow down, or better yet - when you can take on more. Often your body is telling you something different than your brain. Once you can get your brain to shut the hell up, your body can do a lot more. My riding partner and I had different rides, but we stayed together most of the time. There were times when PH was pacing faster and I thought I wouldn't make it through the day. There were times when I was ready to jam up a hill and he needed  to take a break and throw some water over his head.

#3: "Holy CRAP, can I actually do this??!"
Yes. I can now easily (please understand that term loosely - I'm training to finish, not win) complete each leg of this half Ironman on its own - time to put the pieces together. This is the part that is going to be tough. Sure, I've done transitions before. You bike a few miles, change shoes and run a little so you can understand what your muscles feel like switching from one event to the other. It's humbling to think you know how to run and your legs are still going around in circles. This is the first time my training plan calls for: Swim 60 Minutes / Run 2:00 Hours. It's a complete workout, followed by another complete workout.

2 months. 2 months. 2 months. 2 months.

Here are a couple more pics from the ride.
 No shortage of bathrooms at this ride.
Getting passed my Meetup groupers. Next year I'm going to keep up with them!

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