Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Greatness Nearly Realized

How to know that my little pack of readers ROCK? All y'all's comments made me feel like I'm not alone out here, trying to do this little tri-thing. The emails and comments have been great, and I am glad to know that I really do have a great community behind me as I try to do this.

How to know that my bike shop people ROCK? I walked into there yesterday afternoon and said, "I just started riding my bicycle, and I *tried* to ride on Monday, and I have a very embarassing problem." Her immediate response? "Saddle issues?" heh.

I confessed my horrible secret, and she reacted just as i hoped she would. Not one bit of condescension, not even a bit of pity. She told me about someone who came in for help because she's doing the MS150 on a mountain bike and couldn't get a new bike but needed to be faster, so she set her up and that she'd try to do the same for me. The only way she could have been more helpful is if she was pedaling the stupid bike for me. First thing she did was get me a new inner tube -- apparently I had a slow leak, so the pressure on the front tire was low. So, yes, that had a lot to do with it, and she changed the tire, explaining everything as she went so I knew what the blazes she was doing.

The next thing she did was raise my saddle about seven inches -- I kid you not -- SEVEN inches. I felt like I could barely get my leg over the seat to mount it after that, but it made a huge difference in the power transferring from my legs to the pedals. After that, she noticed that I was pedaling with the middle of my foot instead of the ball of my foot, so we made the adjustment there, too. And then I just sat there on the trainer, and shifted up and down, big gear to little gear and back to big. Then the same thing on the back gears, so I could feel what happened and how it all worked. And I just pedaled for a while. And just kept pedaling and shifting, until I felt like I had a better understanding of what was going on. And then I came home and since I had a leeetle bit of time left in my lunch break, I put on the helmet, strapped the Garmin on the handlebars again and went for a ride.

Can I just say something here? "Wheeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!" I literally whooped as I rode down the street -- what a difference. Still took me a while to get the right gear once I got started, but once I found a groove, I was moving. I only went 1.25 miles, but I could already tell that this ride was totally different. Average speed for the first mile was 11.4 mph, and that was with the first 1/4 mile being pokey while I found my groove and the right gear. Best speed for the little jaunt: 16.2 mph!! Wahoo!! I was spinning instead of mashing (and I know what those before now gibberish words mean and feel like now, thank you very much!!), and I was so sad to have to get off the bike and come back to work. But I know now that the whole bike thing is going to be very different from here on out. And especially after Tuesday, when I get my new tires. By replacing the mountain tread with new speedier slicks (still very low-end -- about $35 each) I'll be boosting the value by 200%, but it's the least amount of investment I can do right now to make it truly ride-able.

I've made a deal with myself that I'm not spending any money on a bicycle until I finish two sprints. Bea (my bike shop saviour) offered to let me test-drive a road bike, just to see what it felt like... I respectfully declined. I know that to do so would make me *totally* loathe the Purple People Eater instead of just barely tolerate her. So I'll just play around and ride as much as I can on the new slicks and with the seat in the proper position. I should be able to get through this first part of the summer on her, just for a bit more until I convince myself that this is for real. As tortuous as that may be, it will build up anticipation so that when I finally get my hands on a new ride I'll really appreciate it.

So, yeah. I'm good to go now. Even better by next week.

ORN -- 4 miles outside this morning. 41:02 total time.


Nancy Toby said...

It's all training as far as your legs are concerned, no matter what kind of bike you're on! Go go go, girl!

Vickie said...

Congrats! You are on your way. Sometimes its good to admit you need help, eh? Look at all the help you got. I know you will do great this summer, even on the Purple People Eater bike. I think a lot of people start here, and like you said, makes them more appreciative--and ready--for better equipment.

From Here to There said...

You are soooo sweet! Things are ok, just busy, then got sick... will update tonight AND catch up on you. You've got great things going on, and I wanna read about it! I feel so out of the loop!

greyhound said...

That's the way to git 'er done. Once you switch to a road bike, you'll think you've got rocket pants.

From Here to There said...

Good for you! I love my entry level road bike, and it cost $800 (which 5 years ago was still NOTHING, but a whole lot for me). But it's too big. One day I'll have to buy a bike that fits, and I know I will see a huge difference!

You rock!!