Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Intense Bike Commuting Workout, Bike Fitting, & Epiphany of the Day

Today was a good day. I woke up early, got into work early, and was very productive. This enabled me to leave on time for my greatly anticipated bike fitting. I ended up getting a "bike commuting" workout, which was awesome. I donned my biking clothes, packed lightly, jumped on Bluebell and had a nice, quick 15 minute, 3.5 mile ride into lab. Then, at the end of the day, I changed back into my bike clothes and rode a hilly 10 miles to the bike shop.

I hopped on the trainer at the shop for the bike fitting. The guy was so great. He's one of the "original" Ironmen. He used to be pro and raced THE Ironman in 1981, the first time it was held on "the big island," as he called it (I'm guessing this was Kona). But he was totally laid-back and nice. I was totally intimidated but he put me at ease. He made a few small, conservative adjustments that definitely made a big difference and a lot of sense to me. More comfortable in the hoods, more comfortable pedaling position, more comfortable seat height position. All small adjustments. My knee didn't hurt all today while biking!

He gave me really great advice on clip-on aero bars on road bikes. He advised sticking with the road bike geometry and using shorter clip on bars in order to maintain the road bike position, yet begin to transition to aero. That way, you can choose to go back and forth to whichever position without really changing the bike. Obviously, to really go aero, I'll need a tri bike but that will be in the distant future. He didn't think I needed aero bars yet. He wanted me to keep building my base and get comfortable with the adjustments he made first. I can't believe this guy works at a bike shop and was telling me not to buy stuff!

In addition, he gave me a mini bike pedaling technique lesson. He was very nice and encouraging so I didn't feel stupid or torn apart. He was very careful to include compliments on the positives I was doing and then show me how to correct some weaknesses. Basically, I need to think "heels down" to have a more neutral position and not point my toes down when I pedal. It's kind of like an Achilles stretch while pedaling. This takes the pressure off the back of the legs and focuses it on the front while engaging the core. In addition, he showed me how to pull up at the back of the pedal stroke and focus less on the pushing down. If I effectively "pull up," then the momentum carries it around and back down. I really got the feel of it, and my pedal stroke felt smoother and faster. It was very informative.

Afterwards, I biked the 10 miles back to lab. I was sore and a little fatigued at this point after my short, but intense, trainer session. I was dreading the Torrey Pines hill. However, I need to work on my strength and power, and hills are key. This hill used to kill me. Today, even though I was already tired when I started at the bottom, I felt like I was flying up it! I just didn't feel as tired going up, and I got up a lot faster than I usually do. Plus, I caught a guy in front of me and passed him, which is always a rush.

I grabbed my stuff at lab, and then biked the final 3.5 miles back home. All in all, I ended up going about 25 miles for a total of 1:50 biking time. Even though it was broken up, it was intense and hilly when I rode. I feel sore and tired. I got a great workout in.

Epiphany of the Day:
I was planning on doing a run and/or weights this evening but I'm beat. I decided to rest instead. I'm very proud of myself. I've been cutting out extra workouts, as needed, when I feel tired or sore from other workouts. This is a huge step forward for me. I usually plan 2 workouts each day. One of them is the "key" workout, and the other is more of a "maintenance" workout. I focus on my key workout so that I can give it my all. If that takes it all out of me, and I have to scrap the second workout, I do it now, guilt-free. I'd rather have 1 awesome workout a day than 2 that I half-ass. I think my body will thank me later.


Mon said...

definately! 1 good one is better than 2 half assed ones. Plus if you dont want to do it youll start seeing it as a negative vs. a positive like you do now. It's fun fun! Wow you got a lot of miles in on the bike!

Cliff said...

Good Epiphany. Yes, the idea is to keep it guilty free and motivate to train for a long long time :).

The bike fit person really gave u some good advice. Doh. I shoudl have got a bike fit before putting aerobars on my roadie :0...live and learn.

During the winter, I have been working on isolated leg pedaling. Basically pedalling on one leg in a trainer. I could tell that my stroke was not smoonth when I pulled up. After working on that, I found climbing hills is a bit easier.

bunnygirl said...

Your bike fitting experience sounds great! I wish my bike fitter were an original Ironman! How exciting!

punky said...

congrats on the torrey pines hill and good thinking about not overdoing it with your 2x workouts. i have a tendency to overplan my workouts as well: for example, this week i was supposed to either surf, play hockey, go boxing, run, or swim every day. is that going to happen ??? it hasn't been happening so far!!! life sometimes gets in the way, ...

theseamonster said...

Sounds like a great bike fitting day. How cool that the guy was an orig. IM and spent the extra time with you to go over technique. Things like that make the sport so much more enjoyable.

Lately, I've just decided to listen to my body (well, most of the time anyway) and if I'm not up to a workout, skip to the next one. I learned the other night that sometimes, if I'm fatigued, I'm just not going to get the quality in a workout that I need.

One thing I found helpful for me is to train at night and during the day on weekends. That way I can't sleep in and miss a workout (the snooze button has got to be the most addictive thing in the universe!).