Friday, September 01, 2006

Totally Awesome Wed Bike Ride

I posted this earlier, but I think it got buried so I moved it up. (Comments were moved to the bottom of the post).

To be honest, I like training solo. It allows me to meditate and stay in my zone without worrying about anything else. Plus, I can do it on my schedule. That's why it's been hard to motivate myself to go to some of the great club workouts.

Rode my bike in this morning in my work clothes. Wrapped things up at a decent time. Ate half a Pria bar to quell a small but growing hunger pang in the stomach. Filled up the water bottle halfway and clip-clopped out the door all suited up in my bright purple jersey with a little baby yellow chick on the front with the words "Biker Chick" on the front. Aren't I cute? Took off down the road.

Only problem with riding down Hwy 101 at 5:30 is the rush-hour traffic. Somehow, I'm invisible to cars at this time. I can't believe how many cars I had to avoid as they decided that the bike lane was a third lane that no other vehicle was in but they had the magical privelege to go in to zip down and rush past the standstill traffic. Plus, drivers hate to see cyclists zipping past them when they're sitting still. It's like, "Hey! That's not fair." Hey! It's called bike commuting. Look into it! Oh, and there were also the cars parked on the right-side of the bike lane that decided to run through the bike lane into traffic without looking for the invisible cyclist (why do I bother wearing these hideously colored jerseys if drivers are going to ignore me anyway?). Oh, and then there are the cars that decided to pull over in front of me and cut me off and then back off into me. What is this? Do they have a hit out on me? Let's try to hit Rachel day! But I digress...

I managed to avoid the harrowing traffic and melt into a zone. I felt very quick and strong. I tailed 2 cyclists for awhile and then took off in front when the traffic thinned, much to the dismay of the younger male cyclist. He later sprinted past me at a stoplight. Whoa. I'm impressed. You just risked life and limb so you could pass a girl. How cool.

I reached Encinitas and had to avoid a few surfers darting across the road with their surfboards. Sigh. Only in Cali do cyclists have to watch for surfers. However, I did enjoy watching them catch waves in the Pacific on the way back. Like sharks in the sea, they bobbed up and down, dotting the surf as the sun set in the background. How poetic.

There was a great stretch in Solana Beach where it was relatively flat and I was able to go up into my big gear at 94 rpm and 23 mph and sustain it for a period. Ah. Felt so good. I relished being able to cycle like one of the pros. Or dream I was. But I felt strong. Normally, I ride in that in-between zone where I want to shift the small chain into a gear too hard for the middle ring but too easy for the big ring. I've been in limbo like that for months. I'll shift into 3rd and try to sustain it but my rpm will drop into the low 80s. Then I shift back into 2nd and my rpms are around 110. I'll shift up in the small ring and my chain rubs. So I go back and forth. It was so nice today to be able to stay in the big gear for more than 30 seconds. I'll just have to keep working on it.

Turned around at Swami's in Encinitas. Was it just me or can I ride farther in a shorter amount of time? Seems like it. My training rides used to be only 15 mph. Today, I averaged 16-17 mph and that included the tough climb up Torrey Pines (which wasn't as hard as I remember; is this possible?) Coming back was very nice. The sun setting over the ocean to my right. Hot air balloons in Del Mar on my left. Hang gliders by Black's Beach. Surfer's galore everywhere. Runners. Cyclists. Egrets in San Elijo's Lagoon. The line of pelicans flying over the beach at 6:30, making their routine evening feeding rounds. Like clockwork. I never feel alone out there.

I didn't need Jason to make it home this time (out and back is pretty fail-safe). He's making a great steak dinner (great post-ride recovery meal to feed those muscles!) and complaining that I stink as I type this. Gotta go hit the showers.

Comments (from earlier):
At 4:46 AM, Jenö said...
Well done and well posted! I love reading about rides/runs where things just seem to work and leave you wanting more. Good job!
At 6:40 AM, Jodi said...
There is something so peaceful about a workout by yourself. I used to love my morning runs when I lived in Melbourne, Australia. I saw the same things everyday and it was so soothing! Seeing the hot air balloons go up, the buses go by, the same people going to work. It really helped me get into a groove.I'm impressed that you braved that traffic. I've become a little bike-shy since I crashed last month. Need to get that back!

1 comment:

Mon said...

The male ego is a fragile thing. If he got hit at the stop light, he would have gone feeling good about passing you.