Monday, July 31, 2006

Road Rage

This weekend I decided to join in on a group ride with my local bike club. These rides are usually more social events than training rides. I’d not ridden with the club in a few weeks and thought this would be an excellent time to join them since I didn’t have a long ride on the schedule. About 15 of us headed out from the local bike shop just after 8 am Saturday morning. We were making our way out of town and I was riding in the very back of the pack chatting with one of the other riders. We were on a 4 lane divided road (45 mph speed limit), which was pretty much deserted at that time of the week. Suddenly I heard a car horn blowing behind me. As I turned to see what the problem was, an old guy in a 4 door sedan pulled up beside me and yelled…and I mean yelled, “THE LAW SAYS SINGLE FILE”. He then floored the accelerator of his car and raced off in a huff. Now, I have nothing against old guys, or 4 door sedans for that matter, but this just didn’t sit right with me.
A: The law in my state clearly reads, no more than two abreast, not single file, but two abreast, which is exactly what we were doing. B: We were riding in the right lane of a four lane divided road. He could have just gone around us in the left lane without being hindered in the least bit.

I’ve laughed off such incidents in the past, but this one is sticking in my head for some reason. I suppose it’s partly because I expect different treatment from those in the community who are supposed to be wiser and more level headed than their less aged counterparts. It’s been teenage kids that have been the perpetrators of such acts in the past, and having been one of those, I kind of half way accept that type of behavior from them. But this guy could have been a decorated war veteran, a church elder, or any other position which holds high character traits. He didn’t appear to be the type of guy that would pull alongside a group of cyclist and yell angrily as if we’d kicked his dog. Maybe he was just having a bad day and needed to vent. Or maybe he’s just an old jerk.

Either way, each time something like this happens it takes away a little more of the innocence of the simple act of getting on a bike and riding. It makes me have thoughts such as, “what if the next guy’s anger causes him to go a step further”. It steals a little bit of the joy that goes along with being outside on a bike on a beautiful day. It replaces what is taken away with fear, concern, doubt and many other thoughts that take away from the experience.

Maybe that’s why I’m pissed. The guy wasn’t just being a jerk, he took something from me.
I suppose the only way to get it back is to continue putting in the miles.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Christmas In July

The last few weeks have been extremely busy for me. Blogging has taken a back seat.
But now it’s time to catch up.
I’ve been shopping for a tri bike for the last several months. I finally settled on the Quintana Roo Lucero about three weeks ago and placed my order with All 3 Sports (Merry Christmas to me). The bike arrived just a few days after I placed the order. After a bit of assembly it was ready to go. The bike is awesome. I’ve tweaked the fit a few times and will continue to do so for a few more weeks I’m sure. I’ll try to post some good pictures soon.
My training has been on track and I decided to taper a bit more than usual for the West Point Olympic Triathlon which took place yesterday. My usual taper is to train as usual with no workouts two days before the event (not much of a taper). This time, I gradually reduced my volume and frequency three weeks before race day without dropping much intensity. Other than being a bit flat on the swim, I felt strong the entire race.
I arrived at the transition for the race with plenty of time to get set up. I took my time and made sure I had everything ready. After getting my transition set up, I walked down to the lake to have a look at the swim. The lake looked very low. I’d find out just how low during the swim. After surveying the swim, I headed back up to the transition area to hang out with D and K before the race started. Suddenly I realized I’d forgotten my sunglasses. DOOOOOOH! D and K hurried back to the parking area (about ½ mile away) and got my glasses out of the car. They made it back just in time for me to put my glasses on the bike and head down for the start.

The swim was a time trial start (a first for me). They sent us off in pairs every ten seconds. I tried to keep my pace steady during the first part of the swim. I made it to the first buoy feeling ok. I couldn’t see the next buoy at all. I followed the swimmers in front of me and hoped they were heading in the right direction. I began to get a bit tired after the first buoy. The stress of not being sure if I was on course didn’t help. Finally I saw the next buoy and tried to settle my stroke down. I was glad to get beyond the buoy and make the turn to head back in. Not long after making the turn to come in, I saw people standing if front of me off in the the water! I started to think all the lactic acid running through my veins was frying my brain. Then, a few moments later, the swimmer directly in front of me stood up. I stopped swimming and realized the water was only about three feet deep. I walked for about 25 yards and then began swimming again when the water became deep. We went through one other shallow stretch of about the same length before finishing the swim. I came out of the water in 30:13, about 2 minutes slower than I’d expected. I was glad to be out of the water though and headed for T1.

I took it easy for the first mile or so on the bike. The hills started immediately. The area where I normally train is fairly flat. This course had rolling hills the entire way. I decided to ignore my speed and deal with the hills as they came. I was very happy when I hit T2 and realized my average speed was 19.1 mph.

I headed out on the run feeling good. The run had a few hills, one tough one in particular, but nothing like the bike. A portion of the run crossed over the lake's dam, which was very cool. The mist coming up from the falling water felt great. I ran steady and finished the run in 53:52. My overall time was 2:45:39.

I was very happy with my results since this was my first Olympic distance race…. on a hilly course to boot.
I’m fired up (as Stu would say) and ready for my next race which is due to take place in just over 3 weeks.