Hi there! Well I did it and it was great! This was my first ever bike tour. I will be the first to admit up until today biking was my weakest event as far as triathlons go. A lot of it stemmed from inexperience. I believe I’ve mentioned before that I didn’t learn to ride a bike until I was 8 years old. We lived on a country road so our options were go left to a dead end or go right to a country highway that was too dangerous for a kid to ride on. Occasionally my parents would take us to a bike trail and we would ride crazy long distance (at least it seemed that way at the time) and I would be sore and crabby by the end and say I didn’t like biking (I was also over weight and out of shape). When I started doing triathlons I needed to get over that dislike in a hurry. I did my first tri with a bike I had been riding since I was 10 years old, it worked but it was definitely a challenge. When I bought my road bike things improved. I didn’t have to work as hard and could go a lot faster. At the same time the skinny little tires freaked me out. I would have said I still didn’t really like biking. It wasn’t until today that I felt really confident and comfortable on my bike. I also REALLY liked it and had a good time!
I started out the morning with a 20 minute hip opening yoga class from YogaDownload.com. Then I fueled up with some oats.
These babies were power packed with pumpkin, egg whites, banana, almond butter, and granola. Then I was pretty much ready to go!
You could start any time between 8am and 9am but I wanted to get there at 8am for the mass start.
The bike tour had something for everyone. A 5 mile family ride, the 32 mile tour and a 62 mile tour. For about the first 5 miles we were all together in a pack but then the crowd started thinning out. I usually ride by myself so this was no different than normal. It was nice to know that I would probably see other bikers along the way and that if something did happen there were people on hand to help. The course was also marked really well. I stopped at the half way point to use the port-a-potty and get something to drink. Guess where the rest stop was?
The same place where my triathlon starts, Lake Neshonic in West Salem! The food had not arrived at the rest stop yet and some ladies were being really crabby about it. I decided to continue on and avoid the negative vibes! The funny thing about a bike tour is it’s not a race so you can stop and take your time. I saw a lot of folks I know from the YMCA at the rest stop. The wind had been at my back for most of the ride so I knew that turning around was going to be tough. You know the wind is strong when you are clearly going up hill but not working very hard at all ( so the wind is pushing you). There was only one really tough section which seemed to be headed straight into the wind and had a lot of BIG hills. Other than that the wind just posed a bit of a challenge. I felt pretty good by the end and cruised into the finish line just as the 5K event was ending. It was great to see so many people out running and walking as well as spectators cheering everyone on. I finished in about 2 hours and 15 minutes and according to my Garmin burned almost 1800 calories!
P.s. Bondi Bands work GREAT under bike helmets! I refueled with a bagel, a orange, some mini chocolate chip cookies and Gatorade. I also hung around for the 5K awards ceremony.
I was so glad I did this bike tour. It doesn’t have the intensity or excitement of a race but it was a great way to get out there for a long bike ride. I think the key for me in getting better on the bike is simply just riding. My balance has improved over time and I have learned what each gear feels like and when I should shift to help me be the most efficient. I don’t think I’ll ever be particularly fast but it feels so good to have the confidence I’ve been lacking!
Well, I’m pretty pooped after all that! I think I’ll take a little nap then I have to get ready for my niece’s first communion (we’re leaving at 7am tomorrow morning!), go to work, and celebrate my mom’s birthday! Hope you are having a great Saturday!