cycling – The Shrinking Jeans of April


June 24, 2010 By april

So.  I’m just going to be honest.  The last two weeks have sucked my ass.  Well sort of.  As far as cycling goes, it has.

The last time we spoke, geese chased me, and while I’ve seen no sign of those little bastards lately, other problems have surfaced.

First, I’ve been battling allergies and a summer cold.  I was able to ride when my cold first reared its ugly head, but then the congestion moved to my chest….right in time for my beach trip.  I was super bummed about this because I was excited about riding my bike at the beach.  Our house was right on the ocean road, and the ride would have been amazing.  Instead, I was cooped up with the chest cold from hell.

By the time I got back, I felt well enough to ride again, but the week off from riding had done its damage.  I was back to square one as far as my time.  And to add insult to injury, I only had 7 miles in me instead of the 10 I was hoping for.

This week, I’ve ridden three times, and I’m ready to throw my bike in the river that I ride next to. (Funny image, no? Grown woman slings bike into river.  Hammer throw style.)   The front wheel is lose again and the back brakes have decided they’re not going to work anymore.  So, not only have I been fighting the what’s left of my cold, I’m fighting my stupid bike.  (How rude after the nice makeover I’ve given it.)

I realize the bike is old, and this sport will require a bit of maintenance but good lord, give me a break here, bike.

Oh, and just let me mention that the humidity here is about 10,000%, so by the time I’m done with my piddly 7 miles, I am soaked, and my lungs are begging me to stop.

I know I need to give myself a break and just go with it for a bit, but I long to be fast again.  I’m tired of fighting my body and my bike.

Oh well…I guess the key is to just keep pedaling.  Even if it is all Dory style.

June 4, 2010 By april

So, today marked the end of my first week in the world of cycling.  I rode 5 out of 7 days.  I rock.  I can’t get over how much I love being on that bike.  A couple of times this week, I fully admit to not “feeling it”, yet, I love being on my bike so much that I went anyway.  Anyhoo…I know you’re just dying to know how my rides went, so JUST FOR YOU, here ya go:

Ride 1: Rode 3 miles.  This was the first real ride I had with my bike and I could tell it needed tweaking so I didn’t push it, rode 3 miles, and packed it up and went home.

Ride 2: Rode 2 miles after tweaking bike.  Hills suck.  Like a lot.  That is all.

After Ride 2, my poor arse was SORE.  Like it hurt to walk, sit or stand sore.  Who the hell designed a bike seat anyway?!

Ride 3: Rode 7 miles.  Oh my word, this was awesome.  On a scale from 1 to 10, I give it a 500.  I finished in 30 mins flat.  Not too bad for just my 3rd ride!   PS. Because I know you’re wondering, my arse? No longer sore. You’re welcome.

Ride 4: Rode 7 miles.  This was one of the days that I wasn’t really “feeling it” but went anyway.  It was humid, breathing was hard, I pushed myself, I beat my time by 40 seconds and I LOVED every minute of it.

Ride 5:  Here comes the fun stuff.  Again, I really wasn’t “feeling it”.  The sky looked as if it would open up at any second.  It’s Friday and well, it’s Friday.  But I went.  At around mile 2.5, I go around a little curve and right there in the middle of my path are four adult geese and a million babies.  Shit.  Have any of you encountered geese before?  Geese with babies, especially?  They are mean little bastards.  I’d rather be chased by a pit bull than a goose.  Seriously.  So, I get as far right as possible, pedal hard, get up to 18 mph so I can just zoom by.  Right.  The head honcho goose chased me anyway wings flared and hissing.  I cussed, but got past them unharmed.  The problem with this is I have to turn around and go back.  So, I purposely slow down and save energy so that I can try to fly by those sneaky bastards.  When I know I’m close, I speed up, GET IN THE GRASS even, so far away from them that they will just leave me be.  Right.  She STILL chased me, and don’t you know, just about snipped my leg?  Stupid mean birds.  So, after that, and my front tire feeling sketchy, I was 5 seconds slower than ride# 4.  But oh well.  Not too bad still I guess.

On a side note, I’m still feeling a bit self conscious.  Especially on the days that there are a lot of people on the greenway.  Right before ride #4, I get to the greenway, a real cyclist was there unloading her bike off a bike rack (I just shove mine in the back of my Escape), and I was all nervous.  I hurried and got on my way so not to look like a nerd.  I know, I’m lame.  But I’m working on it.  Still, I just LOVE cycling…

Maybe it’s the helmet.  But that’s another post…

May 30, 2010 By april

I put the sort of out there because I’m still very new to this idea of getting into cycling.  But, I’m going to give it a good honest go.

We have an excellent place to ride here, called the Roanoke River Greenway.  This is the same place that I take my German Shepherd for walks/runs.   But here’s the thing, I was nervous about taking my bike there.

I spent a good portion of my childhood being made fun of for various reasons.  I remember there was one boy on the bus who was ruthless just because the color of my skin wasn’t like his. (I’m part Cherokee.)  Luckily for me, I’ve grown to love my nice olive skin tone, yet, whenever faced with a new situation I get nervous.  I know better than to think that a bunch of adults on bikes are going to make fun of me, but the need to be able to blend in is still there for me.  My bike is obviously OLD, but times are what they are and for now it’ll have to do.

So. I did the next best thing.  I spent way too much money on a pair of biker’s shorts and top.  I brought them home, tried them on, took them off, laid them on the bed, thought about it, stared at them, and finally, put them back on and headed to the Greenway.

By the looks of the parking lot, I would have the most of the Greenway to myself which for me, at least for the first ride, would be fantastic.  I could tell immediately that my bike still needed tweaking so I decided to not take it far, but I did decide to open her up a bit.  I rode 3 miles averaging 14mph.  I got it up to 16mph or so a few times.

There was one point in my ride when I became aware of not just the ride but myself.  I was grinning.  Not just smiling but grinning.  The wind in my face, the power I felt, I LOVED every single second of it.

At one point on my way back to the car I passed three “real” cyclist.  They had the fancy road bikes, the one piece suits, the fancy helmets.  Uh-oh.  So much for blending in, I thought.  They’re going to be able to tell I’m a fake.  Just stick a fork in me, cause I’m done, were the panicked thoughts I was having.  Yet, they just smiled, said hi as if I were just another cyclist.

Hmmm.  Maybe I am.