Sunday, June 03, 2007

Not Ready for the Road

That is what Ryan told me this morning.

As we lingered in bed over a 2ND cup of coffee this morning--after a sleep-in until an unheard of in this house 8 am--and I asked his opinion on my bike ride today. Yesterday I ran 13 miles and saw no need to punish my legs-- or myself in the heat--again and figured I should finally get to know Lance a little better. So I asked Ryan if he thought it would be better to ride from our house-- pointing out that I had a little concern about the traffic on a few of the roads near our neighborhood; or if he thought it would be better if I just rode from my parents house in Roswell--as there are more back roads and I always see a ton of cyclists when I run through Roswell. What to do, what to do? And Ryan flatly told me that I "wasn't ready for the road yet."

A tiny part of me had my feelings hurt but I know he was basing this on the little tutorial he gave me about Lance a few weeks ago. Immediately following the lesson of this-how-your-gears-work-now-go-practice-what-I-told-you I came back walking Lance because my chain had fallen off because I did exactly what he told me not to do. So his opinion was not completely unfounded and was not aimed at chipping away at my ever so "fragile" self esteem.

He was helpful and put Lance in my car for me and told me to go to the Greenway. I said okay but totally lied. See, I've made quite a few spins there and really needed to go somewhere I could practice changing gears. I needed hills. So instead of driving all the way across town to the Greenway--which would have wasted an hour of my 2 hour window--I went to my parents house in Roswell to see if I could convince Pop to ride with me.

I figured if Steph is road ready then I am too, damn it!

But Pop said nothing doing. No time for a ride this morning. He was cutting tile and refused to leave his project. Then he noted that I was not wearing my helmet and got all angry and started to rail into me with a lecture on safety. I quickly explained that my helmet was in the car along with Lance and my shoes and gloves (I know! I have gloves. How professional am I? Okay, they were Lala's.) I snarkily told Pop that I didn't know I was suppose to wear the helmet to drive. And Lala, ever the one snark up you, pointed out that given my history that it might not exactly be all that bad of an idea if I did wear it to drive. Ha ha. I have such funny parents.

Once we got past the fact that I did indeed have all the necessary equipment, and no knowledge of how to fix anything if it happened to break and went over the hand signals-- that Pop says no one uses-- he told me a couple of routes to go.

I said I wanted hills and by golly I got them. To start out I got brave doing a few laps on my parents road (it is a little over a mile long) and then headed out and cut in and cut of neighborhoods. I rode into Steph's hood and saw her and her pal Michelle running and then saw Steph's husband Doug-- who is also triathlon training. Chatted for a bit and then headed back into hill climbing through their neighborhood. Then I set out, big gulp, onto real roads with real cars and real traffic lights and real stops signs. And it was really really scary--but I did it and I did it all by myself.

I was super slow too--20 miles at just over 13mph. It probably could have been faster had I not been so scared on the downhills. I think I am going to go through brakes faster than most people. I pretty much have the gears on the right side figured out. The left side? Well, I didn't touch it. My bike--Ryan says they are called sprockets--has three rings/sprockets. I kept it on the second "sprocket"--not sure if I am saying that right but last time I messed with the left side my chain fell off and I wasn't taking any chances of that happening today.

So yay! I did it and since I didn't die--as I was pretty much thinking the chances were high that I would--I am excited and want to go again.

How crazy is that?

I also swam today but not sure I should even count it. Total I did 3 400's but it was a 400m during each of the three "adult swims" at the pool. And it was while I was drinking beers. Oddly, the last 400m felt the best. But I am guessing it isn't exactly brilliant to train while throwing the brewskies back. What can I say, everyone has their own methods. Some are more effective than others and some, well, are not but they are more fun.


  1. Great ride, Nat! We slogged though that run yesterday and it was really tough. I'll bet you get those sprockets down in no time. I had to learn them fast because I can't make my bike go up big hills (even weaving) on the middle sprocket. I didn't know they were called that either - it's just fun to say: sprocket, sprocket, sprocket.

  2. Dee Dee suffers from the same problem you have, and she only has two rings on the big wheel. The important thing to remember is:

    A. The left gear does the opposite of the right one. If you push this button on the right to pedal harder, doing so on the left will make it easier.

    B. Never switch gears on the big ring unless you are at the top or bottom gear on the right side. In other words, don't down shift on the big ring until you can't down shift on the right side anymore. Don't upshift on the big ring until you can't gear up any more on the right side. This will keep you from throwing your chain.

    I rode my bike from Woodstock to Roswell on Hwy 92 Saturday morning. I've found that 99.9% of drivers are most courteous to cyclists. It's the 0.1% we have to worry about.

  3. Steph-- Wasn't there a skit on SNL about a guy named Sprocket--Steve Martin or someone?? I bet Bruce will know. It is fun to say.

    Wes-- this is exactly what Ryan explained to me but once on the bike I get easily confused--especially when going up a big hill. I will eventually figure this out. It will just take some time for me.

    And I can't belive you road on 92. You are certifiable. I avoid running on 92 and there is a sidewalk I just don't even think biking is an option. I did cross 92 twice on my ride (at Crabapple and at Wild Wood Springs). I tried to stick to roads with posted speed limits of 35mph as much as possible.

    And you are right--most people are good about giving you berth--more so than when I am forced to run on the road because there is no sidewalk. However a few people got so close to me yesterday that had I turned my head I could have licked their window. These were always the elderly or teenagers--the very drivers who I'd perfer gave me a little extra berth.

    You, me, Steph and Dee should try to hook up for a long group ride sometime if you are that close. Since I grew up in Roswell I know the neighborhoods and back roads very well--even out to Alpharetta and all through East Cobb.

  4. A group ride is SO on! Dee Dee and I are trying to get the rack done this week. I'll let ya know when we are travel ready :-)

    The secret to gear shifting is to always go up or down on the right get until you cant anymore then use the left one. You'll get the hang of it. Besides, being in a bigger gear means more muscle :-)

  5. Ms Natalie,

    You should listen to Ryan. It's dangerous out there with the cars and trucks. Get to know your gearing...just practice changing gears...slooowly through the gears...until they become second nature. You don't need hills to run through the gears. But like anything else you will kick well!