Monday, October 7, 2019

First climb, First bloodshed

This weekend I felt like we finally started our REAL training. I experienced the "Hurt Locker" for the first time. M and I decided it was time to ride outside of our comfort zone at the lake and try a real trail. I admit I was kinda nervous. Nervous excitement? Perhaps.

We rode the trail near our house that leads down to the beach. From our town it's downhill most of the way, so we ain't no dummies. We drove down to the west end and started from the bottom of the hill.

I was immediately intimidated as soon as I stepped onto the trail as 2 riders, in full gear, riding side by side, whizzed by having a casual conversation as if they do it all the time. Probably because they do! I quickly realized that we had entered a for-real bike trail with actual cycling people. There were still a fair number of MTB's who rode by, but a much larger number of roadies than at the lake. And OOOHHH you should have HEARD the awful commentary by Gladis in my head (We've given those negative thoughts a name. It's more fun that way. My husband is a pretty fun guy. Actually. He's not funny. But he thinks he is. (Just kidding honey :) Please don't drop me on our next ride!). "You don't belong here! You're out of your element. This place is for REAL cyclists, not amateurs who don't know what they're doing like YOU!" And on and on she went. (Insert eyeroll emoji here) So before I even had a chance to say SHUT UP LEGS, I was saying "Shut up Gladys!" Rather than give in to those awful thoughts, I decided right then and there that I wanted to belong on that trail. I want to feel comfortable riding side by side with my husband having a conversation at 20mph. And much later, I decided I want to do this train again and again until I feel comfortable and confident on it -- ESPECIALLY on the hilly parts!

The hilly parts...sigh. One thing's for sure, I will NEVER again scoff at a 5% gradient. O.M.G. Shut Up Legs alright. What about everything else though?!, I thought to myself and giggled. At the lake there are little 2% bursts but this was a solid 1.5-2K climb at 4-6% the whole way. M calls it "The Wall." I called it pain and suffering. But man oh man when we got to the top of that hill, it felt so good! And as we turned around and went down it, the wind in my red hot face, I felt like I had earned that descent. Oh and descending is a whole new thing too.

We found out this weekend that I'm more of a climber than M, but he's a much better descender than me! Maybe it'll get easier the more I do it, but while he was flying down at 20mph, I think my max speed was about 16mph. I probably averaged more like 13-14 LOL

All I could think of during this ride was "ML is for sissies! This is a real trail!" Yeah. Until we went to ML on Sunday. I thought I didn't want to ride around the lake anymore, but my smart husband reassured me the lake is a good place for training. It's also kind of an ego boost for a rider like me. While I was intimidated and getting passed on the real deal, I got to pass riders at the lake.

Okay, so what about this first bloodshed business. After Saturday's ride, as I took off my shoes, I noticed my right leg was bleeding a little and had what looked like chain marks. Apparently at some point along the ride, I'd rubbed my leg against my chain...and with a new bike, the chain tends to be a little sharp. Funny how I didn't even feel it. My husband said that's because I told my legs to shut up...and they listened! Hahaha So not only did a puke a little in my mouth going up that hill (YAY! You know you're working hard when that happens, right?!), but I ended up bleeding too. As a wise Marine once said, "If you're not bleeding you're not playing" Hoo-rah But let's not lose anymore blood, mkay?

Until Sunday at least. I experienced my first crash on my new bike. Huge sigh of relief actually. PHEW Got that out of the way! It's kinda like getting that first ding on your brand new car or first scuff mark on a new pair of white shoes. And fortunately, nobody got hurt. My knee got banged up, and I even got my first bits of "road rash" - I'll take this 2 square inch bit thank you very much. I cringe when I think of seeing those guys in the pro peleton crash and slide across the road. Eeew. I landed on my backside and sure enough this morning it's all bruised back there. But it didn't stop me. I still had 3 more laps to do! And we turned around for two of them and went the other way around the lake. Didn't like that as much. Too rough and bumpy. So we did our last lap the "right" way around. But as we finished lap 5, I had to stop. I felt a hot spot on my left foot and I could not go on. So I stopped to rest my feet (and my knees, legs, arms, hands, shoulders, and everything else that was complaining by this time) and stretched my upper body a bit to relax my cramped shoulders. Had some water and a waffle and waited for M to get back to me. After a few minutes rest I was able to continue and finished the last lap in little pain.

So the suffering really began this weekend. Woohoo. I feel like we made some real progress actually. The pain near the end was informative, and I want to learn how to power through that or, preferably, prevent it. More time on the trainer during the week for sure.

Overall, I am so surprised how much I am LOVING this cycling thing!!! I feel so great afterwards and it's sooooo awesome that we have finally found something to do together that we both enjoy xoxo And it's getting expensive. It was inevitable. I had to get a new saddle. It arrives on Friday just in time for the weekend rides.

We rode a total of just over 5 hours this weekend and 80KM (50mi)! That's more than half the distance of the ride we're doing next month. OMG did I just say next month?!!! Breathe...breathe...we've got a lot of work to do to be ready for this thing. We will see.

I was a bit reassured when I looked up the biggest "climb" on this ride and found out it maxes at 5% -- so we definitely have to do the real deal trail some more. So many goals, so little time.

Shut up Gladys. And shut up legs.

Thanks for reading my ramble ;)

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