Loving my newfound strength on the bike. I think it’s a combination of weight loss, a bike that fits me right and mountain biking in the offseason. Whatever it is, I have to say it’s nice to at least hang with the pack for a little while. I’m still not up for 80+ mile rides at 20+ mph, but I can hang for 30 or so at that pace. I still feel like a bit of a Klingon (my term for the guy desperately trying to hang on to the back of a pack of riders by shamelessly drafting and not taking a pull) but I think a lot of that is confidence. I don’t “think” I can pull yet, so I chicken out.
I took a pull last night for the group of 4 that I was in, but it was right as I was turning and they were going on, so it wasn’t much of a measure of how well I could hang on, but it still felt good. Yes, I felt a little fatigued at the end of it but you are SUPPOSED to. And I recovered quickly. I rod the rest of the way back by myself and averaged right at 20mph so I felt good about that. My goal this year on the bike is to average over 20mph in a race. I was close last year at 19.8, but I think I’m ahead of last year on the fitness scale. I know I’m climbing MUCH better so we will see. I have no ambitions of topping 20 for anything more than a sprint distance race right now, but an Olympic would be a nice feather in my cap. IF… I get below 180lb and register for a half Iron distance race (I’m looking at YOU, Redman), that will just be survival. I just hope I come off of that bike leg with enough gas to run a half marathon. In short, I want to live. If all goes well, I will look at speed goals NEXT year.
My old bike, Ferrari that it was, put me in a really bunched up riding position. I had pretty much one riding position and couldn’t really move around a lot. My Valdora is totally different. Because the geometry on the bike is more relaxed, I can move around a bit in the saddle. Back to climb, a neutral spot to spin, AND a new spot for me. If I scoot all the way up to the tip of the saddle (it’s a Vision tri saddle so it is LOOONNNG), I can do this thing called “sprinting”. When I move up to the tip of the saddle, my head is right over the axle of the front wheel. It puts my legs in a completely different position and changes the muscle groups I’m using. I’m almost driving my legs back instead of down and if I hit the gas in this position, it’s like hitting a Nitrous button. I don’t know if I’m “supposed” to be in this position, and I fatigue these muscles pretty easy because I haven’t used them before, but for short bursts or a 5 minute break for my regular pedaling muscles, it’s awesome! I couldn’t do this on the old bike because I was already so far forward in my riding position. I know it may sound strange because I’m only talking about moving forward or back 6-8 inches, but it makes a huge difference in power and my ability to spin the pedals. Seasoned triathletes may read this and say “well, duh”, but it’s quite the epiphany for me and it really works.
The only thing I have left to play with is the bars. I have adjusted them a bit, dropped them down a bit, gone to a smaller stem, etc. But I will probably continue to play with them for a while. I still feel too upright when I’m in the aero bars. I need to have somebody look at my position and see if that is accurate or I’m just used to being too low. Either way, it’s comfortable so I’m not complaining. Just tweaking.
I’m sure these upper 70 to low 80 degree days portend doom for the heat that will come this summer. But for now I’m eating them up while I can. I ran almost 8 yesterday morning and then rode about 20 last night. Both good workouts. But a night spent being jolted out of bed by lightning WAY to close to the house and the subsequent visits from frightened children needing a bit of comfort (it was REALLY loud. Had to have been within 100 yards of the house…!), plus a bit of leg discomfort from the effort all meant that I didn’t sleep very well. So when I hit the pool this morning, it was ugly. I finally gave up after 1400 yards because what little form I have was falling apart. I was tired. Nothing wrong with calling it short and resting a bit.
I’m going to run the first 5K I have done in over a year tomorrow. I have no expectations other than to finish. I have not been training at redline, so I don’t expect to stay there for 3 miles. But I’ll run hard and have fun. It’s a bigger race for around here and with the good weather we might get close to 1000 people. It will be warm for this race (the first time I did it, we got snow), but there is a slight chance of rain. Then two weeks until the half marathon in Sedalia. The season is officially here!