Tuesday, July 25, 2006

July 2006 Bike Odyssey: Virtual Race to Traverse City, Michigan--26.5 miles down (I can't seem to add the map so I can't show how far this is)

Day 1: I couldn't wait for this day to start. I had been planning this first day since I first heard about our work "virtual race" to Traverse City contest. I had decided early on that the easiest and fastest way for me to reach the goal of 175 miles was to ride my bike--every day until I got there.

Five a.m. Monday morning came early, especially after doing the tri over the weekend and being at the beach late Sunday night. I knew I couldn't actually get on the road until at least 6:30 a.m., but nonetheless I woke up before the alarm. A quick check of the weather indicated it was likely we would have showers sometime that day, and my plan was to break my daily increments into two rides--one before work, the other after. I figured I could handle 25-40 miles a day that way, taking other aspects of my life into account as well. Today would be at least 25 miles.

Packed up the day's breakfast, lunch, and snacks, and added to that all the clothes I would need for 2 rides and work clothes. Its amazing all the stuff you have to bring on these early morning workouts when you know you won't be home for at least 12 hours!

It was darker this morning longer, a sure sign we were creeping slowly to the "darker" side of mornings. It wouldn't be much longer and morning rides before work would be out. :( But it was calm and the temperature was cool, calling for long sleeves.

I arrived at the park at 6:30 a.m. and quickly went about setting up my bike. Just like a transition sort of. I'm getting faster. Tires were okay, no need to pump today. Remember to do that at night when you have more time though! was a reminder I needed. Got on the bike and noticed my computer had not reset itself as it usuallt did. Probably because of all the rolling at the tri, it was still on that distance and time. So I was fiddling with that, already clipped in with one foot and wouldn't you know it! Toppled over and ended up with the bike on top of me! Great way to start this trip! Also first "crash" of the season and it had to be a stupid bike trick. Skinned up knee and elbow but nothing bleeding. Good reason to have long sleeves.

I decided to just take the river route since it was flat and fast and I knew how far to go before turning back. My computer is forever trashed and no one can seem to calibrate it properly, so I have to guesstimate on distance and keep track of time. That is something I will be getting new soon when the bike shop has its sale next week!

It has gotten fairly predictable whom I will see riding in the morning. I suspect some people are riding to work because of their backpacks, and I think that is great. Naturally they are all guys. I have thought of doing it, but you know, with the helmet hair and all. .. :) The others are the trash pickers, the ones with the fairly decent bikes (go figure) who scour the trash bins for returnable cans and who knows what other treasures that catch their fancy. There's also this old guy, I think someone said in his 80s, who rides 25-30 miles a day every day. That got me thinking, if he can do that, I can do this bike journey too.

The path was littered with lots of sticks, twigs, and sand, the aftermath of last week's storm. You have to be watching the whole way to not run over the stuff or wipe out in the sand traps. But at least no traffic. No one fishing today either.

Lots of thoughts go through my mind as I pedal away. Keep it easy, don't try pushing the pace. You've got a lot of distance to cover, no need to hurry that much. Here's the workout time where I question whether or if I will ever do an Ironman race. This is just the type of schedule I would need to keep. Is this something I can and be willing to do for probably 5-6 months?? Then of course today I'm doing the math on this bike thing. If I do 25 today...I could do 15 this morning, less than an hour...that would only mean 10 tonight (when I have all this other stuff to do). Maybe I could run tomorrow. No, stick with the bike for now. Use running as a Plan B....On and on it went.

Fifteen miles, 53 min. Okay, not bad. Hurry to get to gym and get dressed for work.

As the morning unfolds, I have told a couple of people about my ride and fall this morning and they are very encouraging. Then the e-mail chatter starts about Lake Placid. I had totally forgotten it was IMUSA this past weekend! So the e-mails begin with Frank saying he is signing up. Then Dan, then Libby, Mike, Melissa, Deb, Pat and of course our own Shelley. I knew she would jump on this. So it looks like another party next July! It was unbelievable how fast it sold out. And it was pretty obvious how addicting IM is to all these people. They just can't keep their fingers off that "Send" button!

At noon I had to take my car in for a paint job, to fix the lovely scratched up mess someone bestowed upon my vehicle while I was away at IMCDA--$1200 worth! I was going to need a loaner and of course I had to make sure it would hold my bike! I arrived at the place and the woman there was very accommodating about the bike thing. I explained about the contest and the triathlon thing, and she made sure the car they loaned would hold my bike. Yes, it did, wheel off, stuffed in the back seat, but that's what I used to do with my old car, so not a big deal. As luck would have it, the only pop-up storm on the radar had to hit at that exact moment in time while we were doing all this, so would have gotten soaked had she not held an umbrella over me the whole time! Thanks!

Get back to work, and the IMUSA e-mails continued. I wasn't going to get much work done today! Missed my chance to really eat my lunch, not just the salad and yogurt I had packed. I wasn't that hungry right then, but I was thinking of the second workout later.

Five o'clock couldn't come soon enough and I was out the door in a flash, change, and hurry to the park. My phone rings just as I am pulling up. Dang! My daughter. I don't talk to her very often so quickly talked, told her I would call later. I was on a hurry-up-and-get-this-ride-done mission because I still had to shop for dinner and stop at the cemetery. It was hot (91 degrees), and I was hungry and crabby. Lesson learned: don't skip lunch! Snacks don't cut it.

I started my second bike ride of the day, grumbling. :) Man, was I crabby! I know I only got about 5 hrs. sleep the night before, so that would have to change tonight, but I was already contemplating the delay getting home and to bed. Meeting up with my sister later so we could go to the cemetery was an exercise in patience, because she was never ready for anything when she was supposed to.

I pedaled on and my legs felt surprisingly good. I was actually pedaling at 17 mph without any effort. Flat and fast, I think I will keep with that again today! But then for some reason, half-way into my short ride I decided to take another part of the path, away from the river. Too late I spotted a tree down across the road, apparently from last week's storm still. It was very windy out, but I don't think that had just happened. So, turn back and head over the river after all. Ah, the wind. Yet another factor in this ride. It was easy going out; so much for the 17mph returning! Going back was not going to be as quick, and I soon tired of having the wind in my face. I really wanted to get this over with now. Then my phone rings yet again! Aaagh! I was tired enough I just decided to stop and answer and it was Don. Yeah, I'm on the bike. Yes, again! Talk to you later! Grumble some more and get going.

Heading back, I was going to have to cross the bridge over the river. As I approached, I could see a rider coming from the opposite direction. I would be making a right turn, he a left turn. I had the right of way, and I was there first, but guess who was rude and cut me off?? "I thought I could make it before you did" was his lame excuse, causing me to veer over and into a branch that had fallen and I hadn't seen in time, but avoiding another crash. "Yeah, thanks. I know your ride is more important." Like I said, I was really, really grumpy. I do not like these after work workouts, especially when I already had done one that day!

Was I going to make this journey? I was negotiating and renegotiating the whole distance, how to do it, etc. and before I knew it I missed another turn to go back! Rats! I need to get done. I have at least 2 hrs. ahead of me before I can get home! So I gladly turned in the middle of the road and went back. Hurried back to the gym for a quick shower and discovered my lower back was very tight! Very tight. Great. Nothing hurt on the bike. Nothing feels pulled. Then I realized it might be the loaner car. The seats were quite a bit different, and I am extremely sensitive to any change in my car seat. Stretch some and I am able to stretch but the soreness is there. Shower and realize how good that feels. But I was drained. It was creeping up on me.

In that moment, I decided I was not going to wait for my sister to go to the cemetery. I was going to shop for groceries and then go by myself. That way I wouldn't have to be waiting around for who knew how long for her. I was really miserable my back hurt so much. Shopping was a chore, and I had to stand around for more than 10 min. to get something I needed when no store personnel was anywhere near to help out. I paged 5 times before someone showed up! (Reminder: file a complaint on their on-line survey!) So then I am running later and later. It is after 8 pm! Its dark out too, with black stormy clouds moving in. Storm warnings were for other areas, but it was obvious we could get hit too. Hurry to the cemetery and decide I can't feel guilty for hurrying this along. The basket of flowers we put there earlier in the spring still looked nice. The flowers I brought that day I realized when I arrived were wilted and falling apart, and with the wind, they were pretty much almost done for by the time I got them arranged. Sorry mom. I'll have to come back later this week. I kept telling myself not to feel guilty. There really was no need to bring anything, but again my sense of obligation got the best of me.

I headed home, feeling so tired and achy and was glad to get dinner, clean up and go to bed! I could barely keep my eyes open by the time it was almost 10 pm. Tomorrow would be another day.

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