February 16, 2008

A Cyclist

Monique always asks me, “do you feel like an athlete?”. I usually don’t know to be honest and the reason that she asks is because we do all these races with little training or planning for that matter. A day or two later, when it sets in and we look back we have to laugh and think about how we got away with another race under our belts with little training or planning. Spur of the moment bliss?

Training, however, can take on a number of meanings. We are stoked to race enough to keep us mentally ready and we get enough training from all the “activities” we do so that we don’t fall out of shape. I once read about someone stating “I don’t run so I keep in shape …rather, I keep in shape so that I can run”. That about sums up reasoning behind our training so far. .. We are also lucky enough to have the benefit of a good diet (thanks to Monique’s fabulous cooking!) that also helps a ton.

But a cyclist? Even if I never thought I would be a spandex wrapped roadie I knew I needed to build some pretty good endurance on the bike this year to serve as the foundation for the longer events I am planning on . . .but never thought of myself as a cyclist. An athlete. I guess we have “got by” so far but with this year’s schedule I am challenged just enough to push out of my comfort zone an into an athlete’s training routine. Tired from a few weeks of a build phase and more cycling that I have ever done in a month I headed out on a ride today and forever changed my view of being a cyclist.

Round Mountain. We did a ride on new years that was about 40miles and had a nice little climb right in the middle. Up and around the mountain. I was pretty beat from the long rides lately, two runs this week, two swims and a weight session last night (I guess I am training this year!) but I wanted to get out on the road and ride. I decided that the round mountain would be a perfect gauge for fitness test on the bike. It has about a 10min ride on a the flat bike path on the way out and back for a warmup/cooldown and lots of turns, flats and climbs. A good mix to test bikes and fitness. I was off and “testing” how I would feel until I left the path and would determine my pace from then on.

I felt great…more than great. Tired from a long list of workouts but so stoked to be in a “habit” of CONSISTENT rides. The turning of my legs around and around felt natural. It felt so good. I have all my gear worked out, my clothes packed, food setup, IPOD loaded with everything from PODcasts, worship music, books on tape and rock and roll. I was comfortable and with that came power, endurance when I didn’t think I could go on and a low heart rate because I am finally adjusting to all this “exercise stress”. I wanted to ride all day and not because I had to…I wanted to more than ever. Even on the road which I have never had that feeling before. “I want to ride my bicycle” song was in my head all day.

Back at work I ran downstairs to the coffee shop to get a turkey sandwich, bagel, banana, double tall cappuccino, tea and two waters. I was hungry. While I was waiting on the cappuccino and stretching, the girl behind the counter asked if I was from the yoga class next door. I said, “No, I just got back from a little ride”. Then she said, “Oh, yeah… You’re a cyclist I see”. I said, well, yes…I guess I am. . . .

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