Saturday, March 7, 2009

"Ride" Number Two

You can't call it a training ride.

Well, as expected the weather made a turn towards warmth and I decided it was a good day to get back on the horse. Having made it three miles once before, my confidence was high, and along with my wife, we headed out to the Cheshire bike path for a nice Saturday ride.

Now, I suspect that no real cyclist would be caught dead on a bike path but the wife wanted to come along and I'm admittedly a noncyclist so I figure the bike path stigma is the least of my worries at this point. After some minor frustration I figured out how the trunk bike rack was supposed to attach to the car and started loading up the bikes. My loaner's tires were a bit low so I grabbed my pump and got to work. All of you real cyclists already know what I learned today...hand pumps are for emergency use only. Pumping up those skinny little tires up to 65 psi with that stupid little pump was ridiculous. My arms were on fire, sweat was beading on my forehead, and the whole time I'm thinking how nice it would be to own a floor pump right about now. Finally, I had enough air in the tires to get by, so I finished putting them on the car and Becky and I took off.

As mentioned before in this blog, I don't yet own any proper biking gear, so I'm decked out again in my wind pants and under armour jacket but today I didn't tuck in my pant leg. Instead I decided to try french rolling the leg of my wind pants. Anyone born after 1975 should know what I mean when I say french rolling your pants, and if you don't, rent Ferris Bueller's Day Off and you'll know. I thought it would look a little less ridiculous than tucking in my pant leg, but at the end of the day I don't think it worked. Anyway, we get rolling and things are going well. I'm feeling a little less like the town drunk on wheels and I'm even getting the shifting thing down. The sun is shining, it's warm, I look outrageous, but I'm having a blast.

Besides learning about the benefits of a floor pump, I also learned that your hands need to be in shape to ride a road bike. We were probably about 4 or 5 miles into our little ride when I noticed that my hands were a little crampy. The way you have to grip the handlebar is a little awkward and different and now the palms of my hands are starting to burn a little. I'm assuming that the more I ride, the more my hands will get used to this kind of abuse. So now as I'm shaking my hands out, I notice that the crowd has thinned a lot and up ahead I no longer see the nice black asphalt. For some reason, the black path gives way to a sea of white. It turns out they only plow a portion of this lovely bike path. There were footprints and a few bike tracks, but for the most part, the once clear and dry path was now covered with about 1-3 inches of melting slushy snow. Now granted I'm new to this whole road bike thing, but even I know that these little half inch wide tires are not meant to navigate through inches of melting snow. Luckily, Becky was on her mountain bike and had a little easier time driving through the snow, but it wasn't helping her stay dry. We were both now soaked where the sun don't shine by our icy cold rooster tails yet we plowed, literally, forward. We made it another few miles until the misery really started to sink in. At this point the only thing to do was laugh. I didn't have it in me to give up, but thankfully Becky did. At the next intersection we got off of the "path" and on the town roads back to the car.

We were pruned in places that I didn't know could get pruned, but we made it back to the car unscathed and headed home. On a bike shopping note, we stopped at Cheshire Cycle on the way home and found those guys to be very helpful. I'm getting closer to making a purchase so that's exciting.

I know this excursion still doesn't even resemble a real training ride, but at this point everything is a step in the right direction so I'm on my way.

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