Monday, April 28, 2008

Big Weekend and Lessons For Grandma J

Last week's training was pretty typical, except that I had to miss yoga due to a board meeting. Monday was a 20 mile bike ride, Tuesday was a 3 mile run, Wednesday was hill repeats (3), Thursday was a 15 mile bike ride and Friday was a 4 mile run. And thanks to the ride I did Saturday morning, I had my first ever week of over 100 miles on the bike!

Saturday morning I did a pay ride in a little town just north of me. They had several options of mileage, but I chose to do the longest one at 62 miles. The team had the option to do a buddy ride or to do the pay ride, so I wasn't sure how many teammates would show up. I was pleasantly surprised at the number that did. We started off all together, but lost one of our slower riders right off the bat. Then we lost a couple more. We skipped the first aid station, but stopped at the second one and lost another rider there. So from about mile 12 to about mile 50, we had a 6 person pace group and we did really well. We kept a good pace going and kept rotating so that everyone got a chance to rest. It really is amazing how much easier it is to go fast when you are at the back of the pack. At 50, we lost 2 more and then at 55, one took off ahead of us to finish strong. It took right at 4 hours to travel that distance, but I felt really good when I got off the bike. Now I just have to add 40 something more miles to that and Tahoe will be a piece of cake! Ha!

And for Grandma J, I did this ride on my road bike. Grandma J has asked why I have two bikes. I have a road bike and I have a tri bike.

Road Bike (I know it's not a great picture, but I don't have time to take another one right now.)

When you ride in pace groups, you really need to be on a road bike. I can't do the fancy graphics like Grandma J, but when you ride a road bike, your hands are usually on top of the handle bars so that they are close to the shifters and brakes. Brakes are important in a pace group because you are really close to the riders around you and if a rider brakes or falls, you need to be able to stop. And even though riding in pace groups allows you to draft off each other and go faster than you would by yourself, pay rides like I did Saturday are just that - rides. They aren't races. People stop at the aid stations to use the restroom and grab food. You don't want to hang around for half an hour or anything, but you're not usually trying to speed through.

I have a tri bike for triathlons. In triathlons, you ARE racing and speed IS important. Most triathletes don't stop at the aid stations; they just grab a bottle as they ride by. In order to be more aerodynamic and go faster, it's best to ride in the aero position with your arms resting on the aero pads.
In order to be able to stay in this position for long periods of time, the shifters are at the end of the aerobars. The brakes, however, are on the the other bars on the outside (I can't remember what they are called). Therefore, if you are in aero position, your hands aren't anywhere near the brakes. It's illegal to draft off another rider in a triathlon, so you are not as likely to need your brakes as quickly in a triathlon as you would in a group ride. The tri bikes also have a different geometry so that when you are done with the bike portion, your legs are "fresher" for the run.

Hope that helped! If not, I'll show you in person when you come visit.

After that long ride, I headed home for a shower because we had things to do. We hit the grocery store and bought tons of food because we had family coming in. My family (mom, dad, brother and his family) live in the same town as we do. My husband's family all live about an hour and a half away. They were coming in for my daughter's confirmation at church on Sunday.

After the grocery store we went home and I finished the laundry and tried to rest for a little bit before they arrived. When they got here we went to eat. Then we came home and watched the weather because another storm was headed our way.

We woke up Sunday morning to thunder, rain and colder weather. But that didn't keep us from celebrating. We are Methodist, so my daughter was baptized as an infant. However, at her age kids go through confirmation and decide for themselves to live a Christian life and follow Jesus. This is what she did. So Sunday, she was confirmed and became a full member of the church.

After church we headed home to fix fajitas for everyone. We had a big, yummy lunch. After everyone left, we tried to relax before it was time to head back to the church for youth. The weekend was so full of activities, it just flew by.

Today was back to work. One of my teammates emailed me to see if I was planning to ride today. We ended up meeting out at the lake and riding out in the countryside. I took my tri bike today so I could get it out on the open roads (as opposed to riding it around the neighborhood). It felt great and we were doing 18-20mph. But the roads are country roads and they have potholes. And I hit one. And got a flat. In the middle of nowhere. Ugh. I hate flats. Luckily it was on the front tire, which in my opinion is easier to change. I got the tire off, pulled the old tube out, put the new one in, got the tire back on and aired the tire up. It took a while, but I did it. Thank goodness. Did I mention we were in the middle of nowhere? The tire held up the rest of the way back and we ended up with around 19 miles.


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Shauna said...

Congratulations to Madison. She is growing up! Sounds like a busy weekend. I'm glad for the explanation between the road bike and the tri bike. I'm clueless when it comes to the sport of cycling. Very interesting! Keep up the good work and training! You are amazing!

Grandma J said...

Thank you for the tutorial! It makes a lot of sense. I know it's important to be ready to break if someone else falls because I've seen pictures of the domino effect. Also for racing the aero-dynamics make sense...kind of like swimmers shaving their bodies for speed (less drag). I personally could never ever do a ride...even though I love bikes, but the beach cruiser kind. You are amazing changing your own tires!! Sorry about the flat.

Congratulations to your Madison on her Confirmation. I remember mine, it made me feel very grown up. In the Catholic church, the bishop gives you a sybolic slap (just a touch) on the cheek. It's really nothing but my brother had me thinking he was going to really haul off and hit us. It's to remind us of Christian Persecution I think.
I'm looking forward to seeing you again.

Anonymous said...


My name is Heather and I found your blog while Googling the Longhorn Triathlon course. I was hoping I could exchange a few e-mails with you as I begin my training. Because it's my first 1/2 Ironman, I'd really like to talk to someone who has done the course before.
If you have a chance, please e-mail me at

If you're busy, I understand...and best of luck in the upcoming season.