Friday, April 9, 2010

I cant believe it's only 9 days away

Wow! 9 days! It doesn't sound right! This will be only my seond triathlon. I feel ready. I am ready?! I want to know who I am! Am I fighter?! I fought most of my life in the projects! Can I push it when it hurts! It hurt everyday when I was drinking.  Am I rambling? I think so. Can I push it when it hurts I asked?! It is easy to say yes! But will you ever know? 9days! Get some! (sorry that came from the old Army days lol)

I did my last long ride two days ago. It was about two days too days but it too was a good ride (hehe did I use too, too many times?!). I was riding some windy flats in the Blakeney area of Charlotte. This area is near the TrySports triathlon store and is known to have some good rides. I hit the flat roads for a while and it was getting boring because it was a 10 mile out and back so the scenery never changed. While on the route, I saw what appeared to be route markers painted on top of the asphalt. I looked at how many miles I had left to ride and decided I would explore a bit.

There were two markers on the road. One was a blue circle with a triangle on top that indicated the route- i.e. continue straight and turns. The second was a tan/ faded orange box with a triangular direction indicator. Since the loop I used had a lot of the blue circles, I decided to follow that route.

What a great route. It took me outside of Charlotte into a town I never heard of called Marvin, NC. I lived in Charlotte almost a decade and never heard of this town! From Marvin, it took me into Waxhaw, NC. At this point I decided I needed to turn around because I was on my last bottle of fluids. It was a really nice route in the country! I went from urban Charlotte, NC to country within 10 miles.

The route offered some challenging climbs. At one point, I was doing 5-8 mph up a climb that seemed to go on for about a half mile! That was a bit of a spirit breaker but it was an awesome challenge. The roads on this route never seemed to be really flat. It was either up hill or downhill! The road was extremely scenic, challenging and a pleasure to ride. I can’t wait to jump off this demanding ride and do some runs! The best part!!!!!!! On even a short 30 mile ride I would get honked at least 3 times and nearly killed once! I never felt like I was in danger from passing vehicles. There weren’t a lot of traffic signals which meant more continuous pedaling which is always exciting. I hate the stop and go of riding in the city.

Oh, I have to add one more thing, while on the route I learned something that I already knew but never really followed. A higher cycling cadence makes it easier on the legs. I usually grind my gears and stay around 75 rpm’s. For me, I just feel sturdier on the bike around that RPM because I can “feel” the bike under my legs. While on this route, and a previous route I have been passed by other cyclist. One thing I noticed was these guys obviously had higher RPM’s; they were really moving those legs.

When I was passed by this particular cyclist, who was about my build but a LOT younger, I decided I was going to shift down and really start spinning my legs. I noticed and immediate difference! I was able to catch up to this cyclist and even felt strong enough to pass him. I decided not to pass him because part of that would have been feeding my ego and nothing is gained from that! Besides, this guy just taught me a valuable lesson. He eventually went left and I went right. I wanted to ride with him but at this point I was out in the country and had no clue where I was!

One last thing I learned on this ride. After having the damage to the bike, I decided my shifting habits were not going to work so I needed to find the correct way to shift since for the last two years I pretty much “taught myself.” When I took the bike to Inside Out Sports I talked with their bike mechanic Craig to learn proper shifting technique. He taught me about soft pedaling and explained where the tension is on the chain and why soft pedaling is needed.

Soft pedaling is probably the equivalent of using the clutch on a manual transmission. When we shift gears on a car we don’t just let the clutch out quickly; the car could stall. Instead, we ease the foot off the clutch until the gear catches. It is the same idea with soft pedaling. When switching from the big ring to the small ring, I stop pedaling momentarily, change gears, then lightly pedal until the gear catches. I noticed on this particular bike it makes a happy clicking sound. This sounds totally different than the chain flying off and grinding into the carbon sound! I LIKE the happy sound! I look FORWARD to the happy sound!

I used the soft-pedaling technique on this ride and it was an eye opener. All this time I was doing it wrong! I was “popping the clutch.” I can tell you because of this technique I was more confident in my shifting than ever before. Having the K –Edge Chain Catcher was a great backup too. I didn’t have a single issue with shift or the chain falling off. Imagine that! When you shift using proper technique you don’t have issues hmmmm. Who knew?!

Well, Im excited about being in the taper phase of training! Nice and easy until the big day! 3 more working days before vacation!

P.S. I order the last of my custom decals for the bike. It says “It is finished.” These are the last words of Jesus on the Cross. These words mean a lot to me. John 19:30. This will compliment the Labarum that is posted on the seat post of the bike. There is really good history behind the Labarum.

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