Monday, March 31, 2008

Mercer Island Loop ride

I think I made up for a weak training week this weekend. On Friday, I got off work on Friday, hit the ProClub and did my swim homework then I did some interval training on the treadmill. I decided to go out on Friday night and because of this, I could not wake up for the Saturday cycling workout (oops). Instead I went for a run. I ran 4 miles before my feet started to hurt. I got these new orthodics and the arch was hurting my feet so I stopped.

On Sunday, I decided to do a Cascade Training Series (CTS) ride. We met at Magnuson park and when I got there we were put into speed groups and marked with colored ribbons. Since I am new to cycling I went with the slow RED group 12-14 mph.
I took my bike out on the Burke last weekend and had a really good time. This made me a little over confident. The Burke is a really easy ride, there are no hills, no traffic, and the road is nicely paved.
I got a big reality check yesturday - I was not ready for this ride but I finished it. But boy did I learn a great deal. It was 68km of hard work according to my bike computer and I am still really sore from the ride.
When I arrived there was a pretty large group of bikers on site. At the front there was a table for signing in as well as a bunch of organizers for the ride. Each color group had 3 ride leaders, one to lead the pack, one in the middle and one at the end. I was a little worried as I had never been out on a real road before, biked in a big group of people, nor did I know how to change a flat.
The ride leader took the RED group out, there was about 15 of us. The start of the ride took us through various neighbourhoods, thus there was a lot of stopping and going. It was grey outside, but there were still a handful of other riders on the road. Some were really geared up and looked like they stepped out of the movie Tron.
I'm not really comfortable on my bike yet. I find that I need my pedal to be at 3 o'clock on my right side or else I can't get started quickly. Also, stopping after you have come down a really steep hill is difficult and starting on a hill is hard too.
We went over I90 bridge on the way over and back. It was really, really fun. One thing about that portion of the ride is it is really windy and noisy from all the cars but the view was quite nice.
We didn't hit any hills until Mercer Island. There were some rollers, some really curvy snake like roads where we were told a lot of bikers wipe out on and big hills. One of the hills was so steep I had to get off my bike and walk it. Towards the end of the ride, there was this steep hill we had to go down and I could not slow down in time and almost ran into a car! Luckily they slowed down and stopped.
Just before we got back, ride leader Mitch got a flat. But that time, the entire group had separated into various smaller groups. So I he showed me how to patch up a tire. Then he got another flat. Then he showed me how to replace the tube of the tire.
When we got back to Magnuson park, Mitch told me to go practice a few times before our next ride at Marymoor park next Sunday. It will be a 43 mile ride and very hilly. He also told me to get clipless pedals and another water bottle.
To sum up this ride, I thought it was really fun. It took us over 3 hours though! I was so exhausted. I did not expect it to be so scary. I was so tense and probably tired myself even more because of it. One of my biggest fears has always been going too fast. But when you are riding in a group and don't know the way back you have to keep up. I slam on the brakes way more than I should, but I'd rather be safe then sorry.
Things to work on this week: hills and clipless pedals

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