I participated in a new MS ride this year that went from FIU’s stadium to Key Largo, and then back the second day. What an awesome ride!
The route on the first day was amazing. We went through some very pretty areas of Miami and Homestead (yes, they do exist). Road conditions were pretty good; a significant portion of the roads were actually brand new, which is a cyclist’s dream!
It quickly became clear that riding with a team is the way to go with this ride. In Orlando, there were hundreds of individual riders each year, so I had to quickly adjust.
I went with a small, fast group of about 6 riders. Everything was great, except for the idiot on the tri bike who had never ridden in a group before. You can always tell this by the number of times they look back over their shoulder. This guy looked back at me once every 10-15 seconds. Then, in the typical never-ridden-with-a-group triathlete fashion, he gets to the front for his turn to pull and surges like crazy, upping the pace 2-3 mph. This was happening at roughly mile 10 out of 75. It happened once and I stayed on his wheel, then it happened again and I just let him ride away, receiving praise from the other riders. Riding like that just isn’t smart during a long day in the saddle, not to mention it was a charity ride.
I joined a bigger group with Team Bacardi and rode with them to the finish. We averaged about 20 mph over 75 miles. It was an awesome day in the saddle, perfect weather, and a nice, easy pace.
I started with a group of riders and told myself I’d sit back and enjoy the ride the second day. When I realized we had been passed by just about every rider in sight, I had to make a move. Luckily there was a faster group within striking distance so I dug deep, crossed no-mans-land and hooked up with them. Unfortunately, it was a horribly organized group that would get up to 22-23 mph then instantly we were back down to 16-17 mph. The roads were very narrow and there was enough on-coming traffic to stay put and deal with it. As much as I am talking about speeds, I realize that’s not what riding is about, but this is the best way to give context to how inconsistent the group was.
Once we got out to bigger roads, the group stretched out a little bit. We finally maintained a solid pace only to be interrupted by a serious crash. At least two people went to the hospital and probably 5 were injured. The smell of burning rubber is one you never want to experience during a bike ride.
I ended up riding the last 20 miles or so with a very strong group of 10-15 riders. I was very grateful to have found them. We worked well together, took turns on the front, and stayed relatively consistent with a strong head wind.
Overall, this was a great ride. It was smaller and not as well-run as the ride in Orlando, but it’s still an amazing cause and they put on a great event.
First ride with my new helmet: Bontrager Specter.
I rode about 2 hours 20 minutes with this helmet and loved it. It is super comfortable and fits extremely well, though that will change for each person with their head shape. It was a cooler ride so I’m not sure how it will do in hot temps, but it is well vented so my guess is it will do just fine.
I shouldn’t complain about the weather, because we are above 0 degrees (well above, in fact) and there is no snow on the ground, but I will anyway. It’s been raining for the last two days. I try and run during the week as cross training, but it seems as though that’s not happening this week. I’ll be setting up the hamster wheel tonight and riding the trainer.
My wife rocks! Amazing Christmas present: ParkTool PCS-10 work stand. This thing will get some serious use.
Newest toy added to my collection. Picked this Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 up from a seller on Craigslist. It is awesome. Been wanting one for a while but a brand new one is about $1000 with tax.
I plan to so some fishing from it and use it as a great upper body workout. So far it has been a blast cruising around the inter-coastal.
There’s a guy on our Saturday group ride that has clip-on aero bars. Whenever I see someone show up to a group ride with them, they’re already a risk in my mind until they prove to me that they simply leave them on to avoid the tedious task of taking them off and putting them back on all the time.
This guys is a very strong rider. He’s a bit bigger than most, but has incredible power during sprints. As any decent cyclist knows, though, power means absolutely nothing if you don’t know how to use it. Last weekend, I spoke to him twice about using aero bars during our ride. The first time, I was right behind him when he got down into his tuck position, in the middle of our paceline. “Oh man, that is SO dangerous!” I yelled, after which he simply sat back up and rode on his hoods.
It happened again, later in the ride. I rotated off the front after my pull and as I made my way to the back, I noticed him in the tuck position. I rode along side of him and said, “You know, that’s extremely dangerous when you’re in a group.” He sat up and I kept making my way to the back, but heard him mention something about how it helps his back.
I have to ask, if he crashes and I end up dead or in the hospital, is he really going to tell my wife that he chose to put me and the group in danger because his back hurt? There are already so many hazards facing cyclists, especially in south Florida. I can’t understand why any cyclist would do something to increase the risk of an accident.
To those new to cycling, learn from this. You don’t want to be “that guy” or “that girl” that shows up and puts everyone else at risk. It’s stupid and dangerous. Don’t be an idiot.
Last Sunday was my first half marathon. I had been training since August and felt pretty well prepared for the race. I had an ankle injury about 4 weeks before the race that set my training a little off schedule, though I was luckily ahead of schedule anyway. I think I planted wrong on one of my long runs, which caused some major irritation in my Achilles and ankle. I babied it with rest and ice and although I could feel it on runs, it wasn’t too painful.
The day of the race was threatened by lots of wind and rain. People that drove up from Miami said the rain was brutal. The wind came, but I stayed dry throughout the race. Very thankful for that! I was hoping for a cooler, dryer morning, but it ended up hot and humid. At least it was dry.
I felt great until around mile 8 or 9. No injury I had experienced during training flared up, rather a new one surfaces: my IT band, and man was it painful. It caused me to walk several times and stop and stretch. I was able to finish, but this injury cost me some serious time.
My public goal was simply to finish, and under 2:30 for my first half. My “secret” goal was under 2:10. My Garmin moving time clocked in at 2:08 and change. Despite the injury, I was very happy with my performance!
Earlier this year, I set a goal: run a half marathon in 2013 and full marathon in 2014. Part one: check!