Now that I have put in some miles on my Jamis Allegro Elite, I’ll “fill you in” on what’s been going on with my newest obsession: road cycling.
Here are the training rides that I have done thus far:
On Saturday, 7/21, I dived in head-first into cycling. The only time that I had rode my new bike prior to 7/21 was the day that I picked it up. I didn’t track that first ride with my Garmin, but it was a short ride that lasted 30 minutes. The 07/21 ride ended up being a longer distance than expected. I can’t run anymore because of my back injury, so on 07/21 I decided that I would ride my bike while my friends ran their route. So, I put in a nice 9.46 mile ride, and enjoyed a skinny vanilla latte from Starbucks afterward.
I had so much fun that I rode the following day at home. Just a short ride around the neighborhood, just like during my childhood. I rode down the hill in front of my house, then past the middle school. There are a couple of challenging inclines, but the down hill inclines on this short route are so worth it. I love that each ride I’m getting a little bit stronger, building a little bit more endurance, and also getting a little faster.
Then, during the week, I rode the Lakeshore trail a few times, and also rode around my office a little.
Saturday, 7/28, I joined the runners again. This time at Brookwood mall for the Birmingham Track Club social. I thoroughly enjoy a good bike ride, then having coffee after.
The most fun I’ve had thus far has got to be the long (long for me) ride this past Monday, 07/30. I got permission to join the beginner ladies-only group ride that meets up Monday’s at 5:30pm at Birmingham Bicycle Company. Riding in a group is so much fun! The ladies taught me a little about drafting, hand signals, and about riding in a pace line. There were some killer down hill runs on this route. This group was a no-drop group, so I always had someone behind me. I thought it was really great how every person is there to aid and protect the group. The rider in the back would announce if a car was approaching, the leader would signal when turning and braking, and the leader would also signal when there were road hazards, such as gravel and pot holes. We really worked as a team to cover our route. We also confirmed that I stink at climbing hills; a common problem for new riders. However, I learned to use down-hill runs to catch up with the group. I felt so bad for the lady behind me when we were going up hill. I really didn’t mind being left behind, but she stayed with me. (It’s more difficult to slowly go up hills.) I was so proud that my stamina allowed me to cover the entire 18 mile route! I’ll slowly develop my hill and gearing skills, and eventually will keep up with the ladies on the hills. Anyway, I’m itching to get back out with a group!
I made a couple of big no-no’s on this long ride:
- I left my water bottles at home. (They were in the drain board in the kitchen.) Water was necessary on this ride because it’s really hot and humid out! Fortunately, one of the ladies brought two water bottles, and let me use one.
- I don’t have a blinky light. It just makes sense: If I’m gonna ride on the road, I need a blinky light for safety. I’ll pick one up before going back out on a public street.
My latest ride was this morning. I did almost 4 miles just riding around my office.
I knew when I started riding there would be some issues with the bike because of my ”extra awesomeness” also known as being overweight. I’m sure this bike wasn’t intended to be ridden by a 321 pound mammal. Here’s the list, so far, of technical issues (some aren’t related to weight.) :
- The seat was really uncomfortable to my unmentionables. The guys at the BBC (Birmingham Bicycle Company) said that my seat needed to be leveled. Well, when they went to level it, they realized that my seat was bent. Yep, too much awesomeness for that seat! Anyway, they leveled the seat, and I’m monitoring things to make sure that the seat stays level.
- My rear wheel became unbalanced during my ride on 07/28. It’s not out of the ordinary for this to occur with new wheels, but we’re a little nervous about it. Jason at the BBC trued the wheel for me. In addition to monitoring the seat, I’m also monitoring the wheels. They might not be strong enough for my weight. Hopefully the worst that would ever happen would be that I lose a spoke. Fortunately, an unbalanced wheel is noticed quickly after it becomes unbalanced. Anyway, new wheels might be in my future.
- Non-weight related: My pinky and ring fingers on both hands have gone numb every ride. Right now my right ring finger has been numb since Monday. I bought some gloves yesterday to help prevent this from happening. I believe that I’m going to need a shorter handle bar holder, to bring the handlebar closer to me. This should take pressure off my hands and also allow me to keep my back straight instead of being hunched over.
- Non-weight related: The grips do not stay in place. They rotate around, and the left one has almost come off during a ride. The guys at the BBC ordered me some new grips that have a set screw to keep the grips from spinning, and from coming off the bike.
- Non-weight related: The chain has come off a couple of times while riding.The first time it happened, I took it in to the shop because I didn’t know how to put the chain back. (I felt like an idiot when I saw how simple it was.) The it happened again during my long ride with the ladies group. Jason put a guard on the bike to prevent the chain from coming off again.
- Non-weight related: I’ve been having trouble shifting the front gears. When I go from the smaller ring to the larger ring, sometimes it hangs up. I can continue pedaling, but have to keep trying to shift. Jason continues to make adjustments, and I also keep trying different techniques to change the gear, such as stop pedaling and press the shifter down all-the-way, then pedal. This seems to help a lot.
Last Week’s Weigh-In: 318 LBS
Today’s Weigh-In: 321 LBS
Loss for the week: +3 LBS
Starting Weight 02/01/09: 632 LBS
Total Weight Lost Since 02/01/09 : 311 LBS
Goal Weight: 232 LBS
LBS To Go: 89 LBS
I’ll do my best to do better this week.