Last fall I wrote about how in the fall of 2011 I was going to ride in a long distance bike race in Tuscon, Arizona. 109 miles long. Then, I spent the fall half heartedly working out, and the winter bemoaning the Chicago Blizzard that crushed my will to leave the house. Needless to say, this spring it is time to hit the ground rolling.
I did what any person new to a sport and without a clue would do; I went and bought a decent bike. Then I did what any blogger would do and I began looking online for Chicago-area race programs, cycling programs and anything cycling related. I was quite sure I’d sign up for a few 30 mile races this summer, to help “prepare” me for the big boy in November. Ha. Ha. Ha.
That was when I realized how over my head I was. I mean, it was only last week that I discovered I’m not supposed to be wearing skivvies between me and my riding shorts. (Shudder.) I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I AM DOING. I’m also fairly incompetent while riding my new road bike with clip in pedals, as evidenced by the cab that I fell into (open window, head first, quite a sight to see I’m sure) and the pedestrian I wobbled into. I often yell warnings as I hurtle across streets, typically along the lines of “OUT OF MY WAY!!!”
That is when I realized, as any sane person would have done, that training for an endurance event is about a support team. So I did some more searching around and found an endurance program in the city that allows you to pay and sign up for a 13 week training course on riding a long distance bike event. I paid extra for the 2 day course on biking basics, in hopes that I stop tipping into things and learn how to change a flat tire- skills I’m told I will need. I also started emailing everyone I’ve ever known who has ridden a bike more than 20 miles, soliciting advice and suggestions on everything from proper hydration to bike etiquette.
As I’ve asked around I’ve discovered my friends who run marathons or compete in triathlons all have a built in support network- people who know more than they do and can help them train, and friends who are also training so they have buddies for long rides or runs. Suddenly the pieces began falling into place, and I was struck how silly I’d been to think I’d just wing this on my own. I found some friends who compete in triathlons and were looking for a cycling buddy, a role that I am happy to fulfill. This summer I’ll be riding at 7 in the morning on Saturday and Sunday, once with friends and once with my new endurance training group.
Losing weight, eating well, training for an event – sure, they are all ultimately up to you, but it seems so much easier to do it with some helping hands. Even if my helping hands led to me ordering this:
I leave all of you my unopened Body Glide tubes in my will. Trust me, the stuff is amazing- prevent blisters from new shoes, chafed thighs or a sore spot from a new pair of stockings. And, apparently, from your heart rate monitor during a 109 mile race.