3/27/05 The Interloper (226)

Happy Easter. Hope the E.B. left you low sugar treats in your basket. I rode with the TNT cycling team up to Piermont — what a nice bunch of people. Of course by the time we were heading back I was thinking of signing up for the Tahoe Century ride. I am so glad TNT got a hold of me before the Hare Krishnas — I sign up for anything. I’m such a sheep.

I was anxious to get on my bike mostly because I have a triathlon in 4 weeks and have barely been on my bike all winter. I was doing spinning classes, but that’s not the same. Our last bike GTS I basically round around helping out the newbies and didn’t put any real effort on my bike.

The ride to Piermont is really a good bike trip — lots of nice hills. It’s 30 miles roundtrip from the Jersey side of the GWB and I guess I’m about 7 miles from there so I guess I put in 44 miles and I felt like I could do it twice without a problem. I was not any faster — particularly uphill I’m still a slug. The big improvement is in my lungs. I wish I could explain what is going on with them — it feels like I have them for the first time! I can really breathe full deep breaths. It used to feel like there was something blocking me getting down deep into my lungs and I could never really get enough air in there. The ride was joyous for no other reason than I just kept breathing deeply and reveling in my depth of breath. I can imagine what suffering asthmatics go through — must be awful to never feel like you can get a full breath of air. What a simple blessing it is. I’m so happy to be able to breathe that I could care less about my speed.

The cycling coach was very nice and funny! He is a hoot and a half — very dry sense of humor. I confessed that I was an interloper and just tagging along because my mentee from the Memphis Tri was also doing the Tahoe Century so I came along to ride with them. After ribbing me about sneaking into the group, he gave me a really good pointer about going up hills. He said my leg motion was really good on the flats, but going up hills I pump them too much like pistons. That’s true that’s what I was trying to do — I thought that was what I was supposed to do. He said no — he told me to try to kick my butt with my heels and not use my quads on the uphill — try to transfer it to the butt and hamstrings. Wow, that was a totally different feel. Can’t wait to try it again. I think that alone will save me a lot of stress on my quads for NYC. (St. A’s and Memphis are pretty flat so I don’t think it will matter as much there.) Of course then there is always my triathlon coach’s method of getting me up the hills — he chases me on his bike yelling for me to go faster — that works too.

Everybody in the group was a pleasure to ride with — all different speeds and since I ride all different speeds, sometimes I was with the fast people and sometimes with the slow people. I adopted a couple of the slower people and made them my unofficial mentees, they were great.

As I was riding up to meet the group over the GWB (George Washington Bridge), I realized how much I had missed being on my bike. If my knees don’t get better and I can’t run — I’m just going to become a long distance swimmer and long distance biker — I could be happy with that. After the marathon and Ironman of course.

The thing that is just so great about doing triathlons is there no shortage of variety. You get totally absorbed in three different sports. I can talk endlessly, no REALLY I can (LOL), about any of these sports. They all fascinate me. Swimming, running, biking. If you get fed up with one just switch to the other. Can’t focus on my running today? No problem, focus on my cycling or my swimming and vice versa. My knees felt great on the bike — they always feel better after biking.

So all in all today I feel good. My lungs were working, got in a good ride on my bike so I don’t have to freak out about whether I can ride in Florida in 4 weeks. I’ll see Cynthia tomorrow and she’s going to help me get my knee caps fixed. My orthotics should be ready some time this week. Great way to end/start the week.

Namaste

In honor of getting my bike on the road today, I thought we should read a pearl of wisdom from Sir Lance:

“Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”

Lance Armstrong

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