Wednesday, June 22, 2011

First Flat, New Friends

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Hello, friends!  I've decided to take a moment to blog while my thoughts are fresh.  I just got finished with my 3rd overall group ride and my 2nd group ride with the Oklahoma Bicycle Society.  I've mentioned this fabulous group of individuals in one of my first entries.  They are an amazing group of people!  The first time I cycled with OBS, it was very windy.  This time the wind was down but it was in the upper 90s! YIKES! That's HOT for a girl from up north!

The OBS group ride features 3 different level groups from advanced, intermediate, to casual rides.  My first time I went with the casual ride where we biked around 12 mph for 25 miles.  Today I went with the intermediate riders and we were cruising between 14 and 17 mph!  Much faster! And boy, did it make a difference!

Good thing my "coaches" from last time were still around to guide me.  Last time I didn't get a picture of Smitty, one of my original coaches.  He's given me great advice these past 2 rides.  We talked about what to eat while riding.  He says some people say eating food versus the gels takes more energy due to your body working to digest.  I'll have to test it out.  In the end all I care about is what goes down the best without upsetting my stomach.  Another option is Jelly Belly "Sport Beans."  It's basically candy but better for you.  I'm a big fan.
Here are a few new friends I made along the ride, Pat and Andrew (I think your name is Andrew! Please correct me if I'm wrong, I'm bad with names!).  I chatted it up a bit with these two during the ride, although I couldn't talk quite as much this time due to the increased speed.  Sometimes I was out of breath!  Pat hooked me up with a sample of Chamois Butt' help prevent chaffing, ahem, down there.

There are several new things I've learned on this ride.
1. Pack plenty of water when it's hot out! I used both of my water bottles.
2. Apparently experienced riders are afraid of new cyclists because they don't ride in a straight line.  When I paid attention to my riding, they were right.  I wobbled a lot.  One of my new "coaches" suggested I use the white line on the side of the road to practice staying straight.
3.  You save 30% of your energy by riding right behind someone.  Even more if you stay in the middle of the "pack."  However, drafting will not be allowed for race day.
4.  Make sure to switch up positions on the handle bars and stand up to ride/stretch occasionally.  This will help the bum!
5.  If you fall behind, don't try to speed up to catch up with the group.  You will expend too much energy.  Just keep up a good pace and hopefully you will catch up with them in due time.
6.  Potholes = bad.

First Flat

About half way through the 25 mile ride I was struggling up a hill and hit a huge pothole at a fast speed. I knew it probably wasn't good for my tire but continued on and tried to catch up with the group.  After we turned a corner I heard a sound that just didn't sound right.  We stopped at a stop sign and I looked down to see, sure enough, I had a flat tire in the front!  So I yelled, "Oh no! I have a flat! What do I do?"  Thankfully, I am with a group of very helpful and friendly cyclists.
Two of the riders quickly came to my aid and helped me out.  The picture above is a reenactment :) I didn't have my camera with me on the ride!  He is one of the guys that helped me out though.  So here's what happened in a matter of minutes.  One guy took my wheel off, took the inflatable tire out from under the rubber.  The second guy (shown above) whipped out his repair kit that included a mini CO2 pump to quickly fill up a brand new inflatable band.  They put the new band in under the rubber and inflated.  Voila!  Apparently the front tire is easier than the back.  I will need to practice this for race day!
I will also need to purchase several more items.  I've said it before and will say it again...participating in a triathlon and namely CYCLING is expensive!  A few of my new friends showed me what pump I need to buy for my bike.  These pumps were about $35, so not too bad.  I need to buy cycle shoes and pedals as well as a bike bag and repair kit.  Oh, and "Chamois Butt'r" or "Hoo Ha Ride Glide"...yeah, that's really its name.

Finally, I realized what I am in for.  We started at 6pm, got back at 8pm...and that's less than half of what I have to ride for race day.  I'm in for at least 4 hours of cycling.  Holy crap.  I was exhausted from 25 miles.  How can I work up to 56 miles...after 1.2 miles of swimming and then have to run a half marathon? I've got some serious work to do! AH!

Thanks for reading and please spread the word and leave any comments or questions! Have a good one!

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