Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

I try to get fit by getting fit

This morning was my first ride with the downtown Carolina Triathlon group. I had been in the shop numerous times, but typically it was just to buy clothing. I wasn't sure what to expect. The shop is kind of bohemian and definitely "downtownish." I wasn't sure how I would fit in.

Turns out it was all good. Once you click in, I've found social status and all that stuff goes out the window. It all comes down to how you ride (Oh, ok, so I admit, having a trick bike does earn you bonus points).

Here's the route, I'll talk about my ride below.We started out kind of slow. As we headed out of town, I started off near the front. I made some conversation and then pulled up behind Ben - the shop manager. I recognized his Cervélo from the rear. Turns out, I had been following him through Cleveland Park on occasion earlier this summer. I always wondered who that guy was. Now I know.

I started wondering if we were going to continue taking our time to the base of Paris Mountain. Then things started picking up and it felt good to push it some. I did one long pull on the Old Buncombe stretch and then figured I'd better back off to get ready for the climb.

Just before turning up Altamont, I couldn't get my chain out of my big ring! I dropped from near the front to the back of the pack while trying to get it adjusted. Worse, it threw me off mentally. I was afraid I might have gearing problems later in the climb. I also didn't like being at the back, so I started off a little hot.

Up the first third of the climb I was averaging over 10 mph. On some of the "level" sections I was nearing 14 mph. I passed several of the folks that started up before me, but four or five guys were long gone.

By the time I reached the halfway point my speeds dropped to the 8 to 9 mph range. At this point I couldn't see anyone behind me and just one lone guy up ahead making his way up in a larger ring. The sight of him doing that so nonchalantly made me realize again how far I have to go. Soon he turned a bend and I was alone.

In the last third of the ride, I dropped one time to about 5 mph. My hot start was coming back to haunt me. The only way I could get myself going again was to move to a harder ring. I know that sounds weird, but I felt better there and my speed improved.

It was just as I shifted that I noticed a shadow behind me. Where did that guy come from! My acceleration dropped him for a moment, but by the time I reached the wall he was back on my rear wheel. As we made the final left turn to the KOM line he moved half a wheel in front of me.

Oh, I so didn't want him to beat me!
Then it was about a half a bike lead he had. I sensed at that point he let up. I shifted and stood on the pedals and we sprinted for top. I'll say we tied, but I did cross the official KOM line first. :-) It was great fun!

Turns out my climb was 14:20. That stinks. I had hoped I had beat the 14 minute barrier for good. That day will come though.

From there it was pretty uneventful back to shop. However, once back at the shop I decided to do something I had never done before. I asked Ben to do a bike fit for me.

Turns out there were some adjustments to be made - specifically to my saddle positioning. He also gave me some pointers on posture - which thankfully I was already doing and was aware of. My feet positioning could use some work. I also asked him about the pain I sometimes get in my back.

At times when I am giving an all out exertion - like interval training for the criterium where I am sprinting as hard as I can up a hill - I get a pain in my lower back that almost cripples me. It isn't a back muscle. It actually feels like an internal organ.

He told me this was my diaphragm. He said it was my breathing. I needed to do a better job using my diaphragm and bringing in air. I'll concentrate on that a little more and see if it will help.

The new seat positioning does help. Actually, it feels a lot how things were before I got my new Toupe seat. I'll keep it where it is for several weeks and see if I still like it then.

I missed my regular Saturday morning ride, but this was a nice change of pace. It was neat to meet some new people. Oh, did I mention the smoothies?



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