Thursday, March 15, 2012

"New to You" Cross Training Challenge: Biking

While I was reading Just Trying is for Little Girls' blog today, I realized that I had already completed my March "new to me" cross training activity!  I guess Jillian Michaels 6 Week Six-Pack is going to have to wait until April!


I have actually already written a post about our first time biking, luckily it was in March, which you can read about, here.  Since that was just "practice" which is pretty evident in our triathlon training program, I am fine with calling yesterday my first time biking on a real bike in over 13 years.

Sorry this is the only photo I have of our bikes!

After a great run on Tuesday, don't worry you'll hear all about it on Saturday when I recap triathlon training week 1, Mike and I headed to the exact same spot yesterday to go for a 5 mile ride.

Side-note: we no longer have to take two separate cars nor take the front wheels off of our bikes to fit them in our trunks because we have a trunk bike rack!  It does have to come off each time we use it since I wouldn't be able to open my trunk, but it is nice to have.  I was driving like an old lady though since I was afraid our bikes would fall off.

When we arrived at Durand Eastman Park I was happy to notice that there weren't too many people at the park.  I am definitely NOT confident on the bike yet and I wouldn't want to hit anyone nor fall off!

We used our Garmins' bike sport mode and set off on our first real ride!  I was behind Mike and doing fairly well but I was really confused as to why my watch beeped for the first lap at what looked like .6 miles.  At one point while going up a hill in the wooded part of the trail I yelled to Mike that my watch wasn't working.  Since we had just been there the day before, I knew approximately where the mile markers were and my watch wasn't accurately reflecting that.  Mike told me that my watch was on virtual partner and all I had to do was touch the bezel and it would go to the normal screen!

We got going again and after reaching the top of the hill, we had to stop and decide what we were going to do.  I really didn't want to go down the hill since I haven't mastered my gears and I didn't want to feel like I was flying and out of control!  At the same time I didn't want to ride on the main road next to the park's trail and we just decided to head back the same way we came.

I coasted down almost the entire length of the hill and I even had to use my breaks occasionally!  I was really afraid of falling and I didn't want to hit anyone.  Some people walking were NOT paying attention and I came pretty close to colliding with them.

After getting down the hill, everything was smooth sailing from then on, almost.  When I got to the end of the park's trail I didn't see Mike.  Since I was pretty sure we weren't allowed to bike on the sidewalk (Mike later told me you could) I decided to try my luck at riding on the road.  When I got to 4.6 miles, I stopped my watch and got off my bike and waited for all of the cars to pass.  After riding back on the other side of the road, my watch beeped at 5 miles right across from where we were parked.  There was no sign of Mike!

As I was waiting to cross the road I finally saw him!  He had ended up riding on the sidewalk and didn't turn around until he hit 5 miles.

 Thanks for the comment Jenny!

In the end I rode 5.03 miles in 29:19 at 10.3 mph.  Overall it was pretty slow, I think anyway, but that is to be expected the first couple of weeks.  I really need to figure out which gear to have my bike in when I am going downhill/uphill!

Even though we are racing in a triathlon, I am still going to consider biking "cross-training" since we are technically just runners who are competing in a triathlon at this point.  I am not ready to call myself a triathlete just yet.  I think after we finish our first one I might be ready for the "title" change!

Do you know anything about bike gear settings?  Are you afraid of falling off your biking and going downhill?

24 comments:

  1. The more practise you get on the hills the more confident you will be... I used to be terrified while Danny would zoom off down them leaving me in his dust! I was really confused about the gears too and again, it came to me with time :) That doesn't really help does it?
    Great job getting back out there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I figured it would just take time, haha. It's annoying though since Mike and I can't learn together since I have a 24 speed bike and he has a 14 speed bike!

      Delete
  2. I have fallen off of my bike - luckily I fell into a bush. You'll get better, I know it!!!! and I do struggle with the gears. Just play around it and will get better.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no, I'm glad you were okay!

      Maybe one weekend we will just play around with it around our house.

      Delete
  3. I know nothing about biking but that sounds like a great ride to me! I'm terrified of falling off a bike which is probably why I only ride Allan's and when I do I go slow.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Suz!

      Nothing wrong with going slow, sometimes that all I want to do :)

      Delete
  4. First - love your blog - I've been reading for a while - this is my first time commenting. Is there any chance you could do some rides with an experienced cyclist? When I first started riding, a friend who is an accomplished cyclist took the time to do several rides with me where he rode beside me telling me every time to shift based on the terrain we were on. This taught me so much about "feeling" the road. The key for me was learning to anticipate a little and shift in order to keep my cadence consistent (for example, easier gear going up hill so I could keep pedaling at the same rate). It takes time and practice - this is my 14th triathlon season and just yesterday I was out riding with my husband and he was giving me a "springtime refresher" course in shifting on some of our hills. Keep at it - you'll be shifting like a pro before you know it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Kristi, I'm glad you like it!

      Mike's uncle is a cyclist and we could probably go on a few rides with him if we asked since he lives in Rochester too. That would be a good way to learn, thanks for the suggestion!

      Delete
  5. I've been riding a mountain bike with gears that had numbers that I could see on the shifters for the last year (until last week with my new road bike). My theory with shifting was to shift up if I could so that the pedals didn't spin too easily and I was getting more power per stroke. But I'm having to learn shifting all over again on the road bike. I love to go fast down the hills as I don't go very fast anywhere else. LOL I'm pretty comfortable on my mountain bike, but again - relearning all of that now that I am clipping in to the road bike. I think it is all a matter of getting Time In The Saddle (which also makes for a great acronym - ahem). Funny, I became a triathlete first and am now trying to build up to more running. I walked the "run" leg of my first two tri's last year, but I'm hopeful I can run at least part of them this year (albeit crazy slow).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea our bikes don't have numbers since they are road bikes too! We'll get it eventually!

      I'm confident that you will be able to run in your triathlons this year!

      Delete
  6. I'm glad you had a good experience your first "real" time out. As far as the gears go, I would just concentrate on keeping your cadence steady. If you are going downhill (and not coasting...nothing wrong with that of course) you would shift up to a higher gear. If you are going up hill, shift down to a lower one.

    I have a "hybrid" bike (part mountain bike, part road bike), and it has 21 gears (3 on the left, 7 on the right). I've put quite a few miles on my bike since I got it at the end of May, and I've found that for the most part I stay in the gear 3-5. When I go up a hill, I downshift to 3-4, and down a hill I upshift to 3-6 or 3-7. For you, I would find a gear such that you only shift one side nearly all the time (the right for me)...it is just easier to do that way.

    On the brakes, they say (whoever "they" are) that you should always apply your front (left side) and back (right side) brakes evenly. However, in practice I have found that using the back brakes gently provides better control, and I only use both (and never ONLY the front (left side)) brakes when I need to slow down relatively quickly.

    Slamming on the back brake exclusively "can" cause your back tire to lock, which can cause it to skid and possibly "fish tail". Not a horrible thing, but a bit scary.

    However, slamming on the front can cause your front tire to lock, which can cause you to flip over the front handle bars. This IS a horrible thing...I wouldn't recommend it.

    You two have fun !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the tips Michael!! My officemate told me that thing about the brakes too, I don't want to go over the handle bars!

      Delete
  7. Great job! For just getting started with tri training that is awesome. I used to bike a lot with my parents when I was younger, but haven't in a while. Usually the most biking I see is in Spin class at the gym!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks!

      I like spinning but it is very different from actual biking!

      Delete
  8. Good job! I love biking but have never done it competitively. My husband and I are looking into getting some nice new bikes though so maybe I will look into doing a duathlon(sp?)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You should definitely do a duathlon! We are doing one before our triathlon.

      Delete
  9. Great job!

    I'm still learning how to use my gears properly..they are all so confusing! I'm so sick of cyclists telling me "you should be so much faster for your fitness level..." yes, I'm aware I have awful bike handling skills, thx for the reminder!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea that would get annoying! Mike is telling me I should be faster, haha, and I know that I will but I'm still getting comfortable with everything.

      Delete
  10. Sounds like a great start! I have never done much outdoor cycling, although in Philly I did use my bike for some commuting around the city. So I became very comfortable biking on the road with cars, but didn't have to worry about hills and gears and pace... you'll continue to gain confidence with practice!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Laura!

      I hope I get more comfortable on the road, the trails around here can be very short (or so far the ones we have been on have been) and we have to stop often. I would love to just keep going!

      Delete
  11. I'm always afraid of falling off my bike. Going really fast down hills actually scares me. You will get used to your bike and will feel more comfortable though in time. :)
    Can't wait to hear all of week one's training details!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yea I don't like going too fast, I feel like I'm out of control! Hopefully over time it will get better :)

      Delete
  12. So excited to follow your training! I'm like you - the swimming is totally second nature - but man oh man, the biking scares my pants off!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jenn! Biking is getting better but I am still scared!

      Delete