Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Startling Conclusion

This is the kinda thing that freaks me out about riding a bike.  Even more so on an EXPENSIVE bike.
Opposite of what one of Lance Armstrong's books is entitled, for me, on my ride yesterday I realized that it IS about the bike.  It is a love-hate relationship and the bottom line is that I do not trust the bike.  And just like any relationship without trust, my affair with the bike is also dysfunctional.

I don't know if it is because it is a used and a demo bike that I don't trust it's soiled history.  The scratched, scarred and obviously abused frame and components, or is it because the staff at the bike shop sort of jerked me around a little, not bad but enough to make me question the integrity and the authenticity of the product?  Did I get a lemon?  And the money... holy crap, the money that I have spent on this bike and put into it really freaks me out.  I just don't see how something so expensive (and in way fragile) just won't up and break on me at the worst possible moment.

Then there is the carbon fiber frame which to me is nothing but glorified plastic.  Maybe I would have been more confident getting something with an aluminum frame AND a hard-tail.  Or if I got a carbon fiber frame, maybe I should have gotten a hard-tail.  Why?  The frame "creaks" around the joint for the lower swing arm and it isn't the hinge but the frame itself popping and pinging whenever I apply a lot of force and torque the frame.  In my mind I can just see the components there just shattering at the most inopportune time.

Tubeless wheels and tires... now there was an adventure.  When I bought the bike they couldn't tell Larry and I if the wheels were setup for tubeless tires or not.  It took some money and some time and finally Craig at Pro Cycling was able to tell me exactly what I needed.  This was after Larry and I gave it a more than gallant effort one Saturday afternoon.  And though I have been running tubeless for well over a month or two now, because of all the agitation and frustration it gave me in the beginning trying to do that conversion, again, a lack of trust and confidence arises.

And to get a little personal... my butt hurts!  I had the bike fitted professionally to me by Branden at Pro Cycling and it made a huge difference but that damned seat!  Of course it could be the seat, or the chamois in the cycling bibs and other layers I am having to wear or it could just be my skin.  Maybe a combination of it all.  But I have a blister that has been plaguing me for about three weeks now.  It isn't as bad as it has been and the shorts that I wore yesterday I think really helped, but when I look at the bike I see, think and feel, "pain in the ass," literally.

Training on a bike is not without discomfort either. It isn't just going out for a lackadaisical cruise laughing and giggling along the way.  Nope. It is hard.  For starters it is DAMNED hard to get the heart rate up on a bike because it just doesn't work the same as running.  Then there are drills, like track repeats that thrown into some rides that are dreadful.  Pedaling at max effort in the largest gear going up a hill, all out for a minute.  Holy CRAP!  I have finished quite a few of those on the edge of puking and cross eyed as hell.... almost blind.

The hours are bad too... For an outside ride the timing has to be perfect right now.  I have to time it so that I get out during the warmest part of the day and while there is good daylight to ride in.  Often I sit and watch the thermometer waiting for the temp to get above x degree for the better part of a day before I head out.  But even then I am almost guaranteed to get cold and chilled at some point.  Last week I almost took the dog poo bags out of the dispenser in a park to put over my socks in my shoes to help hold in some heat.  No joke.

Cycling has an element to it that running does not.  Wrecking.  Of course you can fall trail running and get banged up, twist and ankle, but the dangers are not quite the same on a bike.  I fear cars, unseen obstacles, other riders, and in the case of the bike and not trusting it, a mechanical failure like the brakes giving out and me sailing off the edge of the road into the scrub oak to never be seen again.

As a neophyte cyclist I have to say I have nothing but respect for anyone who has mastered the sport. And I have to add in the wake of the Lance Armstrong scandal, I know that I am getting worked by riding but I can't even begin to comprehend the betrayal those way more talented, and harder working racers who kept clean must feel.  Some people give their lives to this thing while I am merely a tourist.  I sure hope we don't see anything so drastic in the ultra running community.  I will say that.

Hopefully with more time and experience I will gain more confidence in both the bike and myself.  I sure hope so or else all of this or for naught.  I just need to keep my eye on the prize and focus on the race June 29th, then the seven weeks after that.   Just do the work.  But I can tell you that as a fish out of water this is truly an eye opening experience and an education.

On a good note... Progress! I weighed in this morning at 140.0 for the first time in I don't know how long.   Again, I just have to trust that it is all going to come together in a few months.  :)

Imagine putting these three plates in pack and running.  That is the extra weight that I was carrying all autumn until I started dropping in December.  All of it is gone now! 

1 comment:

  1. That's what I envision happening to my bike every time I go over a big rock. That, and my circa 2004 carbon fork head cracking and sending me over the bars.

    Then I realize I probably don't ride hard enough to break anything.