My relationship with my bicycle is very much real - some days we are in sync moving together freely, other days I worry about the commitment, and the pressure builds, especially on unlubed body parts. Time is not on my side, seeing that I registered for this ride at the beginning of March, but I hope that my legs and bum can prepare themselves for the long journey ahead only ten weeks away.
Sundays are not a day of rest like they are supposed to be. Rather, they are for testing my abilities in going the distance. This past Sunday Mike took me out for a 65 mile ride, and the week before we went 50. Slowly tacking on miles to reach my 83 mile average that I will be riding six days on, one day off, for seven weeks. There is not much time for rest, most days I will do a double, either pairing a run of 5-10 miles with a yoga class of 60-90 minutes, or getting in a bike ride of about 20 miles with another yoga class. I find the cardiovascular training of the run/ride pairs nicely with the strength building and breathing practice of power yoga.
The first long ride was intimidating! 50 miles was the goal. First off, Mike is a seasoned rider; I often question his abilties to feel pain. He is a natural climber — hills don't stand a chance — and this is often where the distance grows between us. He has been kind enough to take me out on Sundays even after we decided that cycling together would not be in the best interest of the relationship. So off we went, after he made sure I was prepared for the cooler temperatures like a parent preparing their kid for school. Yeah, it was pretty cute.
The miles accumulated from Shaker through North Chagrin Reservation, Waite Hill, Willoughby, Chagrin Valley and onto Chagrin Falls. Spring was in full force, redbuds, apple blossoms, and forcithia painted the landscape in purples, chartreuce, yellow, and pink. This is what I had been waiting for, the chance to experience the surrounding parks and neighborhoods on a bicycle. Things were pretty peachy until we hit "the wall" in Chagrin Falls. If you're a runner, you have probably experienced the wall around mile 20, but this was different. It is literally a road that ascends out of Chagrin Falls at about a 50 degree angle. Mike gave a little hoot and holler as I came huffing and puffing at the top, I did it. We were homeward bound.
The next day I was a bit tired and decided to take a day off to rest. I was not sore from the ride, but just felt a bit dragged down. The next week I got in a few runs, a shorter and very windy bike ride, and plenty of yoga. Unfortunately weather is a determining factor of how many rides you can get in during the week. Temps in the 30s and 40s are not friendly on a bike.
This past Sunday we headed out again even with the cool temps and threat of rain. You don't have a choice when you're training to ride cross country. My legs were tired from the previous day's 9-mile trail run and two hours of yoga. The were amazing - the trainees rocked it, and the support from the community was very moving.
We rode down to the Cuyahoga Valley, through Boston Store, onto Brecksville and stopped at the new Verticle Runner. Beautiful store, a must visit for runners. We then headed back north under the Valley View, up through Steelyard, Tremont and all the way up Carnegie to Shaker. 65 miles later, we were hungry, tired, and I found new places I needed to lube up. Too much detail?
This week looks promising. I plan to get out today, tomorrow and Saturday. Most importantly I hope the Easter bunny comes on Sunday. Calories in the the shape of eggs and bunnies are warmly welcomed these days.