Sunday, July 14, 2013

Week in review - tire change, Iron Crotch, and Fish Bait

It's been a busy busy week here getting in the final workouts before my first triathlon.  I've been swimming like crazy, four days a week, at distances up to a mile just to feel comfortable in my half mile swim next weekend.  Since swimming is something I've struggled with so much, I really wanted to make an effort to be over-prepared for this segment.

I've been Trekking around a bunch on the new bike, "Lexi", and I love her more and more each time we cruise around town together.  She's been really good to me, and continues to capture the attention of many adoring fans.  There's just something compelling about her!

Last Sunday was Jackie's 32nd birthday, and for her birthday she wanted to go for a 32 mile bike ride.  I wasn't really worried about the distance even though it was a sharp increase from my previous longest ride of 20 miles.  We were all just out there to have fun with Jackie, enjoy some beautiful scenery, and maybe just climb a few hills.  It was a great turnout of Jackie, Marie, Kristen, Coleen, Kerri, and I, rolling through the towns of Uxbridge, Northbridge, Upton, Westboro, Hopkinton, and Mendon.  Wow, you can really cover a lot of ground on a bike!  I don't think anyone really liked the giant hill we had to start off going up.  It's a little rough, but I kept telling them how great the second mile would be!  One of my favorite parts of this ride was when we passed a radar detector and decided to try and break the speed limit.  And we did!  It clocked us going 28 in a 25!  My goal for next time is to hit 30 to make it start flashing.We took a break about halfway through the ride at Whitehall Lake, so we could rest up our legs for the upcoming hill that we knew would be a challenge.  It was also a steamy 90 degrees out so relaxing in the shade was a welcome treat!

After we rested up we headed back out for a big climb, but it was shorter than I expected and the rest of the route was relatively mild.  The last couple hills towards the end were just a cruel joke, and we were all pretty hot by the time we got back!

As you can imagine, a lot of topics are covered during the course of a 30+ mile ride.  We talked a bit about cycle shorts, underwear, chafing, bruising, and the like.  Then we all realized that Jackie has yet to start riding in padded shorts, which seems implausible.  Kristen was so impressed by Jackie's bad-assness that she nicknamed Jackie "Iron Crotch".  I think it's my favorite nickname of all time!

On Tuesday night, Kristen, Luke and I went over to Webster Lake to see where the triathlon will take place and test-ride the bike course.  We heard a rumor that there was a 2 or 3 tiered hill that's pretty nasty, so we wanted to check it out.
Finally a chance to use my oversized bike rack

I was under-prepared for the amount of traffic on the roads, and it was a bit unnerving.  We did pretty well though, and I'm very glad to have seen the hills, because they were actually worse than I expected!

After the ride we did a 3 mile run, which was difficult because, A. We just biked 12 miles, B. It was stupidly hot out, C. I haven't run 3 miles in over a month.  I was glad for the experience though and think it definitely helped prepare me for race day!

On Friday Marie wanted a chance to see the triathlon course.  We had already swam in the pool in the morning, and Friday night I met Marie and Jackie in Webster to ride the course again.  After the ride we went for a run, but my heel was bugging me so I opted to cut it short and only do 2 miles.  They turned around with me so that we could all finish together, and hey - it just means the faster we can go get a beer!  When we got back to the parking lot, Jackie reeeeally wanted to go swim in the lake.  Marie and I had both already swam but the look on Jackie's face...we couldn't let her down!  We hopped in the lake and were immediately surprised at how clear it was!  It turns out not all lake water is as brown and opaque as Kiwanis Beach.  We could actually see the bottom, and I was stunned to notice a school of fish swimming along side of me all the way to the buoys!  So cool!  When we finished swimming we just sat in the water for a few minutes because it was nice and warm, and all of the sudden I noticed there were fish swarming around me.  We put our goggles back on and dunked our heads underwater to get a better look, and it was unbelievable.  There had to have been about 30 fish all surrounding me, just looking at me.  One of them swam right up to my face and was looking me square in the eyes!  It was so cool and so strange.  Meanwhile there were people further down the beach fishing.  Marie suggested they just string me to the end of their fishing poles.  And now I am hereby known as "Fish Bait".  We changed into dry clothes in our cars (a very complicated process with no tinted windows and a one-piece tri-suit), and then headed next door to a pub to replenish some of those calories we burned!

The payoff!
Today Marie, Jackie and I went out for another 30 miler.  The first thing we noticed was how tired we all were right from the start.  Turns out our legs hadn't quite recovered from the bike/run brick we did on Friday night, so it was a little rough starting out and climbing hills.  We had a great time though, but about 20 miles in my bike started making a funny clicking sound.  We pulled over, and although I never did find the source of the clicking sound, I happened to notice that my front brakes were extremely loose.  Lucky for me, Jackie had a tool kit with her and I was able to tighten it up.  I made a mental note to pick up one of those!

At mile 26, just a few miles from Jackie's house, she blew a tire.  We stopped at the school parking lot and got our first opportunity to change a flat!  I had watched many YouTube videos on the subject last month when I was trying to swap my mountain bike tire with a trainer tire, so of the three of us I had the most "experience".  (It took me half a day, and I never did get the trainer tire on, but I got the original tire back on and it ended up being good practice).  I had no trouble getting the rear wheel off, removed the tire with the tire levers (Oh that's what those are for!) and removed/replaced the tube while Marie and Jackie checked out the tire to find the source of the puncture.  We never did find what caused the flat, so I'm not sure if it was a pinch flat or what, but eventually I got the tire back on and the last thing we had to do was blow it back up.  This, believe it or not, was the biggest challenge, because none of us could figure out how to use the CO2 cartridge!  Luckily through the wonders of technology we pulled up a video on YouTube to help us, and realized we needed the connector piece to hook onto the valve.  Once we had that in place we were golden.  Overall it was actually a great experience, and I'm glad that we all know what we're doing now!

Oops! :-)

Look how cute and color coordinated we are!  PS - How many blondes does it take to change a tire?
With the bike good as new we made the final few miles back, and mentally created our shopping list for the bike shop!  After the ride, Jackie and I went over to Landry's, dropped off my bike for a tune-up, and stocked up on CO2 cartridges, spare tubes, and a new tool kit!  We'll be pro's at it next time!

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