7.28.2010

Fast = Fun!

Last night's Tues. ladies' ride was such a great time. We pedaled nearly 32 miles at ~17.5mph average pace. When I looked at my current pace on my Garmin it generally read in the 18-20mph range. NICE! For a change I actually felt really strong on my pulls. Probably doesn't hurt that I'm not recovering from any major running or biking workouts/race for a change. During one of my pulls of a mile+ the gals behind me were all hooting and we agreed that it was a shame that the road we were on came to a T and required us to stop.

The more I ride my bike the less I feel the "need" to run. Part of me thinks I could give up running altogether were it not for the fact that I really loved that monsoon duathlon I did this Spring (next year I would like to do 2-3 duathlons, if they fit into our Summer schedule), as well as the North Country Trail Relay. Running is much easier in the Winter than biking, too. The "nowhere bike" gets old pretty fast. So running is a less monotonous form of fitness during the cold months.

I still believe I never would have taken up running had I started biking, first. I'm just plain "better" on the bike. Running is sometimes a source of great frustration for me. Races are frustrating when people who run half the miles I do can beat me. I can say the race is only a race with myself, but I'm more competitive and less idealistic than that. I would love to get <2 hours for a half marathon and on the volume and type of training I've done MOST runners have done just that on the first or 2nd try. After 4 HMs my best time was still ~2:02.

By contrast my first century ride after only 8 months of riding (half of those months indoors on the trainer and rarely amounting to much more than 50 miles in a week) wasn't at all a struggle. The only difficulty came in the form of 90º temps with high humidity. And having to stop every couple of hours to reapply the sunscreen I sweated off (and my face still got pink, hrm). The actual act of pedaling for 100 miles. No biggie. I rode 25 miles the next day with a few miles of hammering and felt relatively fresh and strong.

I've also discovered that I semi-regret not going for a more "aggressive geometry" bike from the start (instead of the Cannondale Synapse I would have ended up with the CAAD9 with the same components, for the same price). But it didn't seem like a good idea at the time we ordered my first road bike. The longer I ride, though, the more I wish I were less upright. Luckily some adjustments to my position can be made by changing the length and height of the stem that connects my handlebars to my bike. And it's not like I have to ride this same bike for the rest of my life. I saw a fairly comical, but true, statement about most cyclists having N+1 bicycles...in other words, the bike(s) they currently have, plus the next bike they lust.

My next bike will likely be full carbon. Not because I care all that much about having a lighter-weight bike or the shi-shi-ness of carbon (and carbon is not nearly as lust-worthy as titanium...or as $$$). I really don't. My aluminum frame is already plenty light (and I think my current bike is the prettiest bike I have ever seen. I get compliments nearly every time I ride). But carbon would be a good deal more forgiving on our chip-sealed roads. It would absorb a lot of vibration that can really wear on a person after just a few miles. The more I ride, the more I want to ride, but not on our roads. When I have the opportunity to ride on mostly well-maintained asphalt I feel like it's such a luxury.

Part of me still would like a cyclocross bike for it's pure utilitarian-ness, but I'm not sure it would see enough miles on a regular basis. It would be great in the early Spring when the roads are full of sand and crap from plowing and for the occasional cyclocross race, but after spraining my ankle I am a little less gung-ho about attempting that sport any time soon. And a 'cross bike wouldn't be much of a "go fast" or endurance bike. And I like fast and/or riding for long distances.

2 comments:

  1. You are right -- the bike is where it is at. Running is fun, but biking is the best. I find that after a high volume week on the bike, my run gets better anyways...

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  2. I have found that same thing, Mike! This Spring I set several running PRs, and on less mileage. It had to be the biking. I get the workout without the beating that running can sometimes mete out.

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