I rode my bike 214 miles around Tennessee last week. I wasn’t sure that I could even ride 6 days in a row, much less ride 214 miles. I was probably the slowest and most inexperienced person at BRAT, but I finished. I surprised myself.
Sitting on a bicycle that long, a person’s got some time to think. well, I was able to think until my seat bones began to hurt like the dickens! Supposedly it takes a week and then one’s bum stops hurting. Well, folks, it’s been over a week and I almost died on my bike tonight <laughter>. By day 6 of BRAT, I just wanted it to be OVER …… before the day’s ride even began.
Everyone was very nice and had great cycling tips to share. No one really knew how to make the pain in the seat go away, however. It just takes time. I’m still waiting!
As I have said in previous entries, I have 3 bicycles. A cheap mountain bike, my little red bike and my Specialized road bike. My road bike is my only e-bike. It took me a long while to decide on getting it. Every single bike shop I went to encouraged me to get it instead of a regular bicycle. I am SO glad I took their advice.
After riding it on some longer rides, up and down hills, I get on my little red bike and REALLY notice how much I have improved. The Specialized is 29 pounds, so it is almost twice the weight of a normal road bike. It is difficult to cycle without some assistance. Over the last year, I have lowered my first setting to 20% assist. This enables me to go further AND to climb more hills. It hurts, but I am able to go up hills I wouldn’t otherwise be able to climb. I am able to go on longer rides at my pwn pace and then catch up with Marty, so he can also get some exercise. It’s a great tool to have in my tool chest. I have talked to other e-bike owners who say the same thing- it has enabled them to build skills, increase fitness levels and many are able to enjoy rides with their more experienced significant other! It’s a win-win. Older folks (I say this like 54 isn’t old!) who used to cycle and could make the climbs get the e-bikes so they can continue to do what they love, but what older age prevents them from being able to do. They end up more physically fit in the end, too! Another win-win.
Over the week at BRAT, I went at my own pace. Just about everyone passed me on by, but that’s okay. It wasn’t a race. I was there to get better and the only way to do that is to work hard and make sure I do what it takes to improve. For the first 3 days of the ride, I just hummed along at my own pace, working hard at 20% assist. By day 4, 5 and 6, I decided to ride to the first or second rest stop, then I increased the assist to 30% (30-40% on day 6) and kept up with the group I was with. This made the ride more enjoyable, I still got one heck of a workout AND I learned how to ride with a group. The bike enabled me to keep up and I actually learned A LOT. By day 6, I was toast before starting. Once I got going, my bottom hurt with every pedal stroke. By the time I got to the first rest stop, my bum was screaming for me to put it into turbo mode and just get to the finish line. I resisted the urge. I took it from 30% to 40% and made it across the line.
I plan on getting on a trail with my little red bike this week and I have no doubt I’ll see improvement. I returned home Saturday and got back in the saddle again today. OUCH. It hurts! But I got 5 miles in and I will try again tomorrow. I signed up to go to a fall ride in October and I need to log some miles to get ready! Can’t stop now.
It was the greatest vacation ever! I didn’t win medals or titles, but I improved myself. I was able to leave all my worries behind for a week and just ride. No one judged me for my insane wardrobe, that I know of <smile>. I bought most of what I have on sale and thus very little of it is color coordinated. I threw in some of my wild SmartWool socks to top off the ensembles <giggle>. It was an amazing week of self-discovery. I realized I am stronger than I give myself credit for–I was able to ride all 6 days. Going in, I really thought it would be fantastic if I was able to ride at least 3 of the 6 day event.
It was hard getting back home to reality yesterday. Everything on my to do list from work came flooding back to mind. My worries about my youngest son popped right back into the front of my mind—not that they ever left. The riding just allowed me to escape my worries for a while. I caught up on household chores today and it is back to work tomorrow. I’m not sure if I’ll meet my goal of 3,500 miles for the year, but I’ll keep hiking, cycling and kayaking until the last day of the year! I just keep at it one step, one pedal at a time!