It was a busy weekend!
Saturday’s group brick (bike & run) was near Greenbelt, MD [Our Ride]. My group mentor, Rich, and I convinced ourselves that we would be early. Was that the case? Not so much. More than 15 people were already getting ready in the parking lot when we arrived and it was 7:20 a.m.
The weather was nice – great day for a ride and run
Side note: I’ve found cycling much more enjoyable than I could ever have anticipated. I love the preparation, the gearing up and taking off with another rider, or a whole peloton.
I was in a competitive frame of mind. I have been training a lot and this brick was supposed to show some of that off.
Slowly everyone begins to huddle in on one section of the parking lot.
The group grows, 10 to 30 to more than 50 riders amassing together with bikes and eager looks. Announcements made, safety signals reviewed.
One by one riders hit the road. How do you feel when riding in a group versus by yourself? I’ve found riding on roads to be okay when I’m by myself; however I’ll admit that riding with large groups takes a lot more concentration. There is so much more to look out for and you depend on great communication skills to stay safe.
I am ten people from the front of the group two riders. This is exciting…we’re in the middle of MD on an awesome day.
Me: “Hey can you check my back tire. Is it flat?”
Rider behind me: “Oh yeah – your tire looks low!”
My first flat tire, bugger! What a kill joy! I pulled over to the side of the road five minutes into the group ride and ask for help to change my tire. I have not had to change my tire since buying my bike. Ironically, the Team in Training coaches had a planned tire changing clinic for after the group ride! (Mini shout-out to the coaches that stopped to help me out and make sure I was okay.) It turns out more than five people had flat tires along the course on Saturday. That seems like a mighty high number.
Let us give that a second try
Tire mended, I took off to reach the rest of the riders. As soon as I hit the main road there are a few of the faster riders passing by. They just completed seven miles at a great pace. I will confess though, I was baffled – there were only two sections of the bike course where you could keep a fast pace. There were so many potholes that I barely had time to look up and enjoy the fields of hay, the blue sky and the peace around me. One guy said after the race – “I don’t think I’ll be able to have kids after that course.” The road was bumpy. I get the sense that today is not my best day for riding.
I completed one lap of the course and headed back to the park (approximately 13 miles). Quickly throwing off my helmet, cycling shoes and gloves, I donned my running shoes, grab some water and took off for the running course.
Enough said – I ran the course which turns out to be really hard for me. I don’t really know why I had difficulty running. Maybe I didn’t hydrate properly. The loop was about 1.1 or 1.2 miles and I clocked in 12 minute miles…I swear I was running. I ran two laps and called it a day.
Total workout ~15 miles. Not bad before 10 a.m. I’ll boost up the mileage next weekend barring any additional mishaps.
All in all – training was fun and riddled with hiccups this weekend. One of the coaches said at the beginning of training that there are few things you can control in life, but what you can control is your attitude. I’m happy that I stayed positive, took away some new skills and know a few areas to work on. I want to put my new skills to use and practice changing my tires and more running after biking.
I’ll make sure to join the group workout faster, better, stronger next weekend.
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