Thursday, January 3, 2013

Reluctant Cyclist

Let's not kid ourselves here I am a reluctant triathlete.  However, when it comes to cycling I am even more reluctant. 

My husband is a great cyclist, the bike is his strong suit, this does not make my reluctance any easier.
We sat down and wrote a preliminary Ironman training plan weeks ago. I then compared the training plan he had for me to the Fink intermediate plan and his was DOUBLE the bike distance!  Silly man.  Good thing he's not my coach, I value my marriage way too much.

After weeks off the bike and months of any consistency on the bike I bit the bullet and booked a lactate threshold test.  (For my Mama friends, despite the name this test has nothing to do with lactation).  When you do a lactate threshold test on a bike you are usually on a bike trainer, in my test I was on a compu trainer making it even more fun.  My test took place at VR Cycling in Magnolia.  The guy who runs the place is great, very knowledgeable, super friendly and has a great Australian accent to boot which is really cute until he is yelling at you.  Of course he follows every command with Mate which I think is their version of passive aggressive.  It sounds like they are being friendly but it's all a ruse.

So here I am on the bike, shoes clipped in, video screen in front of me with my numbers including Heart Rate, Load, Power, Speed, Distance and percent of Load or I guess how much I am sucking.  The compu trainer gives me the load and I am trying to match with power.  He is explaining all this to me but it's not unlike having a conversation in labor - he sounded a lot like the teacher from Charlie Brown, Australian style of course.

Knowing my goal and knowing this test is 20 minutes you don't want to go too hard too early, this has never been my problem, an over achiever on the bike I am not.  I might have even waited too long to pour it on.  Steve comes by "5 more minutes Mate"!  At this point I am counting my cadence, anything not to focus on my burning lungs, burning legs and the contents of my stomach considering an early exit, he takes this opportunity to take a picture of me, sweet!
"90 seconds Mate, time to kick it in" 'lean over here Aussie boy I'd like to kick you' -- who am I kidding?  I don't have any extra energy to do anything and I am sure he knows it.  "60 seconds Mate!" Where oh where is that trash can???  If I vomit during my LT test does that give me bonus points or will they never let me back?  "15 seconds Mate!" 

When I was done he asked me how long I wanted to ride - "How about a nice tempo ride, Mate?"  My first thought was I needed to get off the bike but then I realized that would be bad and riding at an easy pace seemed prudent and rode for another 20 minutes.  Steve was celebratory, I was exhausted. The good news is the test was over.  The bad news is now my coach will have this information and future training will be based on this near puke-fest of a test.  More good news? I am supposed to do this again in six weeks.

Two days later I mustered the courage, energy and a healthy slather of Chamois Butt'r to go back.  This time I was with my husband, friend Trisha and my coach.  Started with intervals but when it was clear my cadence looked more like a threshold test we backed it off.  We rode for 90 minutes and the time flew, having friends around makes it so much easier.

I love my bike, appreciate my new saddle (after trying many on the market) and I have a great fit from the brain trust that is Retul.  It is time to make friends with cycling. 


  1. I guess I need to get my bike buns in gear! Great post, K!

  2. I hear you on being a reluctant cyclist... maybe that's why I haven't been on my bike since IMCOZ ;)