Saturday, January 12, 2008

Back on the Bike

It seems I've been deluding myself in thinking that my ankle is ok, when my physio yesterday started talking about cortisone injections and booking me back in to see the clinic's sports doctor.  I went back to my desk and spent the rest of the afternoon fighting off injury depression.  I wanted to run, and I wanted to run badly.  However I knew that it wasn't so much not running that was the problem, it was losing the ability to exercise at a hard core level.  It didn't help that Duck's training for Coast to Coast is going well, so she was full of excitement and tales of mammoth runs around Mt Taranaki when we met up for our first session of the year on Thursday.  Jealously is not an attractive emotion!  

By the time I got to Dee's RPM class on Friday morning I was fed up and not feeling terribly fit.  I had 
a difficult class and felt pretty cruddy during it, a feeling I know was more psychological than
anything.  To make matters worse, Dee was keen to find out how all my non-existent cycling
was going.  I was starting to doubt my decision to sign up for Gearshifters.  To say I'm a
nervous cyclist is a bit of an understatement.  It's not that I'm afraid of cars so much as I'm
afraid of the bike.  I have no clue 'how' to ride, as in the technical aspects of gear changes,
cadence, etc.  I also find my SPD clipless pedals incredibly fiddly and am always half convinced
I'm going to come to an unsightly end at any moment.  I love my Lola, but we have a comp-
licated relationship!  But then, if I put as much time into riding as I did into running I know it would be a different story.  I didn't know how to run a couple of years ago, so why do I think I
can just go out there without any training and ride well?  

Thankfully by Friday afternoon (and after a good Balance class) my feelings underwent a bit of a sea change.  A colleague had organised leaving drinks for one of our team members.  After a
couple of Margarita slushies I found myself down the Eastern end of the building doing my first
ever handstand (admittedly assisted), and then following that up with three somewhat messy
handstand push-ups.  I also talked about meeting up with my workmate, who has recently
started teaching Impact, to do a little one-on-one boxing training.  The view from the window
revealed a beautiful, warm still evening.  The harbour was mirror calm and the sun slowly
setting behind us.  Through my alcoholic fuzz I discerned two things:  yes, I was rather strong, and yes, this would have been the perfect evening for a bike ride. Note that my thoughts turned to my bike, not to putting on my trainers and going for a run.   

Luckily I'd organised to meet with Sarah this morning to finally go for the ride we've been
talking about for weeks.  Everyone else made plans to head off to a bar, but I decided to call it a night to ensure I was fresh enough to actually be able to join her.  Although at one a.m this morning I very nearly thought I was going to
be spending today in hospital. Clearly something I'd eaten wasn't agreeing with me, leading to 
a rather unpleasant hour in the bathroom.  Thankfully I didn't get as far as vomiting, although
it did occur to me that it was really time to update my emergency supplies of Solucortef and 
needles.  If things had continued to deteriorate I would have had to get Hamish to take me off
to Emergency.  The last thing I wanted was an Addisonian Crisis.  

As it was, things eventually calmed down.  When I felt well enough I shuffled to the kitchen, swallowed a couple of Hydrocortisone just in case, and then climbed shivering into bed.  Funnily enough, I now felt even more determined to
meet up with Sarah.  When the alarm went off at seven I felt well enough to down a small bowl
of Special K, grab my gear, and lug Lola up to the road.  

Hamish was working and needed the car, so I was going to have to ride into town from home.  It took a couple of deep breaths to get me riding down our street, and I was praying 
that I wouldn't have to stop for traffic when I got to the top of Farnham Street.  Thankfully the 
road was clear and I was soon riding down Mornington Rd towards Ohiro.  I made myself ride faster than usual.  At Ohiro I had to stop for traffic, but unclipped and clipped ok, and thankfully the lights at Brooklyn were green.  Again I made myself ride faster than usual down Brooklyn Hill, and then I was on Willis.  I swear I hit every single red light down that road, but I eventually made it to the Terrace gym, still intact and with no nasty car or SPD incidents.  

Sarah arrived at the gym just as I was pulling up.  We decided to ride around the Bays with the aim of making it back in time for 10am Balance.  It was a good morning for riding, although the Northerly was picking up rather earlier than I'd hoped.  There wasn't a lot of traffic on the road and we caught the lights all the way around to Te Papa.  We hit the wind as we moved further around the Bays, as expected.  The crosswind on Cobham Drive was quite nasty.  Once we passed the cutting at Miramar though the wind got a lot more extreme.  We put our heads down and pushed the whole way around to the old Naval Base.  I decided that was far enough for my first ride since May, particularly given that we needed to get back for Balance.  

I'm glad we turned around when we did because the return trip was a constant battle into the headwinds.  They didn't let up until we got back into Oriental Bay, although I got blown sideways riding around Te Papa as well.  I stuck to the waterfront all the way to the Shell Station.  When I went to cross Jervous Quay my bike shorts got hooked on my saddle as I mounted.  I was unable to unhook them and unable to clip in properly with my right foot because I couldn't get far enough back in the saddle.  I limped across the road using my left foot only for propulsion, knowing all the cars at the lights contained people who were laughing at me.  Thankfully I finally managed to get my shorts to unhook, got seated properly, got clipped in, and from there I caught green lights up Bowen and into the Terrace.  So, despite that one hiccup I made it back to the gym in one piece.  I even managed to get through Margaret's Balance class without any major disasters.  

So it was a short and pretty much flat ride today.  I was really happy with how it went though.  I'm pretty certain I was a lot faster today than I was at the start of the year.  I was also using
a much lower level of effort, so could have gone a bit faster if I'd actually focussed.  However I was trying to keep in touch with Sarah, who has a hybrid and no clipless pedals, so didn't want to go too fast.  However I really need to change my saddle from the standard unisex one it came with.  I'm not going to last more than a couple of hours on that puppy!  To add to that, my right knee was a bit sore, so I should really get a proper bike fit done.  Oh, and my hips and glutes were REALLY tight in Balance.  My body was letting me know that I haven't done any cycling in far too long.  On the postive side though, I was able to get some good practice in clipping and unclipping, and only pedalling with my left leg.  

Oh, and this is going to sound ridiculous, but I stood in my pedals for the first time EVER.  It didn't even feel that weird, and I didn't feel like I was going to unbalance.  I was even able to mess around taking my left and right arms off the handlebars at various points during the ride, and look behind me on both sides, without anything disastrous happening.  All this functional training has really helped my balance.  I know most people who know how to ride a bike already know how to do this stuff, but I never really had the chance to learn when I was a kid.  I guess I'm making up for it now.  

Did I mention that I felt fast?  Did I mention that it felt good overtaking people?  Or that I only got overtaken by two really fit-looking women?  Did I mention that I had HEAPS of fun? Did I mention that I want to ride 
again tomorrow?

Yeah, I'm totally going to ride again tomorrow.  Leonie - come home - I need a riding buddy!  


Kate said...

Can I be your bike buddy? I hate my bike, but need to fall in love with it!

Pip said...

It's the Welly Girly Woos Cyclist Club! Um, I'd love to ride with you, but I'm guessing you'd be a lot faster than me!

Whirling Dervish said...

Hi Pip

Thanks for the encouragement to do a 5k- but I can barely even imagine that right now. But hmm, that's about twice as much as a mile, right? Maybe it is doable, in a few months! I am just so happy to be running a mile- my asthma was an excuse to be a book-potato my whole life, so I'm glad I'm kicking the bad habit of using it as an excuse.

And cool for you to be riding! I started riding last spring, and although I suck (much worse than you, I'm sure), it's wonderful, isn't it! And I don't think it's weird that you stood up for the first time- I got a trainer for bad winter days, and my goal this winter is to practice standing up- I always feel like my knees are going to crash to the ground, don't you??

Kate said...

Doubt it! Am a nervy rider, so tend to be slow. And everyone's slow in Welly winds!

chocolate covered musings said...

i'm coming! i'm coming!

*love* this post. i'm SO excited for you. i'd better get myself to the gym so i can keep up with you when i get back!

i love you an awful lot and i'm SO VERY PROUD of ALL you are achieving in your life right now.


Nic said...

Damn it woman! I'm going to have to find out what the RPM classes at the BBC are like so I can keep up with you when we get back!

Seriously, they do ALL the Les Mills stuff here, so I guess it'll be the same. Getting a bike might be fun tho.

Good on ya for getting on Lola again. Can't wait to get back to Welli and ride again - London is fun, but there is no way I'd get on a bike here.... not that I have one....

Sass said...

Come on - you were totally owning the road on Lola yesterday morning! Gloria and I had no hopes of even getting close;p

And now you've infected me with the cycling bug! Not enough to get my bruised butt back on the bike today but maybe next weekend;p

Pip said...

Kate - I've left a note on my latest blog post. You're welcome to join me when Duck tells me what my training programme is going to be in the lead-up to the Grape Ride!

WD: You can totally train for a 5km run in a few months. Google the Couch to 5km training programme (C25K). You're already way ahead of schedule if you can already run a mile.

Nic and Leonie: HUGS. I'm counting on you guys getting back on those bikes when you return!

Sarah: Sorry for making you bike all the way along Jervois Quay. That was mean of me! It was a fun ride though...

Makaila said...

Good for people to know.