Sunday, March 02, 2008

Feeling a little pleased with myself

Sorry, another cycling post.  I'll try to get some pics up from the holiday soon, I promise.  I might even manage a poetry post or two.  First though I need to talk a little bit about how awesome I am.  Once I get that out of the way I'll try to appear a little less one-dimensional!  Warning, this post will make little sense unless you know Wellington.  

This morning was the second Gearshifters ride.  We met early to practice changing tyre tubes and I managed to get chain grease all over my right leg, so I looked like a real cyclist.  The weather forecast hadn't been terribly promising, but we at least had sun for the ride, although the winds were at time quite terrifying.  

Now if I haven't written lately about my hill phobia it's probably a good time to mention it.  It's difficult to live in this city and NOT ride up hills, but trust me I've done a pretty good job of it.  
Signing up to Gearshifters was one way of forcing myself to get over it and to stop being such a wimp. I didn't want to reprise my

performance the day my trainer sent us up the steep side of Mt Vic and I burst into tears and refused.  

I knew that we'd be riding hills today, but the first hill was one that I've done before and knew I could cope with.  First up we rode around the Bays to the cutting, then up through Maupuia to the prison. The hill is bad enough, but today we were riding into a nasty headwind as well. 
I was very relieved when we got to the top and stopped to regroup.  

From there we 
took off in the direction of Seatoun.  The front riders disappeared and the pack of four 
I was riding in didn't know where we were going.  After some muddling around and a few 
phone  conversations with Dee (what did we do before mobiles?) we found our way through the Seatoun tunnel.

From there we rode back around the coast to Lyall Bay, where we met up with everyone else again.  We found ourselves riding amongst cars with 'cycle event' signs on them and the road was dotted with cones.  It turned out that the international cycling tour that was supposed to be doing circuits of inner Wellington today had been shifted to the coast.  So we had the pleasure of watching some amazing international women cyclists flying past us.  Nothing if not inspirational.  

When everyone was back together again it was off up Sutherland Rd.  I didn't know where I was going (again), but it was 
clear from the groans that this was not going to be pleasant.  Sutherland Rd turned out to be VERY steep.  There were times I was convinced I needed to stop, but my pride wouldn't let me.  I soon realised that my quads were burning and my breath was laboured but that there was still more in me.  I stood a couple of times briefly on my pedals to gain a little momentum, but I
made it to the top without grinding to a halt and  falling off.  

After Sutherland Rd I got lost again.  Finding myself on my own I rode down through Newtown, whereas everyone else went off towards Kilbirnie.  I rode straight to the bottom of Alexandra Rd, called Dee to let her know where I was, and waited.  I felt like such an idiot getting separated again.  I really need to learn to stick with the pack!  

Thankfully I didn't have to wait long, then we did two five minute time trials up Alexandra Rd, back down, then the third time we rode all the way to the top.  By this point my quads were really feeling the burn but I was developing a new respect for my strength and my endurance.  I powered past people who have ridden Taupo for goodness sake!  

The ride back down the other side of Mt Vic was, er, interesting.  The galeforce winds had well and truly arrived.  Some of us got blown onto the other side of the road. My helmet got blown awry, and one of us got blown over just standing at the lights at the end of Marjoribanks Street.  Cycling back to Freyberg became a test of courage, but we all made it in the end.  

My lessons for today were to stick with people who know where they are going, and that one water bottle is not enough.  I get so much thirstier on my bike than I do running.  A girl riding in front of me today dropped her bottle and I nearly rode over it.  I'm nervous about the same thing happening to me, so I'm going to start wearing my Camelback and save the bottle for when we're stopped.  

What you can't see if that I'm doing a little dance of celebration.  Well, actually I'm slumped on the sofa feeling my legs, but inside I'm doing a huge dance!  My problem is that I obviously don't know what I'm capable of, which is why I need to join a group like Gearshifters to that I can find out.  I am so thrilled with how I did today.  

Right.  Enough bragging.  Time to come down to reality and do some housework ...


Kate said...

Umm.. WOOOOOOOOW!!!!!!!!!!!!

What a rockstar!

chocolate covered musings said...

that circuit, for me, was my fave one that we did with GS. i even remember waving to you as we were riding up Mt. Vic that morning and you were running down :)

we both miss our bikes. sigh...

Pip said...

I'm still buzzing this morning! My quads stiffened up a bit last night but are ok today. As you say Leonie, I think that's a keeper of a ciruit. Funnily enough I was thinking of that day I ran past you as I was riding up the hill.

Kate, I'm supposed to do 30km this weekend, easy pace with 'a few hills'. You're welcome to join me if you are serious about getting back on your bike!

Sass said...

Good work, young Pip! I have no idea where half that cycle route is but it sounds AWESOME

Fe-lady said...

You are allowed to brag...great bike ride!
(And YOU had some energy left over for housework...not I!)
P.S. Love your license plate! :-)

Lisa said...

DAMN! That is some real impressive stuff. You are such an elite athlete :)

Hey, did you ever get the package my dad sent out? He called and wondered if you got it yet, so if you haven't, be on the look out!

Pip said...

Thanks Fe-lady. I'm such a newbie at the cycling thing, but I'm loving it so far.

Lisa - I've just sent you an email (you've probably already read it). There'll be something in the post to you soon!

Bruce said...

Sounds like the cycling's going well. You're probably right I should give up running for the bike. I do have a MTB and exercyle that could both do with some more use.

I have thought though that the more hours you spend on a bike the bigger your chances of becoming another statistic!

Kate said...

Would love to BUT it's our engagement party this weekend, so, once again, can't commit. Needless to say I'm not a super dedicated athlete at the moment....

Pip said...

Oh Kate. I think the engagement party is a little more important! Have fun!

Bruce: It's true that cycling's not the safest activity in the world, which is why up till now I've preferred running. One of our gym managers got hit by a truck last year, ended up in a coma, and hasn't returned to work. My personal trainer went over the bonnet of a car a couple of months before that. I guess I just have to be as cautious as I can be and try not to think about it too much.