Friday, June 13, 2008

Mad As Hell

Last night, I recruited MM to accompany me on my first brick workout: a 30 minute bike followed by a two mile run. According to triathlon lore, it’s called a “brick” because your legs feel like bricks when you start running. Sounds fun, right?

At about 6:30, after a few false starts (when we first left the house and got on our bikes, I realized I wasn’t wearing my helmet, but a baseball cap!) we rode our bikes down to the lake, which is approximately two miles away. Just a warm up people.

When we arrived at the semi-crowded lakefront path, the real fun began. We set our watches, and off we went south from Montrose to Ohio Street Beach. I asked MM to ride in front of me and attempt to pace me at about 15 miles per hour. I quickly fell behind… way, way behind, cursing every minute of the ride because as per usual in Chicago, we were riding directly in to 20 mile per hour winds. Good times. Not to mention, navigating the path is nerve racking as all hell -- walkers, runners, rollerbladers, and other cyclists, all crowd a 10 feet or so wide path.

By the time MM and I made it to Ohio Street Beach, approximately 5.5 miles later, I was ready to toss my bike into Lake Michigan, and scream bloody fucking murder at random bystanders because their mere presence was pissing me off something fierce. As we were locking up our gear, I told him I was done; I wasn’t doing a triathlon because I QUIT I QUIT I QUIT I QUIT.

We started our run, heading south still into the wind toward Navy Pier and beyond, and I kept bitching. I bitched so much that I missed my turnaround point! We turned headed back to the beach, and MM took off ahead of me. Oddly, I took some solace in that mile or so I ran alone with my anger. I managed to calm down a bit and stop screaming, “FUCK!” inside my head.

The lesson: PMS does not compliment my workouts.

Back at the bike rack, we watched the swimmers decked out in wetsuits get their freestyle on in Lake Michigan. I envied them. Oh how I’d rather be out there in the freezing cold water, than here on the shore in 90+ degree heat getting back on my bike for the approximately eight mile ride home.

It’s not fair. Everyone else loves the biking part. I had chicks in bikinis chatting on their cell phones (fucking morons) leisurely pedaling down the path pass me. Why is biking so hard for me? After all this… ALL THIS… why am I not stronger?

MM and I headed back up the path, going slowly now, riding next to each other and talking. He swears my biggest problem is my bike. “That’s a mountain bike. It’s built to be on rough terrain, and it’s heavy,” he said to me. I answered for the tenth time, “No it’s not. It’s a hybrid.” Then he pointed out a woman riding past us, “That,” he said, “is a hybrid. See how the frame is thinner. See how it’s built differently than your bike.” “Huh,” I said, “I guess that does look a different.”

Despite every effort I have made NOT to throw down oodles of money on this sport, MM and I are going to go out to a bike shop on Sunday, and I’m going to try out some different styles, get fitted, ask a bunch of questions, probably cry, who knows.

Anything is possible.

6 comments:

Nikkie said...

I think it's hard to judge anything from riding along the lake. I refuse to do it anymore because it is so insane. I would rather ride my bike through the Loop during rush hour traffic than deal with the crazy walkers/roller bladers/runners/tourists/Lance Armstrong-wannabes/etc etc etc along the lake.

Hang in there!

Kendra said...

MM is right about the bike. There is a huge difference in a road bike vs a mountain bike. Do yourself a favor and at least demo a road bike and you will see the improvement in your MPH. Of course, I don't know this first hand, but Blake and his riding friends talk about it all the time.

L Sass said...

I have to run early on weekend mornings in Central Park because I get homicidally angry at tourists being idiots on the running path.

Hate.

Roisin said...

Those damn bikes are expensive! My cousin who I mentioned does triathalons got a fancy bike a few years ago, and I was amazed at how much it cost.

I still give you mad props for even attempting this at all. I'd be too, too scared.

meghan said...

Lou, you really need a new bike if you have a mountain bike! I have a hybrid that you should try riding some time to see if it is easier and/or if you like it. If you want to purchase a new bike, go into a shop looking for an older model (like last year's...); you'll save big.

Also...I never try to do fitness rides on the bike path in the summer! It's worse than dodging car traffic (and probably just as dangerous)! I bet if you did a ride really really early one morning, you'd have an easier time.

Lindy said...

well i'm shopping for a bike I can ride around leisurely...so let me know if you want to sell your mountain bike. :)