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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Sandy: Hitting The Road (A cycling adventure for sure!)

Hitting the Road.

I like to live spontaneously.  No, I love it, and currently my life is such that it allows me some room for this. 

I was invited to join in on a bike ride.  Without hesitation I said yes, not giving any thought to the fact that I haven’t been outside on my bicycle since last August and even then I wasn’t training, just trolling around for fun.  I was thankful for all the hours I had spent over the past few months working out on the Expresso Stationary bike at the Works because the simulation rides challenge my legs to conquer virtual hills, awakening and strengthening those muscles I would need for the ride that day.   If I hadn’t done any training, I most likely would have passed altogether for fear of the soreness in the aftermath or the complete inability to keep up.
I knew three out of the four women who were going for the ride, and that was reassuring because all of them are super nice.  I was, however a little intimidated as a few of them are also members of the The Works Rides, Tour de Cure Cycling Team for the Works, and they had obviously been training already this season. 

 When I showed up at the meeting place, all decked out in my riding jersey and padded shorts, I knew immediately that the decision to go was a good one.  What an awesome mix of personalities!  Everyone clicked well together, and we were off.

Our journey started on a busy road, during commuter traffic, so the ride was a little daunting at first as the cars zoomed by.  Even though the shoulders of the road were ten feet wide, I couldn’t help but feel crowded by the cars and trucks zooming by in a steady flow.  It wasn’t until we turned off onto a quiet side rode that we began to get our pace and really enjoy the ride. 

I was huffing a puffing away, doing my best to keep up with the pack, placing myself strategically behind whomever was in the lead.  I don’t like being at the back of the pack because I feel like I’m always holding everyone up, and I don’t like to lead the pack because I never feel like I’m being quick enough.  So much self imposed Drama in my own little mind.   

We will not be undone by a flat tire!
Since we live in New Hampshire, we are always challenged by rolling hills, and I found myself cursing my overweight body whenever we were climbing any inclines.  I have a tendency to lag behind on hills, and disliking those who could just pop up the hills barely breaking a sweat, as I wheeze and push, feeling like I’m getting nowhere fast.  I feel like just yelling out “Hey, why don’t you put on a fifty pound fat suit and try to breeze up the hill!”  Although I love all the ladies I am with!

Finding the leak! 
We were about 9 miles into our trip (our plan was to do around 20) when one of the ladies blew a tire.  We were all relieved that we had an “experienced” tire changer in our group (experienced meaning she had changed a tire ONCE before, and it just so happened to be the night before).  So we were forced to take a half hour break while our hero patched and refitted the tire into place, then we all gave a whack at trying to pump up the tire, which was exceeding difficult because either the pump wasn’t working correctly, or the valve on the tire was bent.  Then one of the other riders suggested using her Co2 cartridge.  This was quite hilarious really, because none of us knew how to use it, and we all stared at it like it was some kind of bomb. 

(They others were working hard, we had to entertain!) 
She screwed the cap onto the cartridge tentatively, and we all braced for a pop or some sort of significant reaction.  She tried to push the release button, with no response.  I could tell she was nervous, and had already mentioned a couple of times, something about possibly loosing an eye if she wasn’t careful.  Then she gave the cap another twist, and the cartridge flew out of her hands, hissing like an angry snake.  It was jumping and sliding through the grass.  She backed away, I stood frozen unsure of what to do, and another rider tried to jump on top of it before all the air escaped.  (Note to self…. If a grenade is thrown into the middle of a crowd, be sure you are standing close to rider 2!  She is fearless and will take one for the team.) Needless to say that by the time the cartridge was retrieved it was too late, the Co2 wasted. 

After a ton of laughter and some silly pictures, we used another pump and managed to get enough air in the tire to make it usable, but not enough to go for distance so we knew that at this point we had to just make a b-line to our cars.

The gals!
When it was all said and done, we did 14.38 miles total, which was a great workout and just enough for my first time out.  The best thing about these types of outdoor workouts is that you’re surrounded by friends, laughter and it doesn’t feel like a workout so much as a fun adventure with friends.   There is definitely something to be said about indoor training as well.  I wasn’t sore the following day after my ride, and I was able to keep up a good pace without feeling like I needed to stop and rest, plus I had the strength to conquer the hills without having to get off my bike to walk.  Thank you to the Works for having so many opportunities for training indoors.

And thank you ladies for allowing me to tag along! 

Looking for some Group Rides?  Join Scott at The Works on Mondays for Beginners Group, Tuesdays for intermediate group and Wednesdays for advanced riders! The outdoor cycling group meets outside by the grassy area at 5:15pm.  If the weather is questionable, call the Works by 4 to see the status.  

JOIN THE ADVENTURE!  The Works Rides is an ALL ABILITY team that rides to help find a cure for Diabetes! All proceeds go to the ADA!

Prefer Riding Indoors?!  Now Through May 31st, Do our Expresso Challenge and help raise funds for the ADA!  Sign up Here!  It's so easy! 

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