I have a love/hate relationship with my bicycle. Buttercup sure is pretty, and has the potential to be as super speedy as my little legs can carry her. I’ll openly admit that sometimes I am terrified to go fast. The better I get at handling my bicycle, the more comfortable I get with faster speeds, but it’s taking time.
Today, a long ride was on the schedule. 3 hours and 45 minutes, at least 45 miles. Coach and I had a bit of a “come to Jesus” talk about my cycling after Elkhart Lake. I need to spend the next eight weeks becoming a stronger cyclist. Therefore, this ride was especially important to me. I needed to prove to myself that I can be a cyclist.
I started off the ride well-rested after a wonderful 36 hours in Chicago with Goose to celebrate our anniversary. (But more about that later.)
I took my bottles of my custom-blended Infinit (I cannot rave about this stuff enough), put my cell phone, some cash, and my license in a baggie and tucked them in my bike bag, checked my tires, and was on my way. (I always, always, carry cash, phone, and ID in case of emergency.)
The first part of my ride was easy, so I cycled as normal but paid special attention to what I was doing, and noted any areas for improvement. One of the most obvious things was my nasty habit of constantly coasting, especially on downhills. I was wasting great opportunities to build momentum that could help me climb hills or just get there faster. During the easy part, I came up with a new mantra. (Former students and Mom, if you’re reading this, cover your eyes. I’m about to use a not nice word. Do not repeat after me.) F&%#ing pedal, Lauren. It may not be classy, but it did the trick.
Throughout my ride, if I noticed myself coasting, I’d mutter those words to myself and dig a little deeper. I dare say it worked. I rode 51 miles in 3 hours and 45 minutes today. My speed still needs to improve, but I’m getting to where I need to be to make the cutoff for Steelhead. My goal is to improve the pace to at least 15 – 16mph by race day to allow me wiggle room. I don’t want to be so close to the cutoff times that I have to panic if anything goes wrong!
After my long ride and tiny run today, I was relieved to have my trusty flip flops waiting for me in the car. My feet swell a ton when it’s this hot out, so it’s always nice to get out of my running shoes as soon as humanly possible.
I feel good about today’s ride. There is only one person who can make me faster on the bike… me. Today I proved to myself that I know how to push a little harder than I thought I could. I know that I can push a little harder on the next ride, and the one after that, until I reach the pace I want. And who knows… maybe I’ll get there and keep on pushing.
So happy it’s done!