The weather where we are has been absolutely out of this world all week, on Monday it was 27 degrees! The sun was shining, the sky was blue and it was really spectacular to get outside and enjoy some fresh air. The entire community seems to be coming alive, people out running, walking their dogs, watering their lawn, playing ball hockey on the road and biking. Oh and speaking of biking……
I BOUGHT MY BIKE FOR THE IRONMAN 70.3 THIS WEEKEND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The last bike I ever owned was a “Huffy” brand bike, I think the last time I rode it was about 10 years ago (or more) and from what I remember, I totally sucked at it. When we were kids my Dad used to ride his bike with my brothers and I about 5km to McDonalds, and I can remember one year I was too tired to make it back to our house and my mom had to come and pick me and my bike up on the side of the road. Oh the shame.
I did some research before going out to shop. My biggest fear was getting a bike where I had to ride in a “tucked” position for the entire time. Basically, I just really, really don’t want to be this guy:
I know that the “aero tuck” as the cyclists call it is absolutely the most aerodynamic riding position, creates the least drag and shaves precious seconds off your time. In a sport won and lost in miliseconds, those seconds can be a total make or break.
But let’s be serious – I’m not planning on winning the Muskoka 70.3 Ironman. (Sorry to disappoint). Actually, if I cross the finish line at all, I’ll count myself darn lucky. Since I’m planning on being on my bike for about 4 hours, and then will have to get off it and run a half marathon, I’d really, really like to be somewhat comfortable on it.
I learned from my research that what I was really after was a “road bike” vs. a “tri-bike”. Tri-Bikes seem to be much more aerodynamic, and use energy more efficiently for triathletes because of the riding position. On a tri-bike, the riding position is much more forward then on a road bike. What the forward position does for you is transfer the working load into your hamstrings and spares the quads from having to work as hard as they would otherwise. This in turn saves your quads for the run after you get off the bike. Genius in theory, but I just can’t live with the forward position. Not yet anyways. Maybe I’ll get there.
So road bike it is. I knew approximately how much I wanted to spend, so Matt and I figured that we would just walk into a couple of bike shops and ask someone to help us find a bike. We strolled into the first shop and a very nice man explained a bit about road bikes to us, and gave me two options to pick from, one within my price range, and one outside of my price range slightly, but a “step up” in caliber. Both were this kind of ugly teal colour, but I kept my mouth shut for fear of sounding vain. It’s not how the bike looks; it’s how it performs right?
I almost got swayed for the more expensive bike, but thankfully Matt and the guy from the store reeled me back in by pointing out that since this is my first bike, if I do end up loving the sport (and I really hope that I do), I’m going to want to upgrade the bike in not too long as it is and go for the multiple thousand dollar carbon-fiber bike. I seriously doubt I’ll ever spend multiple thousand dollars on a bike, but hey, anything can happen I suppose.
We went on to our next stop, and that was where all the magic happened.
Another very nice sales man brought me over to (you guessed it) another teal bike. What is with all of the cheaper bike models coming in teal?! The bike seemed nice enough, similar to the one that I had looked at in the first shop, except a little bit cheaper. Our sales man had to walk away for a minute to help out someone else, and when he did, that’s when my eye caught sight of a foxy black and pink beauty 3 bikes over from the teal one.
I casually wandered over and started stroking the bike. She was beautiful. Matt and I figured that it would be one of those multiple thousand dollar bikes, and probably even more for the colour on it. When the sales man came back, I closed my eyes and asked the question. How much for the foxy black and pink bike? When he replied cheerfully that this was just the 2013 colour for the teal bike that we had just been looking at, and it still fell within my budget, I wept with joy.
Well, I didn’t weep, but I did jump a bit and do a lot of happy squealing. Matt wasn’t impressed with my bargaining skills.
I was ready to pull out my credit card right then and there, but we had to wait a couple of hours for them to set up the bike in my size in the back so I could take it on a test drive. While we were waiting we checked out one more bike shop, got totally insulted by this very rude man with terrible hair and walked out without looking at a single bike.
I took my black and pink baby for a test ride around the parking lot and was so shaky on it that I think the poor 16 year old kid that was trying to help me was worried about his own personal liability in the whole situation. It didn’t really help that I was wearing sandals and jean capris pants I guess, but I felt like I had never ridden a bike in my entire life!!
A couple swipes of the Visa later and we were walking out with her in tow!!
Allow me to introduce: Jill. Or Jill the Giant.
She’s pretty 🙂
On Sunday morning I took Jilly for a little 3km ride around our neighbourhood streets and I felt awesome!! Much less shaky when I was dressed properly (and wearing a helmet).
Things started to click when I was on the bike big time. I started to realize that my body type (with my bulkier frame and thick thighs) was totally NOT built to run long distances. Everything about the way my body is built works in direct opposition to running. But everything about the way my body is built is TOTALLY made for biking. It will take some practice and a lot of long rides, but I’m hopeful that the bike will actually be a strong leg of the race for me in triathlons. I also love it because it’s non-impact and is kind to my joints!!
Now, if anyone knows of a 90km, kind of hilly but completely and totally abandoned road with zero cars on it in the Greater Toronto Area, please let me know. I’m scared silly I’m going to get hit by a car on the road!!!!
Have a great afternoon everyone and GO LEAFS GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!