August 7, 2008

Bike Envy

I'm ashamed to admit this, but I am suffering from severe bike envy. I got up early, and I'm talking record-breaking early for me, to do a ride in Central Park since my day was going to be jam packed. I was in the park by 6:15 a.m. and immediately noticed the higher caliber of cyclist at this hour as compared to my usual mid-day rides. I spent more time ogling people's bikes than focusing on how well I was riding, although it may have caused me to speed up more than once so it wasn't all bad. I've shared how much I'd love to buy a triathlon specific bike and I'm just waiting for the right time, but I feel like that time couldn't be soon enough.

I ride a really simple, really basic road bike. When I took up cycling, I wasn't sure I'd even enjoy it. I didn't have a lot of money to spend and honestly wouldn't have known what to spend it on even if I'd had it. I went to my local bike shop and said I wanted something cheap so they sold me the Trek 1000, Trek's entry level road bike. It seemed so great at the time and it has really served me well. That first summer riding was the best ever. I did a metric century on my fourth ride and completed a full century the next summer. My bike serves its purpose and has held up nicely even though I don't treat it so nicely, and it survived being hit by a car (as did I) and has the scars to prove it. My cycling has improved tremendously, particularly this season, but I can't help but think how much better it could be with a shiny new tri bike.

Before I start to sound like a typical, gear-obsessed show off, let me also share that my bike frame is way too small for me. Apparently the bike shop was just looking to make a sale rather than sell me what was best for my size, so I now have a really ill-fitting bike that I can make better with some adjustments, but it will always be the wrong size frame. I know - excuses, excuses. I can sit here and make them all day to justify the tri bike purchase, but there is validity to some of it. But I'll continue to wait, not patiently, until the time comes for me to purchase my new bike.

My ride today was great, an easy 20 miles that was done by 7:15. I'm usually not even up by then so I was feeling really productive. I ate my second breakfast and headed off to the pool. On the way there I decided to swim another mile to change things up a bit. Swimming laps can be a bit like running on the treadmill, very repetitive and monotonous unless you try to make each workout different and focused on something new. I warmed up with 250 yards, rested for one minute and went right into the mile. Around the half-mile point, I had to stop for about 15 seconds to dump the water out of my goggles. I don't know what is going on, but they were leaking so badly that they literally filled up with water. I pressed them on really hard to try for a tight seal and kept going. They leaked a tiny bit, but I was able to finish without fixing them again. I felt great during the swim. I could tell I was breathing a little harder than my previous miles so I was hoping it meant I was swimming faster. I was thrilled that turned out to be the case. My first mile took about 38:00, the second 40:00 and this was 35:14. I'd love to be able to do the swim at my Olympic on 9/14 in under 35:00 so I'm just going to keep working on it.

I undid most of today's workouts with a phenomenal dinner in Brooklyn. We met friends in Carroll Gardens at Lucali for what is by far the best pizza I've had in New York. This was my second visit and it was even better than the first time since I have my training appetite. I had 4.25 slices (yes, I ate someone's leftovers) and a quarter of a very big calzone. Even if I didn't have the appetite of an insatiable beast, there is something about this pizza that allows you to eat twice as much as other pizza. It has the perfect thin crust, just the right amount of topping and everything is incredibly fresh. I don't know why I don't go there more often. You do have to wait - anywhere from 1-2 hours - but it is well worth it. You just camp out at a local bar until it's close to your seating time. It makes for a perfect night.

Distance - 20.3 miles
Time - 1:13:19

Distance - 2250 yards (1.28 miles)
Time - 45:00

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