Friday, June 27, 2008

One for my cycling / tri friends

Ok, let's get this out front: I know next to nothing about cycling. There you go!

A year ago for my birthday I was presented with a bicycle. I realized the last time i had ever put my butt on a bicycle seat was almost 5 years prior when I ended law school and rather than cart my very old bike home with me in the U-Haul, I donated it to the local Goodwill. I found this hard to believe. I had just turned 31 and it had been nearly 1/6 of my life since I had even ridden a bicycle. Wow.

So, I promptly hopped on my new Scwhinn Frontier mountain bike and went for a ride. I went for one more ride that summer and then that was it. I changed jobs, moved across the country and had other forms of exercise that took up my time.

Well, I recently decided I was going to do a local, low-key triathlon. the reason? Well, it was super-cheap and unlike every other triathlon I have seen, it not only favored mountain bikes, but it required one. Well, good. I have one! So, last week, I saddled up the bike and took it out on three or four separate occasions. I remembered how sore my butt gets riding and now know why my tri friends talk about "time in the saddle".

Well, after a sluggish week of running this week in which I never once got on the bike, I got some good news in my personal life and I felt like a ride. I decided to go over to my old Faithful, Liberty Park. With a 1.5 mile loop around Liberty Park, it is the one place I know I can run unimpeded without stoplights or traffic. Well, for the most part.

You see, at the top and bottom of this 1.5 loop there is a concrete barrier to keep people from driving through. There are two holes cut in the wall about 6 feet wide which allow pedestrians to pass. so while a runner (or in this case cyclist) is pretty safe, they still must slow down and look for other traffic coming behind them or form the opposite direction. Plus there is the occasional idiot who comes in the wrong way or does not look at foot/cycle traffic from their left when they speed into the park or, (my favorite tonight) comes in, talking on her cellphone and precedes to drive ON THE SIDEWALK for 50 yards before nearly hitting a pedestrian and pulling back onto the road.

But I digress.

I used to think this loop was as flat as could be but found out different once I started riding the bike. The Southwestern end and middle of the eastern side contain a slight grade. I can't tell you how many miles I have run on this and never noticed it. But put me on a bike and it was very apparent. This made me decide to map out my next bike ride and give you all an elevation profile which I know you love!

My trusty bike (I am unsure how much she weighs but the shipping weight is 40lbs) and I headed over to Liberty Park. I decided to see how far I could go in an hour but was in on way trying to do a timetrial. Heck, it is a hefty mountain bike, there are pedestrians abound, I had ran 10 miles earlier in the day and well, I am no a cyclist. but I had an idea what I could do.

I took off and one hour later had done 17.25 miles. And sure enough, take a look at this little elevation profile!

Now, that is funny!

But what made me more happy than my 17.25mph was my consistency.

Here are my 1.5 mile loop splits:

In fact, any deviation from the 4:48 was because of said disturbances at the gate interchanges. It was pretty uncanny how exact the splits were.

With a smile on my face for a job well done, I headed back to my house with my girl, Schwinnie Cooper. Yep, I named her after any 30 year old guy's favorite girl next door from the Wonder Years. And if you were curious if the years have been good to Winnie, I mean, Danika McKellar well...

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