the mice will play.
Or they’ll just keep the bike and trainer in the living room for the next two weeks.
Earlier this week I suggested that some general excitement was happening in these parts. Make Today Ridiculously Amazing? How about have an outstandingly awesome couple of weeks. Oh. Well, alright!
Part 1 in the string of awesome that I’ve embraced is that I’m so proud, excited, and ecstatic to announce that I’m now running for Team Oiselle. Go check them out. If you are female and a runner I guarantee you’ll be enamored. As I admitted to the fine ladies of Oiselle, I’ve been (in a friendly way!) Internet stalking them and their team for quite some time, and I’m so impressed and inspired by what they do. Not just because of their similar Berkeley/Oregon/Seattle roots or their love for France, but a few other reasons too:
1. Oiselle clothes are made for runners by runners, and they appreciate the balance between function and form. Runners want to look like runners, but we do care about what we’re wearing, and Oiselle makes it possible to look cute while going fast, all while having all the pockets we need!
2. Oiselle is loyal to their customers. I have told this story too many times to count, and will continue to until something trumps it (unlikely): Months back I placed an order, tweeted about it, and subsequently (and unrelated) tweeted that I wanted a PR at my next race. When I received my order not only did I have a hand written note, but it too wished me a PR. As a marketer I was impressed, as a consumer I was hooked, as a runner I was in love.
3. Oiselle supports runners, and is as much about the love for the run as breaking records. I’m proud to be part of a group that loves the process as much as the end result, because the reality is that most of us aren’t breaking records every day. But lots of us are getting out there, working hard, and running for fitness and fun.
In my quest to become more involved in things I love, over the past 9 months I started following many of the team members’ blogs, started my own, began to reach out, and finally decided to take a leap and apply to be part of the group. Ask and you shall receive.
Thanks for welcoming me, Oiselle. I can’t wait to represent at my first race as part of the team tomorrow. Not only will I run (hopefully) a faster half marathon than ever before, but I’ll look cute and feel comfortable doing it.
And to my running readers and friends: See something you can’t live without at Oiselle? Email me and I’ll share some friends and family coupon love for your first order.
I finally toughened up and took My Pretty out for her first outside ride yesterday. It was about 43 degrees. With
wet pavement, misty air, occasional sprinkles, official total rain. Temperature-wise I was fine. Dampness-wise I was soaked but not uncomfortable after 2 hours and 30 minutes on the road. Dirt-wise I had gravel and mud everywhere, including in the toes of my socks, under my sports bra, in my pockets, and between my phone and its cover which had been in the inner-most safe spot possible. Winter ride success.
My only complaint is in regards to cleaning my bike after the ride. I spent about 20 minutes trying to rinse away grime and dirt from all the nooks and crannies between the derailleur bits, brake pads, inside of the forks, rear hydration wing, etc. Any easy tips for doing this? Especially when you don’t have a garage or a hose? My current method includes a faucet on the public sidewalk, an old rag, flip flops, and a bottle or pitcher to target tough-to-scrub spots, as well as passing by REI shoppers who see me and simultaneously decide that they actually don’t want a bike because it looks like a lot of work.
Seriously. Let me know. Otherwise I might resort to dog park washing stations.
Also, don’t say fenders. I know I know I know.
Today was my first real ride since my long training rides for Black Diamond, and the race itself. I’ve spent plenty of time on the trainer since then, but riding out in the elements is a completely different story. Somehow, I was spared from the rain during my 3 hours on the road today, but given that it was raining all night my trade was some serious skunk stripe, road grit that got through two layers of clothing, and both my bike and I needed a pressure washing session when we got home.
With how great I felt on the bike just a month ago I assumed I’d still feel that good today. While I haven’t been putting in near as much saddle time I’ve been doing a significant amount of base fitness work, have added in weights, and consistently feel much stronger as a runner than I have since last winter. However I’m sad to report that my cycling didn’t live up to my mental hype today.
There were some wins: I felt like I was spinning a lot more of the ride, rather than muscling through the uphills and riding the downhills. I willed myself to stay in the saddle up every hill (and it was HILLY!), whereas usually I find myself standing up in the pedals for at least a few short stretches to keep my momentum up. I didn’t crash, which is a win today because wet pavement + crunched up leaves + hills + standing water + turns = wipeout city. I felt sort of badass battling the sideways wind around the east side of the lake and back across I-90, and even though I felt a little freaked about it I rode through it and conquered.
But, it didn’t feel effortless. My mind went in to today viewing my ride as an easy confidence builder, hoping that upon hitting the last hill and mile I’d feel unfinished and wish there was more distance until home. Mentally I wanted to get out there, surprise myself with my own fitness, and spend the next 40 miles enjoying the swirling reds, oranges, and yellows of autumn. None of this was the case. It was hard, my legs burned, I beat myself up about why something so seemingly easy was a challenge, and then my legs burned some more no matter whether I was in the big ring or small one. To top it off, I overdressed and was drenched in sweat on this windy 50 degree day. I lost my water bottle on a bump and had to circle back to get it. And, 1 mile in I realized that my garmin mount was dangerously loose and my allen key was too short to reach down the tube to tighten it. So I watched it bounce around for 45 miles hoping that it wouldn’t fly off my aerobars and make me stop short. And then I got home and started to make my post ride pumpkin smoothie and realized we were out of bananas! FML.
That’s the thing about the bike. There are so many factors outside of yourself that you have to learn to control as much as you can, but then let go of. Equipment and weather magnify the good (or bad) experience that you’re having, and can really make or break your day out there. Of course, you can’t prevent a flat, but I certainly could have checked my garmin mount before I headed around the lake. With running it’s you and your shoes, and the only thing stopping you is extreme ice, snow, cold. The swimming pool is the most controlled environment there is.
During the summer I got so comfortable on the bike that I started feeling okay about the variables, and more confident that I could overcome them. I need to get back to that. I have a feeling this winter is going to be a challenge for me, but I need to get back in the saddle and become the Nemo of biking. Just. Keep. Pedaling!