One of the challenges with my heavy travel schedule – you can read about it on my other blog worldbanktraveller – is the effect it has on my cycling. Not only do I not always have a bike with me, but when I do it is not my triathlon bike. Now, there is nothing wrong with non-triathlon bikes. They are great. I have two road bikes which I love to ride, and my fixed gear bike is a real blast. But my triathlon bike is something special … it is fast. And I mean really fast. It also has a fundamental different riding position from other bikes so my body needs to get ‘dialled in’ to the aerodynamic position. With the Boston marathon behind me it was time to focus on cycling again, so my Cervelo P3 was tuned up and taken out for the first time in at least six months.
My Endurance Nation training plan has two long rides a week so early Sunday morning I headed down to Hains Point, the favourite location for local cyclists. As you can see from the map below, it is on a peninsula in the Potomac river, and has about a 3 mile flat loop.
As I headed down the bike path towards Washington D.C. I was reminded just how fast the P3 is. It is also very skittish, probably due to its shorter wheelbase. It was the day of the George Washington Parkway 10 mile run which I did a few years ago, and was very cold – but today was quite the contrast, sunny with an expected near record high of the low 90’s for Washington D.C. in April.
I was there just after 07:00 and the roads were as busy as ever 🙂 It is so delightful to have to worry mainly about passing (or being passed by) other cyclists and the walkers doing the loop. It did start to get busy by 09:00, but still much nicer than the bike path or on the road.
I was able to focus on my position and pedalling technique and went around, and around, and around – generally ignoring the three stop signs which are inconveniently placed on the loop. Except for the time when I passed a police car which followed me. Doesn’t pay to tempt fate too often.
I definitely need to spend a lot more time on my bike as I was not able to hold the aerodynamic position as long as I need to. This sees the rider leaning forward and taking pressure on their arms near the elbow. My arms and back are not up to it yet, but it will come. The bike also has a different leg angle position so I was feeling it in my legs, but again, they will adapt. That is why Endurance Nation’s coaches recommend you just ride your triathlon bike and no others.
After 45 miles of riding I headed home for a quick change before heading out to a running clinic given by my old coach Margie Shapiro. It was great seeing her again and I ended up trying a different type of shoe than I’ve used before. I’ve used Asics 2300 series for years but they’ve changed the design slightly and I’m tired of losing toe nails. The Newton shoe is a fundamentally different design and I’m looking forward to seeing if it works for me.
Monday morning I headed out for my second long r ide, back to Hains Point yet again before work. Managed another 1:45 of riding before hitting the office. My body is definitely feeling the effects of being back on my triathlon bike, but it’s great to be back on such a thoroughbred. I now just need to work on my cycling so I’m worthy of the bike.