Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Triple ring or double?

I am still debating this. I mean, there has been ONE time in the entire time I've been cycling that I thought "yeah, I could use a granny gear right now. That would be nice." Well...that and at the very top of Mt. Diablo, when you have that very last hill which is simply impossible with a double crank after you've just climbed 14,000 feet. Your legs are spent and basically say "um, no."

The triple crank proponents say "good for those longer rides when you need to save something for the 85 mile mark and you have another 2000 feet of climbing." I agree with this theory. However, I have yet to ride beyond the 72-mile mark. Granted, I will certainly approach this mark and go beyond - far beyond, I'm sure - in the next year. Keeping that in mind, I may want to opt for the triple crank.

Then there's the competitive side of me. The one that says "you've made it this long with a double. Why wuss out and opt for triple?" The one that enjoys the sense of pride I feel as I roll past people up a hill with my double crank, thinking "yeah, that's right. Double crank, baby!" I know, it's a lame way to think. It's a completely macho, totally unnecessary and utterly ridiculous way to think. And yet...I still can't help it. *sigh*

Why do I ask this? Just was thinking about that as I went up Wildcat Canyon this morning. Thinking "wow, this wasn't as bad as I remember it. Wait, only went up one of the three Bears this morning...the last time was after a full Three Bears circuit. Do that and THEN see how easy it is." Maybe I will. With my double ring. And I'll love every pedal stroke of it!

So workout was once again modified slightly, but that was only because I ended up swimming in the 1:25 lane last night and all 2400 yards completely kicked my butt. Ohhhhhh, but it felt so good. I LOVE swimming. Have I mentioned that before? When I am 95 and I can barely walk, won't be able to run, and don't quite have the strength for mashing up hills on my bike, I will still be free-styling my way down the pool lane. Slow as I may be, I will still be enjoying the refreshing feel of the water on my skin, the underwater view through my Swedish goggles and the empowerment I gain from using the strength of my body to push through that resistance, gliding forward until it's time to take one last breath before I flip, then feeling myself glide forward again with force from my push off the wall. Then I get out of the water. Suddenly everything is clearer. If I was feeling cloudy-minded, be it from waking up in the early morning or feeling the post-work drag and the accumulated lethargy from the BART ride home - it is completely vanished. In fact, I feel revived, energetic and awake. Ready to begin the day with a hop in my step or end it on a relaxed and strong note. The best way I can describe swimming, whether it is in a pool or out in the open water (a completely different beast altogether, but yields similar results), is invigorating. Life-giving. Refreshing. Most of all, I feel strong. Even in my dreaded backstroke, which is my slowest, I still feel strong. In swimming you don't just use your legs, or your arms, or your core. You use ALL of it. You use your entire body from your toes to your head. You use your mental strength as well as your physical strength. And in return for all that strength you use, your body thanks you. What could be better?

All that said, I didn't swim this morning. :-) I was sore from my oh-so-invigorating swim last night. The plan was to do a bike then swim. But I woke up at 5:45 a.m. and I thought "oh nooooooooooooooo." Just wasn't happening. I knew if I went with said plan I would be a) hurting even more and b) wasting my time because the laps I would log in the pool would simply be junk laps. It wouldn't feel good, I'd be slow, and my muscles would hate me. So no point.

Instead, I did this:
Slept for two more hours. Woke up, donned my bike shorts and jersey (yup, no leg warmers, no arm warmers, no vest, and no wool socks!), slapped on some sunscreen, grabbed my bike and sunglasses and headed out. I had one hour and twenty minutes. I'll be honest - if I do another Tunnel Road ride I am going to scream. SO tired of that ride. So...I thought "what could I do that would be a good hilly ride and get a little distance in?" I knew I didn't have enough time for Three Bears (route here), but what about One Bear? So I did. And you know what? It took exactly one hour twenty minutes!! I need to figure out distance and elevation gain, but I was proud nonetheless. I went up Euclid to Grizzly Peak to Wildcat Canyon Rd, down Wildcat Canyon, crossed San Pablo Dam Rd. and onto Bear Creek Rd., and up Papa Bear. Got to the top of Papa Bear right at about 42 minutes into the ride and turned around. The sun was shining, there was some nice cool air on my arms and legs as I descended Wildcat and Papa Bear, and a big fat smile was plastered all over my face. Even climbing back up Wildcat, I smiled a bit. It felt *so* great to be out in the sun. To not have any sort of 'warming' clothing on. I did find that it took about 20 minutes for me to warm up and find my riding legs, but once I was just marvelous. Swimming may always be my first love, but one thing riding has on swimming - you can't swim and look down and gaze upon lush green rolling hills that lead down to a beautiful reservoir, smelling the different flowers and grasses that have finally begun to spring forth from the dirt below. What an amazing way to start my day. And to think I almost went swimming INSTEAD of riding!

That would have been a travesty.

The remainder of the week:
Thursday 4/20: lift/run in the a.m., 30 minute swim at 6 p.m.
Friday, 4/21: bike ride in the a.m.; swim at 6 p.m.
Saturday, 4/22: part of me wants to say swim at 7 a.m., but you know...with Revive the Vibe the night before and the fact that I do need to get a rest day in after a particularly taxing week, I'm gonna say REST DAY!
Sunday, 4/23: Big ol' bike ride. :-D

I love this sport.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Get a compact road crank.