Friday, May 16, 2008

Spring, at last!

I think it is official, spring has finally arrived in the Rockies! The last couple of days have been beautiful with temperatures in the 20 + Celsius range. With the the positive change in the weather comes the inevitable winds! They have been quite strong the last couple of days, but I think I have finally made peace with them, especially on the bike.
Having a base of almost 2,000 miles behind me on the bike before I hit the roads has made an incredible difference. The experience of Arizona also helped me considerably in learning to handle the wind. But last night when I went riding out towards Jasper in the wind, I actually didn't mind it. The wind was very gusty and was really pushing the bike around on the way out, but I was able to make good headway and stay in a steady rhythm. This is new for me. Last year if the wind was like this I would have stayed on the trainer. I absolutely despised riding in the wind. There would be times when I would feel like throwing my bike in the ditch and walking home rather than buck the wind. However this year in IMAZ when I was forced to battle high winds I realized something that is quite obvious. Get yourself in a light enough gear that you are not killing your legs and work on good pedaling technique. Guys generally want to push big gears, all the time, in all conditions. And that is the way I tackled the wind as well. Before too long your legs are burning and you are not making any headway. With my new approach and better cycling strength I did my ride out to Folding Mountain in one hour flat, a total distance of 18.15 miles. The ride is wonderful as the road has wide shoulders and the whole way out you are watching the mountains get bigger. It is a nice gentle rolling route with no real big hills unless you continue past Folding Mountain. The road was recently re-surfaced so with my new tires pumped up to 120 lbs and a tail wind on the way back I was flying! Scary fast in some places, as there was a bit of a crosswind and it gusted when I was up over 50 km. The bike shook a little bit but I was hanging on pretty good.
This ride has me really enthused and encouraged as I can see that my ironman training has really made a dramatic improvement in my cycling. It has only taken 5 years of persistence to finally get here.
On Wednesday I did a 8.10 mile run in 1:01. I stayed on the trails to keep the pace down a bit. So far this week I am a little above plan on my training plan. Today I will take it easy, with an short interval swim session at lunch and then an easy run this evening.
This is a long weekend so I should be able to get out for a few good rides and runs. The weather is supposed to stay nice as well so I will also have to get some yard work done.
Happy Victoria's Day and have a great weekend!

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