Tuesday, May 26, 2009

I'm No Boy Scout, Part 1

I was ill prepared for both of the rides I did this weekend. Fortunately, the first one turned out great despite my lack of preparation. If only the second one had ended so well.

We went to our cabin for the first time since Thanksgiving. It's so nice and relaxing to be there. It's also great hill training. My mom was staying with us and I wanted to make sure I got out for a road ride with her. She's training to do her first DALMAC this year, and I know how valuable that hill training was to my second DALMAC. There just aren't any hills in mid-Michigan you can ride to prepare for those on DALMAC. Everything down here is pretty small. There are, however, some killer hills right outside my cabin door. I thought it would be great conditioning for my mom and wouldn't hurt me much either.

I brought along both bikes, all my clothes and gear, tires to change since my back road tire was toast after 600 miles on the trainer this winter. I remembered everything, or so I thought. As I started to get ready to ride Saturday morning, I realized I forgot my road shoes. Since I have Speedplay pedals on my road bike and SPDs on my mountain bike, wearing my MTB shoes wasn't an option. I didn't have any tools to swap the pedals, either.

My mom suggested we go for a walk instead, but I knew she wanted to ride. I did, too. So, I decided to try it on my mountain bike. I thought my mom on her carbon Orbea (I know, can you believe she has a cooler bike than me?) would be miles ahead of me and I'd never be able to get my tank of a mountain bike up those huge hills. Now I know I've ridden my mountain bike on the road plenty of times, but not long distances and not on those hills.

Guess what? I turns out I'm in better shape than I was last year and the year before. Granted, that bike's not ideal for that purpose, but it worked just fine. I was able to get up all the hills without even using my granny gear and I was able to keep up. We ended up getting in a 30-mile ride.

The coolest thing about this is that now I know that I can use my mountain bike for riding around up there. That means I don't have to drag two bikes up North if I want to ride on the road, too. It also means I can ride the gravel roads and the pavement on the same ride without switching bikes. How cool is that?

Lately I've been thinking that all that training I did this winter was really worth it. I know I'm still not a great mountain biker. I know I'm still really slow. But every time I have been out on a trail or on the road lately riding something I rode a year or two ago, I'm amazed at how much better I am at it than the last time. That alone would probably make it worth it, even if my race times weren't getting better.

In the next installment, I'll tell the story of yesterday's Hanson Hills debacle.

1 comment:

Ali B. said...

Ack! You were at Hanson and I didn't know?! Next time let me know.. would love to ride with you! :)