Today was the Tour de Tonka. The actual one. Not one where I try to ride around and try to map it or one where I bail and only do 33 miles. Not today. Today was the full 67 miles.
In my continued attempt at understanding why people enjoy biking, I used my buddies loaner bike for the event. First off, it's clear to me that Erik's Bike shop sold me the wrong bike. Erik's is now officially on my shit list and will be getting no more business from me. Secondly, I'm borrowing my friend's carbon fiber frame bike. It's also clear to me this bike's frame is too short for me but not by much. Lastly, I was the who fit the bike to my body. What that means in a nutshell is it's NOT fit for me. Ironically, it's a better fit than the bike I call my own.
The day started out like nothing different from a typical event day. I had all my stuff packed the night before so all I did was apply butt'r, put on my stuff, steep some tea, and head out the door. The cool morning air was very welcome. It started out as one of those days that would be absolutely perfect. And it was. Today's event couldn't have been better from start to finish.
The ride itself was pretty straight forward. I met some friendly (and gorgeous) women at the beginning but didn't see them again. That was disappointing. But I did manage to find the TNT folks. Becca was really the only one I recognized in the group and it was a lot of fun to see her again.
Throughout the ride I was in and out of the aero bars but one thing I learned is I really really really like riding in aero bars. They're MUCH better than riding with the bike handles. You can really spit in the face of that head wind. But don't because you'll get a luggie fly right back in your face. You also pedal much more efficiently.
I know this wasn't a race and I think that's what helped me to enjoy this so much more than my other biking attempts. Other biking events I've been focused on going as fast as humanly possible and all I'd do is get passed. Today, I just chilled, let happen what would happen, and found something amazing out. I can actually pass people. And by people, I mean virtually everyone. I think my pass to being passed ratio was on the order of 120:1. It was amazing. And I wasn't even focused on speed. Just getting this thing done.
The only problem I'm finding out about aero bars is the goin thing. I think at some point my family gems went numb and there's no amount of repositioning that can be done to reinstate circulation. I was riding on the faith that I wasn't neutering myself. Thankfully when all was said and done I walked away in one piece and a much better person.
So, what I learned through all this is
- The bike you use is very important. Sadly, I'm going to have to save for a very nice bike and there's no way around it.
- Biking really isn't that horrible when your mind is in the right place. In fact, it's down right fun. When in racing mode, I've got to learn to slow down and KNOW that what I'm doing is right and I'm not slow as a turtle.
- The aero position is amazing for riding. It's comfortable (minus numb body parts) and breaks the wind very nicely.
- I need to focus on my ride and no one else's.
- In not too many weeks I'm going to be having to do practically this exact same distance and then run a half marathon after it. WTF!
- An Ironman is double this. Please explain to me how ANYONE found this to be a good idea.
And there we go. This is the longest ride I've ever been on a bike. My initial reaction is a positive one. Once I take a nap and tend to my chafing I'm sure I'll be back on the bike for another long one not too long from now.
[Note: Once Motionbased pulls their heads out of the butts I'll post the map of the route as well as my lap paces and overall performance.]
[UPDATE: 67 mile route is below.]