Thursday, August 21, 2008

Mixing in some cycling...

I'm still in the process of getting used to working cycling sessions into my normal routine. A couple of months ago I decided that it would be a good idea to start trying to work some other sports into the mix, and I figured that cycling would be my best bet. Unfortunately, it had been more than 10 years since I'd done any significant riding, and my old mountain bike wasn't really in the best shape. Further, my goals were significantly different than they were back then and it really wasn't the right kind of bike for what I wanted to do.

As such, I did a bit of looking and picked up a proper road bike (Cervelo Soloist) that would allow me to do some longer and harder rides than my old one would have allowed. Given that my intention was to maximize the exercise benefits, I also elected to switch from platform pedals to clipless pedals. Both changes provide major benefits, however they also have a significant learning curve so it's taken a bit of work to get things down. The last few weeks have been pretty rainy so I haven't had many chances to take it out and continue working on my technique.

Fortunately, this week has been pretty much perfect so I've been taking the bike out for a short (20min/10K) ride each day in addition to my normal workouts. These sessions have gone very well so far, and I was able to make some significant strides in my ability to perform the basic tasks that I was having problems with. As such, I felt that it was about time to attempt a proper session on the bike to see how things go.

I got up early this morning to fit the session in, pulled out the bike and took off. As I'm still not 100% confident in my ability to unclip in an emergency scenario, I elected to remain within the confines of my subdivision and simply do laps. The original plan was simply to do a hard 15km ride and see how things went. Fortunately the ride went great, so I kept adding more laps until I got to 32km and elected to stop due to time constraints. I managed to maintain an average speed a little over 30km/h, and hit a maximum of 51km/h with a few sprints that I mixed into the workout.

Naturally, riding 10 laps around the same terrain wasn't particularly exciting, so I'm definitely going to have to start venturing out a bit more for future rides. Regardless, this ride was enough to (a) show that I can cycle well enough to start doing proper workouts on the bike (ie so I can replace other sessions rather than simply do it in addition to) and (b) give me enough confidence in my skills to consider expanding onto the more dangerous arterial roads.

As such, I'll probably do this a few more times to practice the remaining rough spots but I'm definitely hoping to try out some more interesting bike routes in the near future. Naturally, the ability to start replacing other workouts with time on the bike will also significantly increase the opportunities to do so (weather permitting of course). The running sessions will certainly remain untouched, however the cycling should be more than sufficient to replace some of the walking that I do on a daily basis.

Either way, it's back to running tonight with 6x400m hills with the half marathon clinic group. Hopefully I didn't tire the quads out too much this morning ;)

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