The Ins and Outs of an Ordinary Life

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Learning to Love the Pace Line

I went up to Northampton, MA to go to bike camp with 3 other GOBs (girls on bikes). It was a 3 day experience on some of the most beautiful back country roads I've ever had the opportunity to explore on a bike. On Friday, we talked about and "practiced" some techniques and skills, such as ascending and descending, generating power through the entire pedal stroke (think round pedal strokes), counter-steering, and riding on rough pavement. On Saturday we learned how to ride in a pace line with rotations. It was amazing! First we experimented by moving closer and further and lateral to the lead rider to feel the draft. Then we rode in one long pace line, then we started rotations, dropping off the front and taking turns leading with a nice headwind. Before long we were working as a group and cruising down the road with less effort and more speed. It was really incredible to experience the pull of the draft and how to make it work for you. It is easy to understand how a group of riders can work together especially on longer rides (like the RI Century we are planning on in Septmeber). It was a fun 3 days. We learned new skills, rode about 100 miles, ate good food, and had many good laughs. Gotta love me some GOBs.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Good Luck Katie

My friend Katie has become a randonnuese. What is a randonnuese, you ask? A randonnuese is a woman who goes on randonne`e. And what is a randonne`e? A randonne`e is a long distance cycling event. It is not a race, although there are time limits. It is about finding your competitive spirit and self-sufficiency to compete against the clock, the weather and a challenging route. Unlike endurance cycling races, randonne’e events (which are called brevet) have limited support. You may receive support at the checkpoints, but not in between. You can buy food, supplies, and even repairs along the route, but you may not have a crew helping you between checkpoints.

This weekend, Katie is attempting to become a super-randonnuese, which is the title given to women who complete a sequence of 200, 300, 400 and 600k brevets in a single season. She has completed the 200, 300, and 400 k brevets. This weekend is the eastern PA 600k. That’s 374 miles, with 26,000 ft of climbing. They start at about 4 am on Saturday, ride 400k, sleep a few hours, then ride 200k on Sunday. And what do you get upon becoming a super-randonneuse? Bling, a very pretty medal. But we all know it’s not about bringing home the bling.

Good luck Katie! And Victor! Who will become a super-randonnuer. And I promise, wimp that I am, that I will never complain about the rigors of completing a metric century, a mere 62 miles. I’m just going to do it.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Time Flies When You're Battling Inflammation

Wow, has it really been 6 weeks since I've posted anything! It was about 6 weeks ago that I started having pain and discomfort in my right shoulder and arm. It became more of an issue when I was swimming, so I decided I needed to take a break and rest my shoulder. That's when it actually got MUCH worse, to the point where I could not straighten my arm without significant pain. I couldn't even ride my bike because I couldn't adequately shift or use the breaks. I went to see my doctor who prescribed an anti-inflammatory med and did some bloodwork to rule out autoimmune/inflammatory disease. Happily, the pain started to subside about 1 hour after taking the first pill. After 5 or 6 days I was back where I started, with pain and discomfort, not very severe but fairly constant and fear of getting back in the pool. After a few more weeks of total rest it was very clear that total rest was not the solution, so today I saw the orthopod. The diagnosis is calcific burstitis and the treatment is a cortisone injection. Injection? Like big needle...... in my shoulder? Now? I am such a sissy when it comes to needles. Luckily, I didn't really have time to think about it. I asked a few questions, the nurse cleaned up my shoulder and then it was done! Now I have to rest my arm/shoulder for another 3 weeks, so no weight lifting or swimming (he said that twice and the second time he added "definitely" no swimming). So I have a 3 week prescription for dialing it back. I have been on my bike and I will continue to ride and that's all good. Now I am kicking myself for not going to see an orthopedist sooner. But hopefully in 3 weeks I will be on my way to a recovery and back in the pool.