Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hanging with my peeps

I was supposed to be participating in the See Jane Tri this weekend with Tina, but some of my family chose this weekend to plan a get together in Vegas. So, off I flew Friday morning to meet up with my peeps.

We saw the newest (I think) Cirque du Soleil show "Love", which is based on Beatles tunes. It was good, but very different from the rest of their shows. This one was less about strength/acrobatic feats of wonder and had more of a story line to it. Of course there were still feats of wonder, just not as many. The music was awesome tho, and I'd say it's definitely worth seeing. It just wasn't my favorite of all the Cirque shows.

All in all it was a fun weekend with a few too many drinks, too much shopping, a TON of people watching....okay, people critiquing....but very little gambling. I've realized I'm just not very lucky, so it's better to keep my money and dump it on something a new bicycle. :-)

I'll have to leave the summary there, can't say more. As you know...."What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas."

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Who to believe?

Okay, so in the search for 'the' new ride I hit a local bike shop today. Wouldn't ya' know it...I got basically the opposite advice as the first shop I checked out. I liked the guy at this shop, he explained basically everything about the different bikes: riding positions, frame material, compact vs triple gearing, etc.

However, after visually 'sizing' me up, he recommended a women's specific bike. The guy at the other shop said women's bikes were for 'petite' women and I DEFINITELY wouldn't classify myself as petite. Also this guy said my legs looked fairly long, while the other guy thought my legs were short 'for my height.'

Sadly, the bike he was recommending for me wasn't in stock so I couldn't take a spin on it. I probably wouldn't have wanted to anyway since it rained most of the day. They're ordering one for the floor in a size that will work for me and will call when it's in so I can check it out.

Now, do I flip a coin as to who has the 'correct' advice? Or hit a third shop to see if I get a 2/3 situation on advice? I think the biggest problem is that I don't know enough about what I want/need to determine which bike is right for me.

The one certainty is that I don't want a tri specific bike. Evidently they're great for nice flat tri courses, but are horrible at hill climbing and a little squirrely on handling. And sadly, the going advice is that I would need to do some hills to get stronger. Sad, I know. ;-) Squirrely handling for me=bad, bad news...probably a crash. The guy today said that if you have a lot of money, you could buy a tri bike for racing and another bike for training. Uh, yeah, not me, but thanks for the advice. :-)

So the search continues......

Monday, September 17, 2007

Really tri-ing

After much whining on my part about missing the See Jane Tri, due to my families trip to Vegas, I roped T into doing another tri. It's going to be my last of the year, sadly, as the season is quickly ending. We debated for most of the week and I even emailed the guy running it to make sure we could register on-site. :-)

This was the "Tri for Real", run by the same folks that did the "Tri for Fun" series we had done earlier in the summer. So, the 'real' tri is a bit longer, which is one of the reasons we had been debating about doing it. The swim is 700 yds vs. 400 yds., the bike is 18 miles vs 12 miles, and the run is 4 miles vs 3 miles. Are we up for it? Hell, yeah. Why not.

So, T was at my place at 5:00 on Sunday and we were off. We got to the park, scored a prime parking spot, and headed to the transition area to claim our bike rack space. Then it was off to registration and body marking. Interesting difference at this tri, they mark your age on your right calf. Niiiice. I always wanted to see the ages of everyone passing me. So by this time we still have about an hour until we start. Back to transition, set up our stuff, and then just hang and watch the battles for space that ensue between late comers. One guy takes his bike out for a test spin and when he comes back someone has stolen his spot. It's pretty entertaining actually.

We head down to hear the pre-race briefing and watch the lifeguards haul the buoys out into the water. Um, they just keep going. What!?!? Way out there?!?! Sadly, yes. It looks unbelievably far. Sigh.

Eventually it's time for the pre-race briefing and then we wait for our wave to start. We're wave 5, as evidenced by the big, black "5" written on our right hands. Finally it's our turn to head out and we make our way into the water. No one seems to want to be at the front, where the elbowing and running over takes place. We're off! Roughly 15-16 minutes later we're into the transition area to switch to bikes. Amazingly the swim wasn't nearly as bad as I expected. I could have kept going if I HAD to.

Now for the weakest link, the bike. Up a hill and out onto the course. Hmm, what's that strange wobbly feeling? Damn, it's not the road, it's my bike. Hop off and check it out. Looks okay, but it must be 'out of true'. Nothing I can do about it now but hope it doesn't go flying off. Eventually we hit the big downhill and it feels like it might fly off, but it holds. Another loop around the course and we're off the bikes in about an hour of riding.

Slip into the running shoes and take off. Hmm, still sucks but the legs feel a *little* better than last time. Maybe those bricks do work. I find it harder to run a course when I have no idea where I'm at distance-wise. So I concentrated on reading peoples calves to see who was kicking my ass. Basically everyone was. I did pass a 70 year old guy and some 20-somethings. But mostly I got breezed by. We do the 4 miles in about 40 minutes, which I'm pretty amazed at. Overall time: about 2:03. Not bad. A satisfying end to my tri season. :-)

Last scheduled event for the year: Nike 1/2 in about a month. I think I'll be glad for the break. It's just going to be tough to keep the activity level up and the eating level down thru the winter. We'll see how it goes. Wish me luck. :-D

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Lookin' for a Ride

Since T and I have been doing a few tris this year, I've been curious about
1) if my bike fits me well
2) if a newer bike would help me out on the dreaded bike portion of the tri (definitely my weakest link).

So I asked some questions of a coworker who I know bikes a lot but he said he wasn't really up on the newest technology. So he referred me to a friend of his that owns a bike shop. Amazingly it's just down the street from where I get my hair cut. Granted that's still a considerable distance from my house, but it's worth checking out.

I went in there yesterday to take a look at some new bikes. Brought my current bike (maybe 10 yrs old?) with me so he could take a look. Okay, I had been looking online at some bikes, but still the prices are just amazing on these things. And I'm looking lower end of the spectrum. There are bikes way beyond $6-7k. Seriously, people buy these things?

So the guy looks at my bike, determines that my bike probably fits me okay, and we talk about what my gains might be on a new ride. After he has me stand astride a few bikes, he determines that I have 'really short legs' for my height and grabs two tiny bikes (48cm) for me to try out. One is a Cannondale and one a Specialized. He sets them up for me and throws all 3 bikes, one at a time of course, on the scale to compare weights. Yeah, I'm toting around about 5 extra pounds compared to a new bike, with the Cannondale being the lightest of the three. That's about 20% more weight than I need to be hauling. Damn. No wonder I'm so slow. Hahahahahahaha!

The guy at the shop, Ric, tries to explain the difference between the two bikes to me, and makes it simple. I think he could tell that I'm mechanically challenged and don't know squat about gearing, brands of components, materials, etc. He uses a car analogy. So both bikes are around 400 hp, the Cannondale is a Corvette and the Speciaized is a Caddy. So, a little whippier on the Cannondale, maybe better handling, but a more comfortable ride on the Specialized. I take both out for a spin and can actually feel a difference between the two bikes. Power of suggestion? Maybe. I'm enamoured with the Cannondale, but not quite ready to drop that kind of cash on an activity that I'm not all that thrilled with. I only ride because I have's an inherent part of the 'tri'.

But with a new ride would I enjoy it more? T says "NO". She got a new ride, I think last year, and says it hasn't enhanced her enjoyment, or decreased her dislike may be a better phrase, of the bike section. A guy at the dog park where I take Bam said a new bike definitely made him enjoy riding again. Bah, what's one to do? The decision may be made for me as I might just be too cheap to spend the dough. The saga shall continue.