Saturday, July 12, 2008 by Rebecca

Wod & ride

Today's WOD:

Complete as many rounds in 30 minutes as you can of:
Walking Lunge, 12 steps
8 Clean & Push-Press Right 55#/35# *sub 15# dumbell
8 Clean & Push-Press Left 55#/35# *sub 12kg KB
10 Push-Ups *knees to get up
21 Kettlebell Swing 55#/35# *sub 12kg KB

4 complete rounds + up through C&PP # 4 on 2nd side.
Splits: 6:05 | 6:32 | 6:58 | 7:28 | 2:57

ow. This workout was kind of surprisingly hard. The most exciting part about it was that I actually managed to get through my first round on KB swings unbroken, which is a first for me with 21 reps. There were several swings with less than perfect form, but I never had to put the KB down or even stop and restart. The rest was just getting through it to the best of my ability

My first 3-4 C & PP on my right side were done with a 20# dumbell, since i remember thinking that the yellow 8kb kettlebell felt a little too easy the last time I did this exercise, but it was just a little bit too heavy so I had to switch back down to a 15# dumbell (the 8kg KB's were taken). 17.5 probably would have been a better alternative, but the heavier dumbells are kept in a separate part of the gym, and i didn't want to waste the time it would take to go find one.

The strength in my right side and my left side are so different that I have a very hard time using the same weight for both arms - it's either too light for one, or too heavy for the other. I was able to do the C&PP with the 12 kg KB on left side, and Max said that this was a sub for a hard workout so we should be working as hard as we could manage - so I tried to work with the heaviest weights I could manage on either side. I spoke to Max a little bit about this after class, and I think in the future I will try to do these exercises with a single, heavier bar and make both arms work together so that I don't end up training lopsidedly.

I was definitely worn out after this workout, but we're going to be riding a metric century next weekend, and this afternoon was going to be the only time I could find to get some time in on my bike. It was especially important because I just had it tuned up, and i wanted to make sure that everything was working properly before expecting to ride it for 60 miles.

I should preface this by stating that I have a very uneasy relationship with my bike. We were just starting to get into doing more organized endurance rides last year, and had signed up to do the same metric century that we're going to do this year. We had a couple of hybrid bikes we'd been riding for several years, and that's what we had been training on. Two weeks before the century, our bikes were stolen. Our home owners insurance paid us basically the full replacement cost for our admittedly less-than-high-end bikes, and we had been talking about trading in for road bikes, so it seemed to be a good time to just dive in and do it.

What with one thing and another, trying to make the best possible decision in a very short amount of time, we basically picked up our bikes the day before the century, so the first time I rode my bike i was on it for a very long time. It was not a pretty experience. The longest I had ever ridden up to that point was 40 miles, and I was dealing with an entirely new body geometry for the first time, and due to my physical limitations I do not adapt quickly to new physical activities. I finished the ride, but I was in quite a lot of pain for the last 20 miles or so, and my left leg wouldn't support my weight when I was done.

Needless to say, I wasn't real excited about getting back on my bike again any time soon. The biggest problem is that all the rides around our house involve a great deal of up, and a great deal of down, and are very intimidating for someone just (re) learning to ride a bike, so in order to get to a 'beginner' ride we had to put our bikes in the car and go somewhere else, and that just didn't happen very often.

People suggested that I should think about exchanging my bike for a flat handle road so that I'd be in a more upright position, or maybe even go back to a hybrid, but I just find the idea of that a little galling - i refuse to be beaten by a bike - and besides, (It's sort of a stupid reason to not give it up, but ... ) my bike is really pretty. It's black with little pink accents, and I love how sleek and elegant she looks.

So over the course of the last year we've gone on a handful of rides, and I am definitely more comfortable on her than I was but I am still terrified of descending. All the things i love about the bike make it go a LOT faster down hills, and that's not at all something I am comfortable with. Descents that merely made me anxious on my hybrid bike now scare me silly.

Anyway, so. I rested until about 5 pm and then set off. My original intention was just a shortish ride (a little less than 7 miles - 3.3 miles there and then back) up to the top of a local hill (Euclid & Grizzly Peak) and back - about 600' of climbing to an elevation of about 900' with most of it in two steep sections, just to make sure everything - gears, brakes, etc. was in working order.

However, the weather was relatively nice, and once I got up there, I decided that I better try something just a little bit longer since I hadn't been on my bike in over a month.

Once you get to the top of Euclid, you can ride along grizzly peak to 4 or 5 different routes back down to the Berkeley foothills. I opted to go for Tunnel Rd. which was the one the furthest from me. This added an additional climb up to about '1600 ft, a decent back down to about 1300' and then another climb to 1400' and then a long descent back down bringing the total to about 15 miles.

The climbing was good and the bike didn't have any troubles shifting or anything. I felt strong and pretty comfortable as long as I was not going down any major hills.

I had a couple fun interactions with other people while i was out:

Another cyclist who said his name was Todd caught up to me on the road, and decided to keep me company for a little ways until we got to Centennial which is an INCREDIBLY steep road - i don't even like driving up or down it - but that's where he was heading down. He was a self professed speed demon. I think you have to be a little crazy to want to ride down Centennial. Even Daniel thinks that's insane.

Later, on a particularly steep part of the climb, a lost motorist pulled up and drove next to me asking for directions. - LOL. The car behind him didn't like being stuck at my slow pace, so he pulled ahead to a turnout where I obligingly stopped and gave him directions to the wedding he was trying to get to.

Usually you get some pretty astonishing views of the bay from up there - but because of all the smoke in the air, it wasn't as pretty as it usually is.

The several hundred feet of climbing were ultimately no problem - the two significant descents scared the living daylights out of me. One of the reasons I chose the route i did is that tunnel road has a pretty friendly grade, but it is curvy as all get-out and very very long. And when i say i was scared, I don't think terror would be too strong a word for it. My balance is not that great, and I am just terrified of falling.

I made it down most of the last hill. I stopped several times to let my heart rate settle into something manageable and to give my forearms a rest - breaking is hard work! I got to within about two miles of home. The very last part of the ride is along a very busy stretch of road and is also a steepish descent. The fog was coming in and I was quite chilled, my nerves and my forearms were fried and I just couldn't bring myself to brave it. I called Daniel and asked him to come pick me up.

He is such a sweetheart. Not only did he come to my rescue and bring the car to come get me, but he also brought my fleece robe so that i could wrap up in it and get warm. He's the best!

I was such a zombie when i got home. Between the tough CF workout earlier in the day and the emotionally taxing bike ride in the afternoon I was toast, particularly my shoulders (which didn't bode so well for Sunday's climbing ). But I'm glad I did it. Fortunately there's very little climbing or descending on our ride this weekend, so it will really just be a matter of staying on the bike for a long long time. Hopefully the strength gains I've made with CF will just help me get through the miles more quickly so that I don't have to spend quite so long on the bike.

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