The last Sunday in March, I ran in the Austin 1020, which is a 10 mile race. I’ve never run 10 miles before, so that was a pretty big deal, but in the training and lead up to running 10 miles, I started to get a little sick of running.
I decided that after the 1020, I was going to take a month off of running and focus on riding my bike instead. Maybe I’d join some group rides, maybe I’d do some spin classes, but mostly, I would just switch gears mentally and physically to make working out interesting again.
I decided to go all out, so I’ve also been reading books about bike riding. I listened to the audiobook version of Wheelmen: Lance Armstrong, The Tour de France, and the Greatest Sports Conspiracy Ever, which was interesting, though I’ve had quite enough Lance Armstrong doping stories. I’m most familiar with the Tour de France because it’s the one bike race that you can easily and fairly completely follow in the United States, and Lance Armstrong had a lot to do with that, but I’d be happy to read about other tour races like the Tour de España. But because people now link Lance with doping, those stories seem most prevalent.
The real discovery for me has been the book Bike Snob, based on the blog of the same name. The book is funny, but also deeply encouraging since I want to ride my bike more, but I am also nervous about doing so. When I read him talking about how simple it is to just ride your bike–children do it all the time!–it forces me to examine some of my nervousness. There is a group ride tonight, but I can’t possibly be ready to ride tonight! I need to go visit my bike and spin the wheels and check the tires…but mostly I’m nervous because the last/first time I joined a group ride I wasn’t prepared. At that time, I thought bike shorts were just a weird, poser-y fashion choice, so I embarked on a bike ride in 90 degree weather in pants. I couldn’t keep up, and the people who hosted the ride were incredibly kind and someone always stayed with me, but when I complained that my butt hurt, they asked if it was my butt or my crotch. My heat reddened face flushed so deep that I’m pretty sure I turned purple as I confessed it was my crotch. Cotton pants and cotton underwear had been among the most terrible fashion choice I could have made.
Since then, and with Eric’s help, I’ve gotten much better on the bike, but I like the way BikeSnobnyc both gently confronts several things that I am actually afraid of–or over exaggerate since it sometimes feels like I can’t ride my bike because it takes too long to gear up and get ready– and writes in such an encouraging way that I’m like, “Seriously, children do this all the time. Maybe I can ride my bike to the library that’s a mile away because it is fun. Maybe I don’t even need to wear bike shorts if it’s just a 2 mile trip!”
So, that’s the goal. I’m going to ride my bike and read about bike riding, and give my feel a little bit of a break, since they hurt pretty badly after running for 10 miles. And in a month, maybe I’ll be ready to run again, but since May is National Bike Month, maybe I’ll take two months off.