Two Bike Lessons

4 03 2013

This weekend, it was quite chilly here in Florida. For real, it got into the 40s!

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Yeah, see the note: “Most recent high temperature much below average”?  Brr!

Despite the below normal temperatures, Jess and I decided to tough it out and go for a ride on Saturday over at our usual spot near Alafia. The high was only 60 for the day, so we bundled up and left around 10:30 to head out for our ride. When we got out of the car, the first thing we noticed was the wind. This was not going to be a fun ride. We tried to get pumped up by thinking about how our competition for Ocala was probably not out on the roads today. This was going to make us stronger!

Once we got moving, it actually wasn’t so bad. Our plan was to ride easy for the first hour and then ride steady for the second. Our normal route takes us down Carlton Lake Road and then we make a right onto 674. When we made that right turn- holy head wind!  There were a few gusts coupled with big trucks flying by which caused me to hold on for dear life, for fear I’d get blown over! We pushed hard and finally got to our left turn onto 579. I think we both breathed a sigh of relief when we got there.

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Shortly after our turn Jess looked down at her tire. Uh oh, she was starting to go flat. No big deal, I’ve got a flat kit! I hopped off my bike and dug into the empty water bottle that holds my kit. Tube, check. Levers, check. CO2 cartridge, check…uh, where’s the nozzle for the CO2? Crap. It must have fallen out somewhere! I guess we won’t be changing the flat…Since there was really nothing else for us to do, we decided to head back towards the car, hoping that the leak was slow enough that Jess could make it.

We weren’t quite halfway back when we looked at Jess’s tire and it was nearly down the the wheel. We decided that I’d ride back to my car and she’d find a safe place to sit and wait for me to pick her up. I took off, since I didn’t want to leave her too long and the wind was picking up. I made a left to head back to the car and BAM, another head wind. I looked down at my watch and saw how slow I was going and willed myself to push harder. I didn’t like leaving Jess alone, especially not in this cold weather! After what seemed like forever, I saw my car. I hopped out, threw my bike in the trunk and headed back to where I’d left her. I found her safely off the road with a smile on her face. I think the flat was a blessing in disguise- it was getting windier (the Weather Channel said up to 20mph winds!) and it was still pretty cloudy. We drove back in the warmth of the car and decided we both need to make sure that one of us has a complete flat kit when we go on these long rides out in the “country.”

Sunday was still pretty chilly, and I wasn’t really in the running mood. I’m getting over a cold, and my head and lungs just weren’t ready for a run outside. So I decided it was as good a time as any to hop on my trainer. I really don’t like riding on my trainer, mostly because it’s boring and every time I had tried to ride it last year, my back tire melted and stuck to the resistance wheel…which made for a really jerky and unpleasant ride.

Outspokin Bicycles just opened a new shop in South Tampa, so I went in the other day to check it out. I purchased a special trainer tire and “chopping block” (a riser for the front tire to keep it in place and bring it up to the same height as the back tire) in hopes that this would motivate me to get on the trainer. 


I forgot how hard it is to change a tire. Oh. my. goodness. I sat on the floor for a good half hour pushing and pulling and trying to get that darn thing onto the wheel. I worked up a sweat trying to get it on!


The last part is the hardest!

Finally, I got the whole thing on, only to realize that I forgot to put the tube in first. Doh! I’m out of practice, okay? So I took the tire off, put the tube in, and tried once again. This time, it wasn’t quite as hard. It was still pretty difficult, and  I’m sure my hands are going to be sore tomorrow. I guess it was a good lesson in tire changing.


I set up my computer in front of my bike, turned on a surfing video on Netflix and pedaled away. And you know what? It wasn’t so bad. Maybe I was excited because the new tire wasn’t melting and I could finally get a trainer ride in, after owning the thing for over a year and hardly using it. And watching Kelly Slater surf down the face of an enormous wave in Tahiti didn’t hurt either 😉 Regardless, I’m happy that I got it all set up and working well. Now I have no excuses for not biking more!


Despite a few bumps in the road, the weekend actually turned out to be quite productive in terms of biking. I learned the importance of having a flat kit, I changed a tire, and I got in an hour of biking on both Saturday and Sunday. Now it’s time to get my butt in gear! After all, I’ve got a race in less than three weeks!

Triathlon Training with Lady Gaga

26 05 2011

Before I (Chloe) get into my most recent triathlon training with Lady Gaga, I want to back up a second and take us on a little trip down memory lane…to February, when the weather looked like this…

We were eating many comforting dishes like this…

and I was spending all of my training for the bike portion of my triathlons doing this…

I spent about 2 evenings per week taking spin classes at my local gym to build endurance on the bike. It was great and really got my legs ready for tri season. I talked a lot why I think spin classes are so great in this post, but one of the things that I did not mention in the post, is another reason why I took spin classes…  because I did not have one of these…

This my friends, is a bike trainer. It is an extremely simple contraption that allows you to ride your own bike (rather than a spin bike) during the cold snowy winter months. Ironically, while I spent the cold winter months in spin class, now that it is spring and I am riding outside, this little baby has made a debut into my training routine. With my super busy schedule of work, training and trying to maintain some sort of fun social life, sometimes I just want to hop on my bike for a “quick” 1 hr ride. Putting my bike on my trainer for a quick mid week ride has been the perfect solution to making sure that I am getting enough time on the bike. My Dad, who is also a triathlete and really great cyclist offered to lend me his trainer for the season.  I have been conveniently setting up my bike in the middle of my living room. (**Chris says that the second our living room starts to smell like a gym…the trainer is gone. So I may have to go out and buy some extra strong deodorant and nice smelling air fresheners.)

To set up the trainer, you simply put your back wheel in between two metal rods and tighten until they hold your bike in place. Like so…

You also make sure to lay down a towel (like this nice fish one) below your bike because unfortunately the sweat level while on a trainer is comparable to the sweat level while in spin class. It’s gross. (but don’t worry Chris…it never smells). You also need to put down a front riser below the front wheel to keep the bike level.

I forgot to get the riser from my Dad, so I have been laying down a book (those yellow page books actually come into use sometimes!). If you want an extra challenge, you can make the front tire higher for an uphill workout. It doesn’t look like there is anything below my front tire, but I have 2 stacked books below my towel. But are not ready to ride just yet. There is one more thing that you need to complete you indoor living room training session.

This would be Lady Gaga, my newest and most favorite training buddy! No, I’m just kidding. Steph is still my most favorite training buddy…but Gaga is definitely my newest! Gaga and I joined forces about 2 weeks ago, when our crossed paths on Pandora Radio. I knew that her pump up jams would be great on the bike so I asked her to accompany me on my trainer rides. More specifically, I asked her to play Poker Face and other songs that were similar.

***Side note…I have a VERY strong affinity for the song Poker Face. I even have a special Poker Face dance. If you are nice to me I MIGHT show you sometime.

Anyway…Pandora helped set up this friendship and it has been blossoming very nicely. Turns out she is really great friends with Kesha, Black Eyed Peas and Kanye West, all of whom are GREAT training buddies as I spin my heart out and don’t move an inch on my living room floor. My training has been going really well over the past few weeks and I am pretty stoked for the Zooma Women’s 1/2 Marathon that I am racing in on June 5th in Annapolis MD. Anyone else running this race?!?

And with that, I will say adios until tomorrow! (I am posting back to back this week because Steph was nice enough to fill in for me on Monday!)

Question of the Day: Do you like to train with buddies like Gaga or Kanye or are you a fly solo like your peace and quiet kind of worker outer?

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