Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Bike It Like You Mean It


Right. So this past weekend I did something that sounded crazy. I went on this super long bike ride. The deal was like this. I was missing running, big time. I was killing it in the gym but you know how it is. It is not the same thing. I don't dislike the gym but running be my first love, you know. 

Anyway since I couldn't run long, I figured I should try this long bike ride and see how it goes. Thankfully, a bunch of my friends were going for it as well. And the start point was like 400m from my house, at this new cycle-themed restaurant called Ciclo Cafe. The actual distance of the ride was 80Km.

Yes, 80Km. But they warned us not to try to ride 80Km all in one go. Meaning, if you hadn't done long-ish rides before, don't go for it, they said. And being an endurance athlete and all (ahem!), it made all kinds of sense to me. Besides, I have a very basic bike. Like no gears or anything, just very very basic. 

So my plan going in was to get a 2 hour workout out of the thing. But my friends - the two you see up there - convinced me to ditch the time goal and go for a distance goal. The cycling peeps are big into distances. I mean, yeah, runners are also, but these guys are into 10s of Kms!! 50Km, they said. The second we hit 25Km we hook a U, they said.

I was OK with that. Based on my solo rides that I do periodically, I know that around 3mins/Km is what I can generally maintain, without much effort, for about an hour. Sometimes, I drop off after that, if I feel thirsty or my thighs hurt, or the sun is crazy etc. I figured that was a good goal for this one, with a broad idea of trying to keep the pace steady. 

I have no idea how to pace myself on the bike since I am pretty inexperienced in long bike rides. Of course I have been riding a bike for the past 30 years and am comfortable on it, and I have been riding in Chennai traffic for a few years now so I am not over-worried about that either. But still, the longest ride I had done till Sunday was 33Km or so which I did back in Aug 2014 ('cause I was injured and pissed off at being injured & not being able to run). 

I am anything but sensible anyhow, so off we went. It was pretty fun actually! I found myself whistling to myself sometimes or just chatting with my buddies. It was very peaceful. I was not thirsty or hurting or anything at all. I had my garmin on and was calling Kms periodically. I was sight-seeing happily, noting the various offices and stuff we encountered. 

Without any regrets that various folks resolutely headed to the 40Km turn-off point, the three of us turned back at 25Km as planned. On the way back my bums felt a bit sore and we all joked about our sore bums. We took a couple of water breaks. I felt pretty good throughout. And was looking forward to the breakfast that was promised, and sorting through the various things I had to do through the rest of the day, in my mind. We took ~2.5hours for the 50Km, which was not bad, and within what had seemed sensible at the beginning.

Right, then I waved my friend on and decided to pop home for a second to hand over the house keys to my maid, who was waiting. I did that, and headed back to Ciclo Cafe to partake of my breakfast. I felt thirsty so, as I was doing all along, I grabbed my bottle from my waist pack and was drinking it. You know how this goes, right?

I hit an uneven section of the road, the bike flew, and I, thankfully, did not fly, but with my 3 decades worth of bike riding in my instincts, let go of the bike and fell on my side. As this is a men's bike, I couldn't do what I would have done with a ladies bike and throw it away from me. It fell on me. It was hilarious. Security guards from all surrounding houses showed up to see what the hell I'd done.

Long story short, it wasn't too bad. Nothing broken, except for a bit of skin in my palm. And some nasty blood clots on my thigh and shoulder. The front light popped out, but it's fixable. No big whoop. In all this one thing I was glad about was wearing pants. 'Cause you DON'T want to tumble from a big old men's bike on the street where you live while wearing tiny running shorts. At least this 41 year old doesn't. :-)