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Thread: Introduction

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,315

    Introduction

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    I'm a former runner and an equestrian taking time off for school (and lack of money). I just graduated from law school, took a bar exam (awaiting results), and am now working on a master of laws degree this year.

    I've had running injuries for the past decade (I was a sprinter/hurdler once). Then a couple years ago, I started having weird ankle pain when walking down stairs and during kickboxing. A million Xrays and an MRI later, and I have osteochondritis dissicans (cartilage lesions) over my right talus. The bones were bruised, causing pain. All weight-bearing exercise was nixed for a while, but I soon got bored with stationary bikes.

    I started spinning (seated at all times), enjoyed it, bought some cycling shoes, and worked up to where I am comfortable standing most of the time. I still can't pedal at extrely high loads, especially while standing, but cyclists would frown on pedaling at that low of a cadence anyway.

    Once I got comfortable training like a cyclist--working on my pedal stroke, controlling HR levels, cadence training, etc., I started having other tendinitis issues. Turns out my pelvis had been out of alignment too (I saw doctors about back/siatica pain, but they always dismissed me). I tweaked cleat position and got some advice on bike fit, and things have improved.

    Nearing graduation (I went to school in New Orleans, so things were a little crazy last year), it came time to decide what I'd buy for my new apartment.. a spin bike, or to actually do something interesting and get a road bike. I'd grown up riding simple cruisers and loved things like pedal brakes . My orthopedist thinks my ankle should be about as good as it's going to get, so why not get myself outside?

    I settled on the Specialized Roubaix Comp, double, 54. It's the best gearing in my price range (which is high, I know, but I need a smooth ride), and Specialized bikes didn't hurt my pelvis--it still pops in and out regularly, it's only been in rehab since late March and was out for years!). I liked the Tarmac, but the position is too aggressive. And I didn't like WSD bikes, because my torso is tall. I may swap out my stem for a shorter one, but I haven't decided yet.

    First day out on it was this week, after finally getting fitted, pedals, and all the necessities. My issue: clipless pedals (entering/exiting), see scaredy cat thread. But once I get clipped in, I feel pretty good. I got comfortable riding a fairly flat stretch in the big ring at a decent cadence, and I love the ride and handling of this bike. If I could just keep it upright when starting up! I've banged it up a bit (mostly on grass), and have so far done more damage to my body than the bike's. I'm no where near able to ride in traffic, which limits my practice time (I live in Washington, DC now).

    Way down the road, I'd love to be competitive. I'm not comfortable going fast on descents, and I'm not the lightest weight climber, but I think I could be good at TTs and I ought to have decent finishing sprints. The thing is, I can't really stand up and pedal much at all yet. All of those assumptions are based on spinning and my muscular fitness and body type. But I know I'm looking a LONG way down the road with those goals . A guy at a bike shop tried to get me to join my (our) school's cycling team. This is when I was buying pedals. He obviously needed to see me try to use them! My answer.. yeah, I wish, but I don't want people mad at me for being the inept one holding everyone back. Too bad I'll only be at this university for a year.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Riding my Luna & Rivendell in the Hudson Valley, NY
    Posts
    8,403
    Hey, congratulations on your new bike!!! It's a wonderful feeling, isn't it?

    You've got a lot going on physically there, as well as goal-wise, friend. I get the feeling from your post that you are wanting to make long range plans right away and work on maybe too much at once. You've only been riding your bike a few days! Go easy on yourself and give yourself time to relax and enjoy the actual act of just riding down the road with the wind in your hair. Plenty of time later on for competing and standing up in the pedals and cycling teams and such. And you're right about the uncertainties of basing your assumptions on your spinning experience. There's a lot of NEW stuff that will be fun to learn! Your needs and your personal path will naturally become clearer to you as you keep riding week after week.
    There's also a huge amount of great reading and info on this forum's back threads to keep you busy when you're in your pajamas!

    Got any pix of your new bike to post to us?
    Have FUN!
    Lisa
    Our bikes...OurBikes...and my mountain dulcimer blog
    Ruby's Website and My blog
    ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,315
    No pictures yet. And no, when I get outside, I am taking things very slowly. I'm still a novice at getting on and off the bike well with clipless pedals. Though today I finally started to relax my upper body some, got lower, and comfortable going faster and cornering (though handling downhill is still iffy).

    I know my goals are VERY long term, but I've been riding horses for so long, and I had some goals for that sport that took me years and years to achieve. And I knew it would take years. So don't worry, as fun as it would be to be a superstar tomorrow, my goal for my next ride is to continue to stay upright as much as possible.

    I ordered a cycleops trainer so I can push myself muscularly on that and work on my form while I continue to be more cautious outside.

    I'm still working out the kinks.. trying to decide if I need a 90mm stem instead of the stock 110, maybe narrower bars... things like that.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Middle Earth
    Posts
    3,997
    Welcome Aica... you certainly have loads of fitness experience behind you... and if you want to be competitive, you will be.

    I started cycling 2 years ago (training to be able to complete a 10km fun ride with my sons) and downhill my top speed was about 20km per hour.

    I joined the local club last April, have won the spring series in the beginner's grade. I have moved up to the next grade (clubs grades are graded on ability, not age).

    I am not fast enough uphill to have competed in last weeks Club Champs Road Race, but I am competing in next Saturday's Club Champs Time Trial. Next year I am aiming to have a go at the Nationals TT, although that will probably be experience rather than a place, though I hope to be competitive in my age group in a couple of years in a TT.

    I now descend at about 40-45kph, and on a straight stretch of downhill I get up to 55-65kph.

    Getting speed up is about experience, time on bike and getting to know the way your bike feels under you. I still do not descend fast enough to be competitive at the level I wish to be at, but with time I am hoping my confidence will continue to grow.

    Give yourself time and opportunity and it will come.


    Courage does not always roar. Sometimes, it is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying,
    "I will try again tomorrow".


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Washington, DC
    Posts
    1,315
    Here's my bike. Not so great cell phone picture.. and now I'm noticing my minipump is in the way.. but you get the idea. I'm not digging the white tape, but I may wind up changing the bars anyway.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Connecticut Shoreline
    Posts
    15
    Sweet bike! Lovely horse too!

    What a bummer to be dealing with all that you have going on physically, but it sounds like you have a great attitude.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    Illinois
    Posts
    3,150
    even via cell phone, its allure and romance come through ... sweet wheels Welcome aboard!!

 

 

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