If you weren’t aware, May is National Bike Month. It’s meant to bring awareness to riders and non-riders alike, including sharing the road, environmental impact, and giving out free food. Within the Month of the Bicycle, May 20th is the official Bike to Work Day. All around the country bike-friendly shops are offering up free food, coffee, and other goodies to encourage people to hop on their bikes instead of into their cars.
Austin is a super outdoorsy city and there is a ton of support from local businesses. The City of Austin website even has a map of all the businesses on or near bike routes that have partnered up to make May 20th extra bike-friendly. The support is amazing and Twitter has been buzzing with all the supporters spreading the word to make sure you get out there. So obviously I rode my bike to work today, right? No.
Unfortunately an unexpected 8am meeting and the threat of thunderstorms all day forced strongly influenced my decision to forgo riding my bike to work. It’s a little over 10 miles for my “short” route to get to work, so it would mean leaving at 7am just to get to the office with time to shower before the meeting without stopping for any fun times from local businesses. The decision to drive to work did not come easily, but I think it was the right thing to do. I’ll just have to wait until next May before enjoying some of the Bike to Work festivities.
As of Friday I can call myself a triathlete multisport enthusiast. I won’t say triathlete just yet since I haven’t raced any triathlons, but I had my first successful swim / bike / run day. It’s all in anticipation for my actual first triathlon coming up on April 17th, The Rookie Tri.
After my less-than-reassuring preview post, I did run the Austin American Statesman Capitol 10K on Sunday. Having never raced a 10K before I really had no experience to work with. I knew I could run 6.2 miles without a problem, but exactly how fast was the real question. The beauty of running a new distance is that no matter what, I get to set a new personal record! So other than setting a PR by default, here’s how it all went.
Selfish. Greedy. A bit self-centered even. Mainly selfish though. That’s what I’m feeling right now after receiving an email from the Blood Center of Central Texas. Apparently there is a shortage of Type O, and you’re looking at 10 tall pints of O-positive right here. So why the self-deprecating adjectives to start things off? Well, because it’s my blood and you can’t have it!
I feel like we have forged a strong relationship over the last 18 months and I want to share something personal with you — something known only to those who I hold very near and dear to me I think would care. As I am sure you have guessed, running is a bit of a hobby. I dabble. But it is not the final frontier.
“What!? What is this nonsensical nonsense?” you exclaim.
Well, my friends, fear not. Running will still be a part of the master plan; it just might have two friends to tag along (which is more than I can say for myself…). I realize I still haven’t said what I’m saying, so I’ll say it right after I finish saying this.
If there’s one thing I remember from The Lion King it’s that Simba and Elton John’s love child, Pumbaa, is one heck of a meerkatyou have to respect the circle of life. In a nutshell, you’re born/built, you live/function, you die/die — thanks, Disney, for that life lesson. This holds true in animated lion movies and running GPS devices alike.
Full disclosure: I cannot ride my bike with no handlebars. It just so happens to be the name of the song by Flobots that I’m listening to right now while trying to think of a title for this post. Good thing I started when I did or else this post could be called “Killing in the Name” or “Mayday!!!”, either of which would have been concerning.
Notwithstanding, it was a good song choice, since I rode my bike (with handlebars) to work today. A bit risky since I only just attached the front wheel to the frame for the first time last night since moving to Austin. I also wasn’t quite sure how to get there. I mean yes, I could have hopped on the highway and gone my normal way, but I wanted to keep things legal. Instead I looked at the route we ran yesterday, decided I could remember half of it, and then settled on taking a main road the rest of the way.
The first half was pleasant and relatively flat, but for all the running I do, I sure felt like my legs were working hard on the slightest inclines. I departed the smooth, biked-path-ed Shoal Creek Road and entered the overdriven, underloved Burnet Road. There was surprisingly sparse traffic the whole way up, which was nice, though it was clearly not a bike-friendly street. After getting to work a coworker’s eyes popped out of her head when she heard I rode on Burnet. I told her I karate chopped all the cars in the face it was no big deal and traffic was light.
Overall a good experience! I’ll be giving it another go for sure, and who knows.. maybe it’ll become a weekly thing!
Oh Hains Point. More like Pains Hoint. Running around Hains Point is just painful. I headed down there this morning to get my run on, and realized why a) I don’t ever train there, and b) don’t like that part of Marine Corps Marathon. It’s just flat and boring. I’ve never run it in the morning, though, and I was surprised by how many people are biking around the little island.
The thing is, it seems like biking is the way to go. I’d say I saw 3 other runners plodding along and maybe 40 bikers zipping around. It’s about a 3-mile loop around the south end of the island, so I got to see some flamboyant aerodynamic cycling outfits 2, 3, or even 7 times… like when I saw one really ridiculously dressed fast girl guy 7 times.
All the speedy bikes definitely made me feel slow special for not being one of the crowd. They were probably all passing me thinking “hmm, he looks awesome. I think it’s because he’s running and I’m just riding my bike like the other 40 people including that girl guy.” I could basically read it on their faces.
There were a few roller bladers too. I thought those were extinct. Like dinosaurs. And Furbies.
Anyway, it was a run of pros and cons, ultimately leaning towards the cons. Doubt I’ll be back, but that’s what I say now. We’ll see what happens when it’s 6am and I need to think of where to run 12 miles on-the-fly-run.
Insurance companies aren’t always the worst. I guess not all of them follow after AIG and their brethren. Instead, State Farm came through in the clutch. Quick background story so everyone’s on the same page:
I got a bike last September for my birthday. It was glorious. A real steal off of craigslist. Well, the weather turned chilly. Too chilly in fact to ride it much during the Winter. So it stayed locked up in my apartment building’s garage. After the cold weather got tired of being cold, it started to warm up. Hooray! Time to ride the bike! I get down to unlock it, stare at the bike rack, and see my lock cut in half, lying on the floor, mocking me. I even tried it with the key to make sure it was mine. It was.
So, after a bout of infuration coupled with disbelief, I told people of my tragedy. I received some sage advice from an unlikely source: Brent. Presumably because of his age experience, he told me to check my renter’s insurance to see if it covered my bike. I did and it did! After some legwork (left a message for my insurance agent Garrrrry) I filed a claim. Surprisingly after very little work on my part, a check was sent my way and I was able to get a new bike!
My New Bike! So fast that the black paint can't even stay on.
I’ve ridden it a few times so far and, if you weren’t jealous already, you should be. It’s sweet! Thanks to the Bicycle Pro Shop for all their help getting me squared away. Now the bike lives in our apartment never to be stolen again.
PS- if you have my old bike and are reading this, I’d like to grab coffee with you some time. You can bring my old bike along and we can go for a ride. It’ll be fun!
PPS- if you didn’t steal my bike and are reading this, I’m planning on meeting up with the guy who stole my bike and punching him in the face. Hopefully he’ll bring my old bike too so I can get it back.
Things were shaping up nicely on Saturday. There was an actual gameplan, not just waiting to see what presented itself (usually sitting on the couch watching tv presents itself). But not this Saturday! We walked up 14th St to some shops then swung by the farmer’s market on 14 & U. Got some bread, an apple, you know, a relaxing little Saturday. Ev then had to go into work (sucks!), so we parted ways when the bus came.
While walking back I decided to swing by The Bike Rack to possibly buy a cycling jersey. I’ve been getting geared up to ride my bike for the first time in awhile now that the weather was improving and finished up a big research paper. They didn’t have much in stock, and nothing in my size, so I left empty-handed with a new plan: Head home, change into cycling gear (minus jersey), ride out to lunch, return some books, swing by City Sports for a jersey, and then go for a longer ride. Brilliant plan!
1) Go home: check.
I changed and headed down to the third floor of the parking garage (better known as P3 by my elevator) to grab my bike. Walked over to where it should have been, and that’s when the plan went straight to hell. I stood there for a second staring at the bike rack thinking if it could have been on another floor. Then I noticed there was a gap in the row of bikes. At the bottom of that gap there was a bike lock and the wire that loops through the frame and wheels was cut. I continued to stare, confounded by the situation. I bent down and even checked if my lock key fit the lock… yep. DAMMIT!
At this point the rest of the great plan is shot. Sparing the details, I end up back in my apartment and decide to run off some steam. I didn’t care if I was supposed to run easy on Sunday; I didn’t care if it was 87 degrees outside; I didn’t care if the person who took my bike got hit by a bus. (Actually, I did care. I very much would have liked that to happen)
I started out pretty quick for the first mile (7:37 min/mile) and decided to push it harder. The 1 mile mark is where I generally have to make the decision where the rest of my run is going to take me. I wasn’t sure how long the total would be, but I chose to head down into Virginia, across a few bridges, and end up at Eastern Market. It could have been 5 miles, it could have been 12. I figured I’d just run until I got there and see what my Garmin said.
The second mile was 7:16 min/mile. That’s when the heat started to get to me and the wheels began to fall off. Using the anger and adrenaline to keep going, I got to mile 3 and had to stop. My heartrate was approaching the stratosphere (metaphor for really high) and I couldn’t hold the pace. The sun sucked any energy reserves out of me and I struggled through the rest of the run, which ended up totaling 8 miles even.
Turns out that running on emotions can lead to running on fumes. I was completely drained afterwards, so it did its job of releasing some steam. At this point I’ve filed a police report, submitted a claim with my insurance, and waiting to talk to my building management. Hopefully there will be better news in the days (ha! probably months) to come. In hindsight Ev pointed out that it’s replaceable and not the end of the world. At the time, though… ohhhh boy.
Thanks for letting me vent.
Ever decide to run simply because you were sad / angry / happy? Let me hear about it in the comments! It’ll make me feel better.
Distance: 8.00 miles
Pace: 8:04 min/mile
Average Heartrate: 171 bpm