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Triathlon Chronicles: Takin’ It To The Streets

My Scott hybrid bike, after the seat replacement. Yeah, that seat is MORE padded than the original. Really.

The weather has been nice, sometimes, so I’ve been taking the Triathlon Show outside. The running, it is still pretty ugly, so if you live in my neighborhood, I apologize. Just wave and feel sorry for me, OK? As additional proof that running is unlikely to be on my list of a few of my favorite things, I spent time figuring out the shortest distance I can run my 1.5 mile route, and still be able to say I ran 1.5 miles. Running against traffic means I am running the outside lane, so to speak, and thus a longer distance. So, I cut in, just like in track, except there are cars. After two near misses, I no longer run with White Stripes blasting Seven Nation Army on the iPod so loud that I can’t hear anything else. Although after running podless a few times, I am considering trying again, but with just one earbud, so I can subject the neighbors to my eclectic musical tastes as I go by. Slowly.

While I continue to slog through the running portion of the program (and despite my whining, there have been improvements), the biking has been a pain in the butt. Literally. My tailbone, of all places, is sore. All the time. I could not figure this out – with all the natural padding I’ve got, you would think this would not be an issue. I decided to go to my neighbor, The Bike Guy, for advice. One thing you need to know about The Bike Guy is that while you may be asking for ordinary biking advice, he wants to prepare you for the Tour de France.

The Bike Guy (TBG) started asking questions while he dismantled my bike to install it on his indoor trainer attachment. “What are you wearing to bike in?” he asked. I point down to my capri exercise pants. “No bike pad? Are you crazy? You know, everyone thinks only guys need to wear a pad, but women can get all kinds of nerve damage…” and TBG is off and running with the lecture while trying to avoid any indelicate mention of Lady Parts. Of course, I am coming up with a mental list of pros and cons to having permanent numbness in the nether regions. We’ll just keep that list in my head, shall we? As we chatted, he tinkered and adjusted rings, deraillers, chain, and who knows what else – it must have been Ask a Question, Get a Full Tune-Up Day. Once he had the bike in satisfactory condition, he had me get on and start pedaling so he could see my position. “You sit pretty far back. And you should pedal with your heels down more,” he announced. “I think I have a better seat for you, and it needs to be higher a bit.”  He started rummaging in boxes and replaced my seat with a slightly more padded one, moved it back and up a notch. Tiny adjustments, but I could feel the difference right away.

As proof that I was actually paying attention to TBG, I did buy a pair of biking capris. Any uncertainty about this piece of bike geek apparel evaporated this weekend when I decided to do a bike-run. The bike ride was short – just 4+ miles from my house, up Mower Road hill to Cedar Lake Road and down to the trail before heading back up the hill and home. But the new seat, position and pad were noticeable improvements! I changed into running shorts and trotted out the door for my 1.5 mile loop through the neighborhood – podless – and since it was a nice day, everyone in the neighborhood was out, so I could to engage in the “talk test.” Supposedly, if you can’t talk while running, you should slow down. I don’t really get the point of talking while running – like sex, I think if you are talking, you must not be doing it right – but saying “hey” to everyone as I jog by probably doesn’t count as talking anyway. And I’m not sure what I do counts as running, either.

It’s been interesting to compare the indoor routine to the outdoor. There is very little similarity, in my opinion, between spinning (or indoor stationary biking) and “real” bicycling, and I think the same is true for running on a treadmill vs. running outside (other than working the same muscles, and increasing endurance, of course). I think I am faster outside, setting a more natural pace, than inside where the speed and resistance are artificially established. Which ought to make an open water swim REALLY interesting, not to mention cold, when we get to that in June.



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Rebecca Foster writes about food, politics, books and whatever has irritated her on any particular day, on her website Usual and Ordinary ( She is an occasional contributor to The Livingston Post and has remained active in local politics and the community after serving as Pinckney Village President from 2004-2012, and as a trustee currently. She is enjoying empty-nesting in Pinckney with her husband, three cats and a few chickens.