Adventures in Bike Maintenance Part 1 (Fail #1)

Earlier this week, in my attempt to become a well-rounded triathlete, I decided that I need to learn some basic bike maintenance. I had a flat tire, so it seemed fitting that changing a tire might be my first try at solo bike maintenance. My friend Brian had given me a tutorial on changing bike tires a couple of years ago, but I never had to utilize my newly learned skills, so unfortunately the knowledge faded over time. I thought a couple of YouTube tutorials would be a sufficient refresher, so I googled “how to change a bike tire video” and memories of the procedure started rushing back to me. I’ve got this! I thought with confidence.

I successfully removed my front tire from the bike (step 1), put it on my table, and started working on popping one side of the tire away from the rim (step 2). Once the side of the tire was off, I extracted the inner tube (step 3). So far so good. I started to feed the new tube into the tire and all of a sudden became completely convinced that the new tube was way too big for the wheel. I checked and recheck and triple-checked the size of the wheel and the tube and they said they matched, but it really didn’t look it. I decided to call to my professional cyclist friend, Terry, and ask him about my concern, and he assured me that the tube would indeed fit the wheel and to keep going. So I did.

I fed the new inner tube into the tire (step 4), and then began the task of feeding the tire back into the rim of tire (step 5). After much pulling, pushing, straining, sweating, and swearing, I had successfully got the tire back onto the wheel and BAM! I had changed a tire!!

Feeling like a complete bad ass, I placed the tire back onto the bike and began to inflate the tube. Damn, I’m good, I thought to myself, I’m a like real bike mechanic, look at me go! I was pumping away on my bike pump, basking in my awesomeness, when BOOM! The inner tube exploded inside my tire and my bubble of inflated self-confidence burst all over the floor.

Well, shit.

So back to the sports store I went. I bought another inner tube, I successfully installed it, and I was careful not to celebrate my victory to early this time.

But hey, I got some good tire changing practice. Maybe I’ll make a YouTube tutorial of my own one day 🙂

August’s Training Schedule (on my wall)

I’m a visual person.  I like lists, I like calendars, I like being able to cross-off items,  and I love when things are color-coded.  I’ve made a few training schedules in the past, both on paper and electronically, and I’ve never really stuck to them.  So, I decided I needed to do something different while training for my upcoming 70.3 in October. 

I decided to go big! Literally…

I decided to paint a chalkboard on one of the walls by my side door, the door I use on a day-to-day basis, and put a massive training calendar on it.  It’s color-coded, it’s organized, I can check things off, it’s a Type A Triathlete’s dream!

So far I love it, and I feel like it’s large and central presence will be a big motivator for me.  And I guess if it doesn’t work, I’ll have room to make a very long grocery list 🤣

Bring It To The Bay race report

I did it, and it was painful, but I did it.  And it was fun!

As you may have noticed, triathlons have taken a serious backseat recently to pretty much everything else in my life.  My new goal for myself is to stop making excuses about/for/regarding all kind of things, including myself.  Give reasons, yes, but not excuses.

So as part of my effort to get my shit together grow and progress personally, I’m getting back into triathlons.  I signed up for the New Orleans 70.3 this coming October, so I thought it best to ease back into triathlons with some smaller races over the next few months before the main event.

The Bring It To The Bay triathlon is a sprint triathlon held in Bay St. Louis, MS.  It is an 800 meter swim, 14.5 mile bike, and 3.1 mile run.  It seemed like a good race to get my feet wet again, both literally and figuratively.  I wavered back and forth on whether to sign up and finally decided to stop making excuses, and the day before the race and signed up.  I’m glad I did!

At 4:30 am I loaded up Scarlet (the bike), my gear, and Mr. Big (my cheering squad) into the truck and off we went.  The race was at a great location.  Bay St. Louis is a cute town, an easy commute from New Orleans for me, and boasts a nice beach backdrop to race along.

Pre-race stuff was pretty usual.  Found my spot, set up my stuff, realized my bike tire was flat (oopps!), realized I forgot my pump (double ooooppps!), borrowed a pump off a handsome man with a nice accent, inflated my tire, and prayed that it wouldn’t immediately deflate again (it was fine).  I made some friends at the swim start while we were waiting our turn to start and got some good info on local tri clubs that I want to look into.  Then it was go time!

Swim:

The swim was an 800 m open water swim in the gulf, which was the first time I’d done an open water swim since Lake Ponchatrain in my last 70.3 two and a half years ago. The water was very shallow so it ended up being a 300-ish meter walk/run out through the water before it was really possible to start swimming.  This shallow-water-ocean-jog looks super slick on Baywatch, but turns out it’s actually quite hard on the legs, so much so that I was relieved to actually start swimming.  I passed a ton of people on the swim, and had a respectable swim time of 14 mins (my watch had me at 12 mins, but I’m not sure where the transition cut off was), so I’m happy with that performance overall.

Lining up for the swim start.

The running out of the water

Bike:
The bike route was a flat out-and-back 14.5 miles along the shoreline.  My bike portion was basically just “Ok”.  Nothing great, nothing bad.  I was averaging about 18 mph on the way out, and then hit a bit of a head wind on the way back and dropped to a 16 mph average.  Overall, I finished with a 16.9 mph average speed for the 14.5 mile split, which is obviously like to improve upon, but I consider it a decent baseline to build on.  Plus, I even spent some time down on the aerobars, which I still find terrifying, so I’ll consider that a personal win!

Off I go!

Approaching transition


Run:
By this point, it was HOT.  I mean, to be fair, it was the middle of July on the Gulf Coast, I didn’t expect it to cool, but after that bike ride I was feeling particularly toasty.  My legs were completely busted when I took off on the run so I walked for a couple of minutes at first.  Mr. Big was waiting for me about a quarter-mile into the run and after hearing such as encouraging words from him as, “Hurry up, I’m getting hungry, I’m ready to go get breakfast,” I decided to pick up the pace a bit and broke into a trot.  The run ended up being not that bad. I intervalled it, but ended up with a 12 minute mile pace, which I decided was acceptable for this event.

Toasty ginger

Overall, I felt satisfied with the race.  My times weren’t great, but I had done so little training approaching this race, that I actually performed better than I expected to.  It definitely lit a fire under me and has me feeling very motivated to get my training schedule organized and get to work.  October will be here before I know it!

Ginger Jogging is Back!!!

That’s right!  America’s favorite exercise craze since Prancercize is making a come back!  

What is ginger jogging, you ask?  Well it’s jogging… with a ginger!  What’s not to love?!

Unsure if you have the right equipment? Minimal equipment is required.  Generally you just need a ginger, and then whatever you wear to jog.  

For example, here you can see my Ginger Jogging supplies.  I have a ginger (the four-legged variety) and some shoes and bam! I’m ready to get on with my Ginger Jog.

Now, if you are short a ginger there is no reason to get discouraged.  Gingers can be found in almost any environment if you look hard enough.  Do you have a particularly frisky ginger cat? Good enough! Have a goldfish? Throw that bad boy in your camelpack and take him with you! Red Angus cow? A perfect jogging buddy! Human gingers also work particularly well as they are generally very friendly, just be sure to introduce yourself appropriately otherwise things can get wierd quickly. 

Pepper and I are going to be posting our Ginger Jogging updates as we go along, so feel free to share yours as well.  Happy Running!