5 Things I Have Learned So Far

WE Bike NYC is organizing ten women from five organizations to ride 262 miles on bicycles from New York City to Washington, DC to represent their communities at the nation’s largest annual bicycle advocacy event, the National Bike Summit on March 3, 2014. WE are so pleased to be supported by WomanTours, Bicycle Times Magazine, Pearl Izumi, Velojoy, Bike New York, InTandem, and Transportation Alternatives. For more about the ride, check out our fundraising page HERE!

Kristina uses this post to bring us in on the some of the cerebral planning that she’s putting into this ride.

This trip to DC will be my first major bike tour, my largest athletic undertaking, and an overall BIG DEAL. You don’t go from biking 54 miles on a three speed cruiser to riding 260+ miles on a %#(@(*$ ^$*@($)@ road bike without learning a few things about yourself and the prep process.

1) Training is not just about building fitness – It’s also about trying out different clothing combinations to fight against the cold, what to not drink/eat the night before, and how to not lose your cool when your friend is flying up a hill in front of you. You don’t learn anything like that on a stationary bike. Spinning classes that say otherwise are a lie (and serve their own lovely purpose).photo 1 (2)

Climate control builds muscle but not necessarily character

2) Fit is important, but is not stagnant – When I bought my new bike, I had the seat dropped down as far as it could go. Because I have short legs and that’s what short legged people do. So when I developed this weird overuse pain on the top of my thigh, I took it back to the shop and we raised it substantially. The pain went away and everything felt great. Until mile 20 something, when I stopped being able to reach the ground with any kind of stability. So I will bring it back and we will try again until we get it right.

3) DRINK WATER! – I know I covered this one in my story of my botched century ride, but it begs repeating. That dead pain my legs after 90 minutes of riding on the equivalent of a moderately sized Big Gulp should not be a lesson I don’t need to keep re-learning.

4) Biking is my therapy, not a thing that should send me to therapy – I don’t think this one needs explaining nor am I able to without sounding like I am in need of actual mental health services. I tried this weekend and nothing came out of my mouth the way it was worded in my head. Granted, it was during my violation of Lesson #3 so I may not have made any sense. Once I left the friend I was riding with, I was starting to work through it and…

5) Falling is inevitable – On Sunday, I lost control of my bike coming up on a red light and connected with a cab barreling down the street. While the experience was terrifying, I managed to walk away banged but not broken.  Walking home, sobbing heavily, I rehearsed my speech to my #webiketodc teammates, friends, and family to express my regrets about not being able to continue this project. A friend took me to the doctor and other than bruises speckled all over my body, I was OK. I laughed my way through the weird yoga positions they had to bend me into for the x-rays. I had a really nice “holy cow, I made it through that” dinner, talked it through with Liz, watched “Walking Dead”, and have now spent my sick day figuring out what went wrong and how to fix it. The speech is gone from my head. Let’s blame it on a combination of optimism and the light concussion. photo

I’ll forego this layer when it gets warm enough that I don’t need two pairs of pants.