I remember my first ride. My bother-in-law, Clark, loaned me his bike and told me to draft off his wheel. We rode for about 20 miles which was 20 miles further than I had ever ridden. Clark kept telling me to get closer to his wheel. I was within 10 feet so I couldn’t figure out what he was talking about. I guess you should be within inches for drafting to really work but my comfort level at that time was 10 feet.
A month later I entered my first triathlon where I enjoyed the “no-drafting” rule. I was still borrowing all of my bike equipment, except for the great “yellow jersey”…which was given to me. As you can see it is not quite the yellow jersey from the Tour de France, it is actually the flourescent yellow jersey from Harmony Health and Hospice. Friends would say that I really needed hospice with how bad a cyclist I was and even more for how I looked. I look like an old Granny in this picture and probably shouldn’t put it out there for public consumption, and I wouldn’t if there wasn’t improvement. At this point in my cycling life I had only gone on 9 rides with less than 150 miles in the saddle.
A month later I did the Utah Half, the half Ironman distance triathlon. I look quite a bit better here, mostly due to the fact that I am wearing a tri-jersey rather than the hospice one. But it isn’t a whole lot better which may partially be due to the pink bike, which I loved and is the Jan Ullrich special. I now had 23 rides under my belt and over 450 miles in the saddle.
My next race was the California Half. I did a ton of training for this race but 90 percent of it was on a trainer in the basement. Spending 3 hours on a trainer is brutal. Waking up at 6:00 in the morning, jumping on the bike and just spinning…spinning…and more spinning. I had a cheap magnetic trainer as well which was very loud which made watching television almost impossible because the volume wouldn’t get louder than the trainer. I only rode outside 4 or 5 times before that race, everything else was on the trainer. That is ridiculous, but I still didn’t have the right gear to go cycling outside anyways, so I welcomed the warm comfort of my basement rather than the icy roads here in Utah.
Now I am starting to look like a real cyclist. I have a nice bright orange jersey and can even ride no hands. The Tour de Donut was awesome and my first and only event where drafting was legal. I felt comfortable in the bike traffic, after the disastrous start and the disaster in the middle. I actually felt like I was a decent cyclist as well when I was passing all the other cyclists. If only I could have eaten more donuts. Next year they better watch out because there is no way bad luck can happen twice for the same event, right?
Finally, my most recent race was the 2010 Utah Half. Now in this picture I look like a real cyclist. I am in my aerobars, nice and streamlined. There is pain on my face. I had my best bike time, although it was also one of the easier courses. Sooner than later I am really going to get the hang of this and be kind of decent. There is almost a glimpse of that in the first picture of this post from the Alpine Loop. I have winter gear on (only some of it is borrowed) and I am going to the top of a mountain summit. It can only get better. Too bad winter is back because that means more time in the basement.
And now for my motivation to keep me training through the winter. Take a look at the following pathetic picture. And the moobs are due to the jersey and not as much due to my out-of-shape body.