A few weekends ago, Tyler and I embarked on our very first road bike ride. We really dove right in and invited some friends of ours who are pretty experienced cyclists to join us. One of these friends is actually a pro triathlete and a 70.3 Ironman champion! The other two friends are both amazing athletes and experienced cyclists. There was one point before we took off on our ride when Tyler and I looked at each with a mutually understood “what are we getting ourselves into?” glance. We both love a good challenge so off we went!
We headed North from our place in Carlsbad through Oceanside until we reached the main Camp Pendleton (marine base) gate. From there, we made our way to the old US 101 Highway known as the Camp Pendleton Traverse. Most of this road is completely deserted except for the odd lizard or in some cases, helicopter flyovers and tank rumblings. The traverse runs all the way to San Clemente (the southern most town in Orange County) and at certain points, has sweeping ocean views which can be both a blessing and a curse. When discussing the ride later in the day, both Tyler and I recalled certain points during the ride where we both caught a glimpses of the glassy conditions of the ocean and thought, “shouldn’t we be surfing right now?”. In the end, we biked close to 45 miles and we lived! Yew! All in all, we both agreed that the bike purchases were good decisions and we are excited for the several months of training leading up to our 70.3 Half Ironman in Tahoe in September.
Here are my top 7 takeaways from our first road bike adventure:
- Prep work indoors pays off: The few weeks of logging hour-long endurance rides at Evovle Fusion in Carlsbad paid off as I felt pretty solid through most of our 45-ish mile ride. I like this studio because they use Keiser M3 indoor cycling bikes which means you can see how many watts you are pushing and what your cadence (RPM) are at any given time so it feels closer to a real ride than a place like Soulcycle. Tyler was pretty much born on a mountain bike so even though he hasn’t spent any time at spin class or on a road bike, I knew he’d crush the ride (he did!).
- No need for undies when wearing cycling shorts: When we were about to embark on our journey, our friend and pro triathlete Jenny Fletcher must have noticed my not-so-concealed underwear line. She kindly explained that wearing underwear with cycling shorts isn’t advised due to chafing dangers. Close call on this one but crisis averted!
- Chamois cream is a thing: after Jenny informed me of the no-underware rule, she informed me of a product known as “chamois cream” – highly advised.
- Invest in a proper seat: Who knew a bike seat (excuse me, “saddle”) could be so specific… they come in women’s varieties, men’s, triathlon, etc etc. All I know is that YES, I love my bike but NO I don’t love the seat it came with. So far, the three biggest takeaways take-aways involve the bike seat region. Odd sport this road biking…
- Insulated water bottles: Maybe the key take-away here is that lots of water is needed. We only brought one bottle each and my bike wasn’t equipped with a water bottle cage yet so I rocked my water bottle in the back of my shirt. Needless to say, after 40+ miles on the bike (roughly 3 hours) we were parched! Also, when a water bottle sits on your bike in direct sunlight for several hours, the contents of the bottle tend to get toasty. Cue the insulated water bottle!
- Snacks: On this maiden bicycle voyage, we failed to bring snacks. We also failed to eat a large enough breakfast. This was an error! At about 30 miles my brain wasn’t screaming “shut up legs” as it was more-so screaming “shut up stomach!”. The first thing I did upon arrival back to our home was blend together a heap of frozen fruits and veggies with a generous scoop of Designer Whey! Refreshing recovery.
- Biking + Photos + Military Base = Trouble: As we were waiting in line behind a few cars at the main gate to Camp Pendleton, I pulled out my phone and snapped a quick photo of Tyler and I. The entire picture taking process couldn’t have been more than 5 seconds but it must have been enough for a marine to catch me! He promptly walked up to me and told me that photos on the military base are strictly forbidden and that I could get a ticket for “driving” and using my cell phone. Lesson learned! The snapchats will have to wait for now! GoPros are OK though!
And that sums up my first experience on a bike ride. Only 6 more months of training to go until the 70.3!