Friday, June 29, 2007

On the Road Again

So I was finally back on my bike this week. I knew my knee issues were more than just some kind of impact fatigue from running when it was also hurting like hell on the bike - especially climbing - which suggested (to my incredible grasp of medical and biological sciences) that there was some kind of tendon or ligament issue going on. Anyway, as the run went well, I thought I'd try the bike. Same story as the run - the knee felt fine.

I live, in my happy new world, about 3 miles from Lake Kagonsa, a huge lake here that my aunt & uncle live on (and which served as Team Headquarters during Ironman, and wherein I've done countless open water swims, not to mention zipping about on a sea-doo with Jackson, which is a vision). Bordering the lake are several small county roads, as well as a major highway, and a state park. In Minneapolis, I preferred to drive about 15 minutes to get a bit on the edge of the suburbs to be able to safely connect to the outlands without dealing with major traffic. Here, I open my garage door and within 5 minutes I'm on a county road. Ridiculous.

I charted a short course - about 15 miles - taking me north, then west, then south, then a bit back east - taking me from my house around the lake and back to my aunt & uncles, where cold beer and brats awaited me. Like the IM course, it seems all of Wisconsin was meant for biking, and its absurdly beautiful. Lush farmland, picturesque silos and barns, corn as tall as my Grandpa. My uncle was joking the other day that former governor Tommy Thompson never met a highway or road construction company he didn't like, which means the gravel road out here is hard to find - and though some of these county roads were a little rough near the shoulder, generally it was smoother blacktop than I found in Minnesota. I saw 3 other triathletes tucked into aero bars on my ride, and cars out here are so used to seeing us that there's so much less of that perceived antagonism that I felt on the roads in Minnesota - people here aren't so "damn you bikers!", since they deal with us every day. All in all, it's just really refreshing, really different, really new for me.

There are also, on my ride, hills - several of them. This is great - that on weekends I can plan my long rides around the Ironman course if I want to, but that even my maintenance rides will have some built in hill training - something I didn't have at all on my regular routes in Minnesota. The hills are nothing IM caliber or anything - shorter and less steep - but still, they're hills. I found myself more than once riding the brakes downhill, not having sufficient time on the bike this year to have the courage to open it up yet (that wheel wobble thing from last season is still, I have found, living in my head...and it may until a new iteration of Ol' Blue finds its way into my atmosphere).

The road stays within a few miles of the lake, and the final southward stretch hovers right near it. That's cool, too, to be able to ride on the shores of a place so meaningful to me - 11 years of July 4th reunions (which we're gearing up for now for next week!), so many adventures and lazy days on the boat or the dock, even the place Amy and I got engaged. To now have it be a regular backdrop to this part of my life taps deeply into the sentimental pieces of me that triathlon so often reveals.

So. Another run scheduled today, and maybe a ride as well, and my first "long ride" I'm scheduling for Sunday - not sure yet how far that is...still wanting to really go easy with the knee, so I'll shoot for 25 minimum. I'll keep you posted.


Tri-Thomps said...

We're doing a ride of the IM course on Saturday around 7am. If you can make it, come join us. The pace will be leisurely around the 40 mile loop.

TriSaraTops said...

Makes me really miss WIBA!


Oh, who am I kidding, I miss riding ANYWHERE right now. I'd even take dealing with mean nasty drivers.

Sounds like so much fun!

Jackson on a Sea-Doo? Now THAT I've gotta see.

xt4 said...

Thanks for the invite Thomps! I hadn't checked in (having some kind of weird comments to email issues), so wasn't aware, but another time would be awesome. Thanks for thinking of me!