It started out simple.
Stephanie: "Do you have a bike?"
Stephanie: "We should go bike riding sometime."
Me: "Sure, why not."
I had been on my bike exactly one time since I got it two years ago, and that was just a couple trips around the block. Prior to that, the last time I was on a bike was when I was a kid. So I suppose its fair to say that my biking experience was limited, at best. But I figured why not, it would be good to get out and get some exercise, spend some time with a cool person, and maybe even lose a couple of pounds that Ive been collecting. What could go wrong?
The route we were going to be riding was roughly 20 miles round trip and took us along The Strand, to the Hotel del, through some ridiculous houses in Coronado, around the golf course, under the Coronado Bridge, and then to the Ferry Landing... and then back again.
Our first bike ride was one heck of an adventure. About 30 minutes into the ride, I was dead. My legs were on fire, my knees were killing me, my head was pounding, my chest hurt, my sides hurt, it was hard to breathe, and when I finally had to stop for a moment, I knew something was wrong. I stood up and had to hold onto the bike because the world started spinning, I wanted to throw up, and I honeslty thought I was going to pass out.
I got off the bike and literally layed on the ground because it was the only way I could stay conscious. A lady rode by and even asked if we needed her to call 911. Yeah, it was that bad. Call it stupidity or just the desire to not want to quit, I finally managed to get up and continued on my way.
After an hour and a half of riding we finally made it to the Ferry Landing and I got some much needed rest, some food, and something to drink... all courtesy of Taco Bell. I love Taco Bell. It was getting late, so back on the bike, and after another hour and a half ride through pitch black night during which I lost my water bottle, almost ran into a bush, and almost got run off the road twice, we finally arrived at the truck.
My first real bike ride was over, and I can not convey to you just how thankful I was for it. The whole ride was extremely painful, and in ways other than the normal lack of exercise would bring a body. And I wouldnt find out why until the next day.
After I got home from work, I went out to check my bike and upon hand spinning the front tire I noticed that it wouldnt even complete one rotation. If I was at the Big Wheel on The Price Is Right, I would have got booed. Seriously though, when your tire cant go around one time, something is wrong. So upon taking the front disk brake apart I found out that the thing had been squeezing my tire the whole entire time. Add that to the slight rub my back brake was doing, and theres no wonder I couldnt get my bike to move very well and why my body hurt from head to toe for trying to do so.
With the front disk brake completely removed, we set out for our second adventure. I did better, it wasnt as labored a ride as the first, but something was still a bit off.
Dont get me wrong, I make no excuses for not being able to ride as well as Stephanie, nor as well as Id like. My conditioning, stamina, and leg muscles arent as good as they could be, and thats my fault for lack of exercising. So even if I had a perfect bike, I still doubt that Id be able to keep pace with her. For now anyway. So no excuses. But, the thing is, I dont have a perfect bike, and its only with each ride am I able to find something that needs to be adjusted to suit me.
Anywho. After a nice, pleasant, and thankfully uneventful ride, we get to the Ferry Landing in a quicker time than our first ride. Not that we could have gone any slower. At the Landing we found this cool pizza place and made the "smart" idea of getting a little snack before we headed back.
She wanted friend zucchini, I wanted pizza fries, and I thought we could share some garlic knots. What could go wrong? We got small portions of each and they ended up giving us three huge bowls of food. It was ridiculous. She managed to finish the zucchini, I ate half the fries, and we ate about half the knots and we took the rest of them back with us. Ridiculous.
We got back to the truck sooner than we did the first time, again, not that hard, and with that, our second bike ride was complete. I was sore, and tired, but honestly I felt good. I liked being out, I liked the company, and it great to finally be exercising.
The next day I looked around the net to see if maybe I had the wrong size bike. I found a size chart, grabbed a tape measure, and went to my bike. Accoriding to the chart, my bike was acceptable for a person my size. But when I was measuring it I noticed something rather important... I had never raised the seat. It was in the default position which is completely lowered, and so for a guy my height, it was destroying my knees. And what sucks is that I found it out by accident and never would have thought to check it. Like I said, each ride I find something new to make my next ride better.
SO much better. It really was like riding two different bikes. Still not perfect, I need to raise my handle bars, but already alot more comfortable. We got to the Landing even faster than our second time, and made another stop at the pizza place for another snack. She got zucchini again and I got an antipasto salad which instantly became my new favorite salad.
Back on the bike, a quickish ride back to the truck, during which I got hit by a golf ball, and our third outting was complete.
Unfortunately, on the ride out my elbow popped and caused me a good deal of pain the rest of the ride. Its definitely nothing serious, just an uncomfortable annoyance that just needs to be stretched out once in a while. Other than that, I was sore, tired, and again feeling great.
This ride almost didnt happen cuz at work earlier in the day I bent down to do something and my knee completely gave out. Im sure there were contributing factors, but Ill just file it under "one of those things" and leave it at that. But it hurt... ALOT... and it forced me to walk with a very noticable limp. I tried stretching it out all day, and just couldnt, so even though I probably shouldnt have gone riding, I thought the exercise might do it some good.
I wasnt able to raise my bars, so I went out with the same bike set up. One of these days though Ill get my bike where I want it, or need it, and then well see what Im able to do.
The ride out was mostly pain free. It was actually my elbow that bothered me more than my knee, but it was tolerable. We werent able to eat at the Landing cuz it was already late so we just turned around and rode back.
The ride back was painful, and I pushed my knee as hard as I could, but there was just no way I could even stay close to Stephanie. Once I accepted that, I set two goals for myself... be back to the truck by 5:10 - which would be our best time - and try and stay at 10mph. Somehow I managed to do both and although from the outside I still sucked, I was thrilled cuz I didnt let the pain get the better of me. I hurt, I was slow, but I never stopped. Small victories.
Ride five is supposed to be on Wednesday. Hopefully by then Ill have my bars fixed and my knee and elbow will be rested and pain free. Im looking forward to it, I have more to accomplish, I have goals to reach, and I have more antipasto salad to eat.
Until next time.....
-- DBW --