Sunday, June 7, 2009


Perspective. It's an interesting thing, you know. A few years ago, as a young college kid in Madison, Wisconsin, I got a chance to witness this "Ironman Thing" first hand. I was amazed at all the equipment, the physiology of the athletes, but even more so, what in the world would possess people to do something like this...?

It just goes to show that you should never say never. Because here I am, two weeks out from my first Ironman. EVERYONE PLEASE KNOCK ON WOOD! (Not having a panic attack, not having a panic attack, not having a panic attack, lalalalalalalalala!)

The same thing could be said for my bike ride this weekend.

Perspective. It's an interesting thing, you know. When I saw my training schedule from Jen, my first thought after viewing Saturday's four hour bike was, "Oh wow! A short ride!! I can be done before 10 am! I've got the weekend!"

Rationally, I realize that four hours of anything is quite a bit. Sheesh! I don't even like sitting in the car for four hours. But after surviving nearly all the Ironman training (save the taper), I'll grudgingly admit that its not all that bad.

The best part?

Getting home in time to go out for pancakes! Now THAT is worth riding (nearly) any distance for.

Perspective. Perspective, it's an interesting thing, you know. About three minutes into my Saturday ride I hit something big and got not one, but two flat tires. Suffice to say - that was a first for me. But it could have been worse - much worse. The rock I hit (yes, in the pre-dawn light I swerved to avoid a ton of glass on the road, only to ride OVER a fist-sized hunk of concrete. Classic).

My rear tire blew out almost instantly. I thought briefly that I could fix the flat right here on the side of the road. But the 'pft! pft! pft!" of the front tire indicated that the first one had gone as well. Yes, I carried two spares, but I was definitely NOT up to biking another 3:57 with no spares. Especially given my stellar start to the morning.

A year ago I would have gone home, tossed aside the bike that would make even Normal blush, and hop back into bed. Not today. Two not-quick-but-faster-than-normal tire changes, and I was rolling out the door. Grateful that it was only the two tires that blew and nothing else.

Perspective. It's an interesting thing. Last year when I rode (one!) ride with the Swami's I got spat out the back as soon as they hit Elfin Forest. It was ugly, and I cried. But I finished out the ride and was stronger for it. Yesterday while riding on my own through Elfin Forest, I was passed by the Swami's Ride that resembled a tidal wave. I sat up and stopped pedaling, figuring I would enjoy the breeze that a pelaton passing at 27 mph makes.

"Jump on the back!" one guy yelled as he whizzed by.

The next thing I knew, someone put a hand on my back and pushed me with all their might. My speed jumped and before I knew it, I was hanging on the back of their train. I took one glace at my watts, and vowed to NOT look again. And I didn't.

But this time though - I lasted a total of three minutes. And that was exactly two minutes and forty five seconds MORE than last time. Suffice to say, I was stoked. And I spent the next few miles, time trialing and picking off as many riders who had been spat out the back as possible. Okay, so it was only three. But there were a few more up ahead that I couldn't quite catch.

Perspective. Perspective, it's an interesting thing, you know. As a young whipper snapper raising h e double el and riding my pink and gray bike around the neighborhood, I hated to wear a helmet. But I did so because my parents refused to let me ride without one.

I was much more concerned about how my hair looked. I know, I know: twelve year old's have their priorities all mixed up.

Nowaday's I would NEVER ride without a helmet. I think its stupid. And dumb. And...well... you just never know when your noggin is going to hit the deck. So be prepared, in spite of what it may do to your hair.

With about twenty minutes to go, I coasted to a stop light that took seemingly fo-r-ev-er. There was a lot of traffic, so I just waited. And waited. A few minutes later two riders pulled up behind me.

"Now, make sure that you're in your small right - that way when the light turns red you'll be able to finish biking up this hill..." one guy told another.

I looked behind me at the young kid, who couldn't have been more than twelve. And then down at my own gears. Sure enough, I was in my big ring. Oops. I knew I forgot to do something as I coasted to a stop. My legs would pay once I got moving.

Perhaps sensing my thoughts, the older gentleman addressed me, "I'm just out for the day, teaching my son about the importance of bike safety and bike riding..."

I turned around ready to comment about HOW COOL!, and what a GREAT DAY! it was, when I stopped completely. The adult figure - Dad, Father, Uncle, who knows - intent on teaching his son about "bike safety" was NOT WEARING A HELMET.

So much for lead by example.

Before I knew it, the light changed and I was off - big ring and all. Luckily I manged to NOT fall over on the hill and ride up without shifting too much.

Perspective - it's an interesting thing. And it makes me wonder what will change two weeks from today. I can't wait to find out!


Missy said...

I love perspective and how it changes EVERYTHING. I can't wait for CdA, it's going to be great. I'm just looking at your season and drooling. You're going to kill it.

Oh perspective - I said to someone the other day, yeah, I'm just doing a half IM this year. Sounded like a snot but it's true, it's all relative to what you're used to!

Molly said...

Definitely true, all of it! And I am *SUCH* a snob about people wearing their helmets these days, it's amazing how fast it changes your view of someone when they don't.

You will do GREAT in 2 weeks. But yes, it's not quite time to think about it yet...still time to be in denial for you (but not for me!).

Caroline said...

All that is so true! When a 3-4hr ride seems short you're in a great place! I can't wait to follow u out on the IM course. IM CDA rocks! That was my first too, and the best part will be when you hear "Marit...YOU...ARE....AN IRONMAN!" still gives me chills ;)
Time to rest up. Enjoy your taper. And remember that over the next two weeks less is more!

Mary B said...

Good post! Now enjoy the taper and keep visualizing how good the diesel engine will feel and do on race day! You certainly deserve the best race ever!

Shan said...

Great post, Marit! As usual :). Perspective is everything. Now enjoy those next few weeks of taper! You're going to SMOKE the CDA course!

Love ya!

D said...

What is up with the parent's that don't wear a helmet when out for a ride with their kid(s)? Seriously... all over the place here too. Drives me bloody bananas.

I guess I'm going to have to use another title for my upcoming blog post, huh? hah!

Mama Simmons said...

I'm not sure I would have been able to hold my tongue with that guy without a helmet? I would have if he wouldn't have had to say the phrase "bike safety"...

ADC said...

Short four hour ride? I know exactly what you mean. As for the riders without helmets I won't even comment.

Pedergraham said...

I am tyring to picture you at 12 and that bike. I had braces and rode a red Schwinn, girls-style, Varsity. No helmet--no one wore them back then. Can you believe that I did not get my first helmet until college? Hope you wake up to a good Monday.

Marni said...

I hear a blog post about the joys of Taper coming up soon!!!
your Perspectives are great :)

Kim said...

mmmmm pancakes ;) makes all the short and long rides worth it! fantastic post!

Runner Leana said...

Ah are so right Marit! When I was a kid wearing a helmet wasn't much of a thought, and it wasn't until helmets became mandatory in British Columbia that I got one. I think that was in university though. Now I can't even imagine going without one.

And I wouldn't have wanted to ride for 3:57 with no spares either! Enjoy your taper!!

Charisa said...

Perspective is great! :)

Awesome on the swami's hanging on! Can't wait for your race!

Jennifer Yake Neuschwander said...

Wow. Having the courage to take a chance and hang on to the Swami's is awesome. I love reading your perspective on things. I am so exicted for you at IM CDA. You are going to love it. I can't wait to hear your perspective.