Wednesday Morning Open Thread

July 24, 2013

What’s up?

(Photo on right: Four-time U.S. cycling champion “Fast Freddie” Rodriguez, me wearing his medal (!) and his lovely wife Annie.)

I’ve discovered a new passion: cycling. Back in February, my husband got me a top-of-the-line bike — a pretty white Cannondale — for Valentine’s Day and my birthday. He did it because I had signed up to ride the Fast Freddie Gran Fondo charity ride and had planned to do so on a bike that I now realize is woefully inadequate for that kind of physical event.

I am embarrassed to admit that I rarely looked at it the first few months I had it because I was…afraid. I’ve never been much of a cycler and didn’t even learn how to ride a bike until I was in 3rd grade.

The bike also required shoes that clipped on, which made me feel claustrophobic, and not surprisingly, I fell a few times and my easily bruising olive skin was covered in scrapes and black and blue marks. Then there is the issue of Berkeley city traffic, which is constant…and scary. Needless to say, I was a mess and embarrassed that in my garage was this unused expensive bicycle.

Then Fast Freddie’s wife, Annie — a friend — encouraged me to take it slow, to just go around the neighborhood near my house, just until I got used to the clipped shoes and my bike. Then Markos encouraged me to accompany him on short rides — God, those must have been painful for him!

Then I ventured on my own. I’ve been climbing hills and riding long distances. Most recently, I broke my personal record, riding from my house in south Berkeley, up Tilden Park and all the way to Orinda, California. Then I turned around and went the other direction to El Sobrante, California, looped around there and went home. In total, I rode 45.7 miles in 4 hours 13 minutes, including 2,946 feet of climbing. I keep tabs on my output on Strava. If you’re on — please do follow me there!

Don’t get me wrong, I am painfully slow compared to Erika’s and my DH and our friends on Strava. But compared to where I was even a couple months ago, I am incredibly proud.

Also, cycling is easier on the joints so I feel like I am working out without all the injuries.

Do you cycle? What are your hobbies? Please share them here!