Meet Baby Bluestreak

If biking is your weakness like it is for me, then finding ‘The’ Bike is not going to step up your game.  In my personal opinion, confidence is the foundation in biking.  Last summer, I hated biking.  I dreaded each weekend we had long rides and hardly ever road during the week (mainly because I had 12 hour days away from home working clinicals for school).  Needless to say, I had a love/hate relationship with my road bike, which was a Marin Argenta.  I have to admit…it was an AWESOME first road bike.  He was way faster than my 7.3 Trek hybrid I used in previous triathlons.  Now Trekkie is a commuter bike and fun for leisure rides and Marin is being handed over to my husband so we can ride together. 

How did I gain so much confidence this summer and why am I loving to ride so much?!  I pretty much credit those long, torturous and boring hours on the indoor trainer (a refurbished Cyclops Pro) in the winter and even during those cold/rainy days in the spring.  I think it’s worst than running on a treadmill but it helps to have drills and watch a movie or TV shows.  My winter training was on Mr. Marin and I fell in love with him more as I was training.  Yes, I still love my husband more so than training and my bikes!  Then May graduation came along and a new baby came into the family.  My first thought, “oh no, I’m just getting comfortable and more confident on Marin and I love him so much! Plus, it’s nearly 3 months out from Ironman Louisville!” I was attached to Marin and found it hard to leave him for newer and better.  It was especially hard to make these major changes so late into training...I felt as if I was going to lose all that confidence I gained over the winter.  My family and my husband all went in and fancied up my new ride; although, I was nervous because we go through a battle of getting fitted on bikes each time (I’m in between sizes – surprise, surprise). 

My husband does EXTENSIVE research before he invests in anything major (a car, electronics, bikes, etc.).  When I got fitted on my bikes, we were sick to our stomachs and acquire many other symptoms of stress along the way.  My first thoughts are always, “how much was this and how much more are we going to spend upgrading it?!”  My husband’s first thoughts, “I want her safe and to have fun.”  Ok, maybe he’s rational.  At 2 months out before my first Ironman, I think we finally have the bike complete!

Everyone, meet Baby Bluestreak (the all carbon Tommaso Maranello road bike)!
Bluestreak is loaded with a Terry Carbon seat, Profile Design aero bars,
Shimano Ultegra rear gear cassette, FSA Team Carbon front cassette, with Dura-Ace
components (shifters, brakes, etc.). 
So far, he’s been PHENOMENAL!  My confidence grows after each ride, however, since I went from 3 big rings to 2, I’m still a little shaky about climbing major hills.  With Marin, I could tackle some long, hard climbs but he gave me room to spare on the gears.  Now that I have 2 big rings in the front, I have to ride smart.  On Marin, I mainly stayed in my middle ring the whole time and now, I’m riding on the big ring most of the time…even hills.  It’s a psychological thing when I think about climbing a big hill, I don’t want to run out of gears and have to stop, so I try to leave myself with room to take it down a notch. 

New to aero bars?  Over the past year, I couldn’t convince myself that I needed aero bars on my road bike…read and heard too many mixed reviews.  However, once I heard several people in my club mention that you will want to rest at some point during long, 112 mile rides, I was convinced to at least try them out.   I thought all along that I would have to go through another fitting, but one bike shop told me that you can either shift everything forward (more aggressive position) or shift your bars backward (move the aero bars back so you can remain in road position).  I was excited to hear that you can keep your normal road position, which is more comfortable for long rides, AND have aero bars.  Now that I have tried them out, I thought, “it took me this long to figure out how awesome these are?!”  It’s great for long, straight ways and even against headwind.  I thought for sure I wouldn’t be able to balance my center of gravity while riding and lose control, but I created my own drills on a 1-hour ride before I attempted an 80-mile route on the weekend since I didn't have much time to look up Youtube videos or read forums on riding in aero.  But, if you’re new to aero bars, here are some tips I found helpful while getting accustomed to riding:

Tips from Tiff
-       Find a park or trail that has straight ways and not busy with pedestrians or other bikers.
-       Start of riding normally with your handlebars and warm-up.
-       Once you reach a long, straight way, practice riding with one hand on the handlebar and one hand on the aero bar (see picture #1).  You can start with either hand (dominant or non-dominant) because you’ll soon find out which one is better to place where.
Position #1 - stabilize before geting in aero position
-       After feeling you have your balance, lean forward and slowly move your hand off your handlebar to bring to the center on the aero bar with the other hand (see picture #2). Then after a few minutes remove one hand from the aero bar and back to the handlebar and bring the other hand on the aero bar back to handlebar (now both hands should be back in normal position on the handlebar).
Position #2 - aero position
-       Repeat until you find your groove on which hand to move when. 
-       NOTE: when in aero position, do NOT attempt to do turns or take one hand of to wipe your nose or scratch your face until you have gained strong balance.  I tried and found myself not stable enough to advance to that stage yet. 
-       Be patient because it won’t be long before you gain enough confidence to ride long in aero position and find how much it will give you some relief while riding against wind or long straight ways.  Some people like riding in aero downhills, but since I’m not comfortable going downhill quite yet, I will remain in road position. 
-       Finally, have FUN!

Quote of the day:  Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy. ~Norman Vincent Peale


Bible verse of the day:  “No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful.  Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.”  ~ Hebrews 12:11

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