Sunday, February 26, 2006

Thoughts on the Bike

I am totally dialing in the training for the Wildflower, which is only 70 days away. My Achilles heel in each triathlons has been a definite lack of bike training. I like biking but the time commitment required, three to four times longer than a typical run, does not jell with my lack of focus.

It seems like things have changed. I have already done three rides this year of 40 miles or more, and yesterday Will and I nailed a 65 miler. The conditions were not particularly glowing; it was a little chilly, in the upper 50's, but I still felt great.

Top 10 reasons to enjoy biking

1) It's all about the gear. If you love buying and owning lots of things, biking is for you. The list is endless - bike shirt, bike, water bottle, helmet, pump, etc.)

2) It's all about the view. Unless you are Dean Karnazes (, it is hard to see much more than your neighborhood on a run. How many times can I run through the park and think, "Oh cool, look at the Buffalos). On a mid-to-long bike, you can explore areas you have never seen. Has anyone actually ever driven through San Anselmo?

3) It's all about the farmer's tan. Unless you live in Iowa, there is no better way to get a farmer's tan.

4) It's all about the cool words. While I love running, it produces decidedly boring conversations, laced with words like Nike, marathon and cramp. Biking is filled with foreign languages (Tour de France, Vuelta Espana), cool sounding brands (Bianchi, Cinzano, Shimano) and conversations that are not laced with running-like hyperventilations/

5) It's all about the food. Any sport in which you can eat while performing is money. Even if it is just cardboard-tasting power bars.

6) It's all about the community. Go for a ride on a nice day in Marin and you will see hundreds of packs of 5 or more bikers. If you see more than two people running together and they are not in team in training shirts, it is an anomaly.

7) It's about leveling the playing field. While I consider myself an OK biker, I usually get passed every ride by an overweight, middle aged woman. There is no profile of a good rider; they can look like Lance or be 70 pounds heavier. EVERY good runner looks exactly the same.

8) It's not about the bike. Despite the fact that some people pay $4,000 for a customized, fitted bike, you can ride almost as well with a bottom-of-the-line bike. I love my bike, the Bianchi Imola, and can see owning if for a long time even if I become more bike obsessed.

9) It's about looking professional. Go for a weekend ride and you would assume that the entire North Bay is receiving sponsorship. Everyone has on their bike shirt with the corporate logo. I myself wear an AMD shirt, a gift from a client at Rackable Systems ( No one wearing a Nike running top turns a head but each Subaru Montgomery or Discovery Team jersey makes me think "How did they get that shirt."

10). It's all about Lance. Steve Prefontaine died 33 years ago. Since then there has not been one remotely interesting runner.