Cycling: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Today, I did a 6:20 bike ride, about 102 miles or so in preparation for my Ironman coming up in early March.
When I go for a ride, I usually see at least one thing that bugs me or pisses me off. BUT TODAY – being out there for 6+ hours, I think I just about saw it all.
So here it is: Cycling: The Good, The Bad, The Ugly…but in reverse.
The Ugly:
1. Pedestrians who walk on the wrong side of the road.
Cyclists ride with the flow of traffic, walkers/runners go against the flow of traffic. This is so walkers/runners can see oncoming traffic and react appropriately in case of trouble, versus walking with their back to traffic and risk being clipped by a stupid driver. Cyclists going faster and sometimes as fast as traffic have more time to be seen by traffic and thus can lower the risk of trouble. Also, a bicycle is a vehicle and should thus share the road as a vehicle, going with the flow of traffic.
I don’t know where people learn this but walking with their back to me as I’m going 10-20 MPH is really dumb. If I were walking on the road and tons of cyclists were blowing by me going at such speed, I would get nervous. Yet so many pedestrians are so oblivious to the danger they are in.
1a. Pedestrians who walk on the wrong side of the road AND can’t walk a straight line or are swinging their arms while strolling or during expressive talking.
As I come up to pedestrians, I always start observing how they walk. If they are weaving back and forth, then I yell really loud, “ON YOUR LEFT!!!!!” and prepare to brake as I pass.
1b. Pedestrians who walk on the wrong side of the road AND can’t walk a straight line or are swinging their arms while strolling or during expressive talking AND when I yell “ON YOUR LEFT!!!!” as I pass, they FREAKIN’ DODGE TO THE LEFT…right into yours truly.
Nuff said there.
2. Cyclists who hang out stopped in the bike lane.
Come on guys. Where is your courtesy? You stop at the side of the road to rest, chat, fix a flat,…whatever. Fine. BUT DON’T STAND WITH YOUR BUDDIES IN THE WHOLE FREAKIN’ BIKE LANE. I lost count of how many times I was forced into the traffic lane just to go around these idiots. Get further to the side and be aware that there are tons of cyclists trying to ride. Geez.
Earlier this year, a pro-triathlete was tossed from her bike, breaking her collarbone, because she was powering up a road and as she checked her back for traffic, she ran smack dab into two cyclists who decided to stop right in the middle of the bike lane to do something, and not move to the side.
Would you stop dead in a traffic lane on Highway 280 after going 65-80 MPH and then zero just because you felt like it?
3. Cyclists who can’t pedal in a straight line.
What happened to basic cycling skills? Passing people like these is an exercise in stress management. It is nerve racking to come up to their rear, yell “ON YOUR LEFT!!!!” and then watch them weave back and forth while you try to make your pass.
4. Cyclists who can’t pedal in a straight line AND weave to the LEFT as you try to pass on the LEFT, after yelling “ON YOUR LEFT!!!”
These people must have been born with the “dodge into danger when warning is signalled” gene. Too bad we as human beings have stopped evolution completely….
The Bad:
1. Feeling an impending cramp in your thigh when you’re miles from home.
Aw man…not now…not now….I was at about hour 5 going up a hill when my right thigh gets that familiar tightness. You never know if it’s going to subside or just knot up and you’ll be writhing in pain.
And you know you’ve got more hills, and one more hour to go….
2. Running out of fluids.
I was out there today, thinking that I timed my drinking and how much fluid I brought perfectly. But unfortunately, I ran out about 30 minutes from home. Man, seems like forever, when you want to take a sip of fluid but can’t….
3. Getting a flat.
At least it was my front tire. Changing the rear tire REALLY SUCKS.
It took my only spare about 2 hours in. I hate the feeling of not having another one. Gotta remember to bring another one next time.
4. Realizing that your bike is covered in mud after the ride.
…my beautiful shiny bike is all dirty….(sniff)….
And also because it takes an hour to clean everything, get all the gunk off metal parts so they don’t rust, and regrease the chain. I’d rather put my feet up in front of the TV and recharge….or spend time complaining on my blog…
The Good:
1. Going on the brick run afterwards and NOT CRAMPING UP.
At least my impending thigh cramp did not happen and I got a good brick run in afterwards.
2. Feeling energetic on the bike and run.
Sometimes you go out there and you feel totally abused by the time you get back. Especially in Bay Area winters, this happens a lot when you’re training in the cold weather and it just saps your energy so much. It is a joy to do all that and feel like you could keep going if you wanted to. But instead, you kick back and watch TV and complain on your blog…
3. Knowing you’re over your freakin’ cold so you can get back to training.
Always a positive thing.

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