Proving that real men wear pink, my colleague and cycling mentor, Frank, returned to road cycling today. As some of you may remember, Frank has been inactive on the bike since New Year's Eve, thanks to yours truly. Though he hasn't ridden outdoors more than a couple times in three months, I can declare with certainty that Frank didn't miss a pedal stroke today. We rode from the Starbucks at Agoura Road and Lindero Canyon Road to the top of Portrero Road in Newbury Park and back, along with some diversions. Total ride time was three hours, which equated to 1,186 calories burned. According to my Garmin watch, we climbed grades up to 17% and Frank handled it all, even beating a much sleeker-looking and powerful cyclist on the lengthy downhill just past Sylvester Stallone's place atop Hidden Valley.
I was impressed. Granted, Frank has been training in our workplace gym, using the recumbent bike and torturing himself with the intensity meter cranked up to 18 out of 20 on hill climbs for up to six-minute intervals. I've tried that, and I can barely handle 1-2 minutes. Since I made a Stallone reference before, I'll say now that when it comes to cycling, Frank is not human. He is like a piece of iron.
Enough bro-love. Seriously.
After our bike ride, I visited my grandmother at the Jewish Home for the Aging. I expected to find her in her room, watching TV quietly. She wasn't there though. Instead, I found her and 12 of her friends in the dining hall... wait for it... watching Inglorious Bastards for the "movie of the week."
I guess it doesn't matter how old you are, killing Nazis never stops being appealing.
My day of training continued later in the afternoon with a threshold-pace swim of 2,600 yards at the recently refurbished Van Nuys-Sherman Oaks public pool. While I may be able to knock out a 100-yard sprint in about 1:55, it seems my T-pace for longer intervals (300, 400 yards) is about 2:02-2:03. The latter mirrors what I swam last week during the Desert Tri event. I know I originally indicated a 2:14 pace, but when I re-calculated at the suggestion of a fellow racer, I discovered that I swam the 500 meters at a 2:03 pace. Now things make more sense. The good news is that I maintained that pace even after the three-hour bike ride, a hearty lunch and a couple-hour break. Though, to even things out I am trying new techniques in the water such as dragging my fingertips more to relax and enter the water later in my stroke. I'm also trying to make my kicking more fluid, capturing the same motion when I use the Zoomers. It's a little overwhelming right now but I bet I'll get the hang of it come Ironman time. If there's anything I've learned from this experience is that progress happens every day, it's just that sometimes it can't be seen or felt.
My day didn't stop at the pool. Nope, not by a longshot. I quickly showered at the pool and motored to Triathlon Lab in Santa Monica, where I tried out some tri-bikes. I'm looking at the Felt B2 and the Cervelo P3. Not sure which bike I'll get yet, but I at least know the 52" in both can fit me well. They're both gorgeous bikes, each offering carbon frames with top-of-the-line componentry and decent wheelsets. I'm leaning towards the Felt so far, so if you have any feedback I'd love to hear it.
Finally, my long day concluded rather unexpectedly but for the better. I was planning for a quiet night home alone with laundry, paying bills and video games. Instead, my buddy TJ and I met for dinner and a movie. More bro-mance. We saw Green Zone, the new Matt Damon flick about WMDs and the Iraq insurgency. I'd rate it about a 7.5 on a scale of 1-10. Fairly predictable plot but decent action and acting. Not a particularly memorable movie, but enjoyable nonetheless.
I can't believe how long and busy today ended being. And I enjoyed every minute of it. Now I need to power down and grab some rest before doing it all again tomorrow. After a two-hour trail run at 9 a.m. (which will feel like 8), Stephanie and I are going engagement ring shopping. I'm excited!
From bro-mance to romance. This weekend has it all!
255 days and counting.