Starting over… again – 1/15/17

Growing up, I did a lot of bike riding. First as a passenger and then on my own with family. From the short rides around town to the long ones on the Prairie Path, a tremendous amount of miles were riden. After the first fall or tow as I road around the block at 5 or 6, things were pretty smooth sailing. I say pretty smooth, because those 30 or 45 degree up and downs that are somewhere in Wheaton are no joke.

Somewhere in my early teens, the riding dramatically dropped off. It returned in full force about 2 years ago when I got on the tandem with Terri. Even having rode for years, this truly was starting over. You get used to being in full control and just having to worry about your own balance on an upright bike. But with a tandem you not only have to worry about what you’re doing but what the other person is and making sure you’re both in synch. But once you get used to it and get going, it works well.

After two years of training and racing, I was comfortable on the tandem. With the exception of a couple flat incidents and the frustrating mount session, it’s gone pretty well. But you can’t just stay in your comfort zone. If you do, then you’ll plateau and never move forward. So I’m starting over — again. This time it’s with bike shoes and clipping into pedals.

I’ve been working with the tandem (Erik) on an indoor trainer for about 10 days. The first session was a disaster to say the least. I didn’t fall or hurt myself; but it was a mess clipping in/out. During that first session, I think I perspired more from the frustration and stress than anything else. Since that first workout, it’s gotten a little easier and easier with each. There are two different struggles at this point:

1) Since I can’t see the clip holes, trying to get my feet used to properly flipping and clipping in in a single motion. While it’s easy to bring the pedal up to the top and then clip in, that’s not a reality outside of the trainer. That lack of balance will just lead to too many issues.

2) Learning to vent frustration when I miss the clips in G language. In my home, on the trainer, the frustration comes out in profanity. I know that’s not going to fly out in public or in a race. Expecially since I could get tagged with a course violation for it.

There have been baby steps forward on both, and I will continue to work on it. In today’s workout, I was able to reclip as normal one out of 12 times. I know it’ll get better — it just takes more practice.

Oswego Bricks


Yesterday, we headed over to Oswego for a bike/run brick session. We did about 9 miles on the bike through the Fox Valley Trail. As always, Oswego Cyclery lent us the tandem for the day. I am so grateful for Art continuing to let us use it!

Montgomery still needs to fix their part of the path. It’s got so many bumps in it that I joking said to Terri ‘stop saying bump – just say no bump when there isn’t one.’ As soon as I can figure out exactly who to report that to, I will be sending an e-mail. Everything I’ve found so far points to Aurora instead of Montgomery.

After the last bike/run brick, I could barely run. On this one, I was able to do small stretches before the jello in my legs took over and I had to walk. As we were headed back into the park, a couple of guys called ‘where’s the double bike?’, so we’re evidently getting noticed in Oswego when we ride. 🙂 We only did 2 miles of the ‘run’ because today was a planned swim. More on that in the next post…

Crazy Wheels, take 1…


A couple of weeks ago, Terri and I sat down and made serious training plans for the Traithlon in August.  While we had a framework, we were still missing one very key piece – a tandem bike.  As Terri worked through trying to find a solution, she spoke with Art Black, who’s the owner of Oswego Cyclery.  He generously offered to let us use the tandem they have to training and for the triathlon.  That was HUGE and greatly appreciated!

After the Celebrate Differences race, we went over to the bike store to check out the tandem.  Art did some initial changes so the pilot seat would work for Terri, and was going to put pedal blocks on to make it even more comfortable before Monday’s ride.  After that initial stop, we went to the Naperville Running Company, where I purchased compression socks (and other gear) — more on that later.

On Monday, we got out on the tandem, and it was a bumpy start.  The best parallel for how I felt is what Stephen King describes in It relating to Bill Denbrough and Silver.  But we learned a good deal, including communication, mount/dismount and more.  It also became crystal clear that I need a hydration pack for the bike part, as we will both get hurt if I try to reach down for a water bottle.

After returning the tandem to the bike shop, we did the other half of the brick training (run). Whether it was just the normal jello legs or the combined 4 days of running, I could barely run.  We ended up just walking for about 30 – 40 min.  When I got home, I put on the compression socks that I had bought the day before.  While those are the most expensive socks I’ve ever bought, they are worth their weight in gold.

If you are in the Oswego area, please check out Oswego Cyclery  They will take great care of you and your bike needs!