Riding on the Bubble Never Looked So Good









Sunday’s 30-mile ride took me to the Little Miami Scenic Trail, a 78-mile trail that runs from Newtown (15 minutes from downtown Cincinnati) north to Springfield, Ohio. It’s your standard rails-to-trails route, beautifully paved and even more beautifully flat. Unlike last week’s ride, there was nary an incline to curse.

I opted for the flat course not in defeat but because I think at this point in my training, planting butt to gel-filled seat for distance needs to take priority over hauling bike and self up quad-busting hills. And truth be told, I figured with the absence of hills, going the distance was nothing; anyone could go forever on a nice flat road, right?

Naturally I was taken totally off guard when my response to this easy pleasure ride was yet another  “Holy Crap!”.

To put it simply, the ride was a total pain in the butt.

Right about now all you seasoned cyclists are leaning back on your seasoned butts, chuckling quietly, knowing of what I speak. Foolishly, I had assumed that the posterior padding that regularly strains against the suffocating confines of my jeans would finally make itself useful.

It was about mile 15 I began dreaming of bubble wrap shorts the way Biggest Loser contestants dream about telling Jillian where she can stick it. It was also about the time I felt panic begin to well up from the depths of what was my newly defined boney behind. How was I – my butt — ever going to make it through 75 miles…two days in a row?

Holy crap.

I had mistakenly assumed that all the miles I’ve logged training for two half marathons over the past year would allow me to slide into biking with minimal side effects.

Again, you seasoned cyclists chuckle, knowing I’ve doubly earned the title of Little Miss Smarty Pants.

Alternating pressure from cheek to cheek for the final 15 miles and looking like I was in desperate need of a pit stop, I finished. It was when I attempted to walk that I discovered that my issues weren’t all behind me.  Although I had been riding at 12-15 mph — a speed our Team Bicycle captain Ken Miller defines as a leisurely social pace — I had been constantly pedaling for 2 hours, leaving me to walk like a toddler taking her robotic first steps…while wearing four-inch stilettos.

An hour later, pain soothed with a hot shower and a Diet Coke, I wondered: Would every ride include some level of panic about what I had committed to? Could I develop the calloused behind I needed? Would I be muttering Holy crap! Sybil-like for the next two months?

And then I remembered those first weeks of training for my first half marathon: same doubt and panic, just wrapped with pain in different places. Training’s training; if you’re grunting it out it’s gotta get better.

So that’s what I’ll do, keep grunting it out, pedaling because I can. Follow my pain here or find me on the road. Just follow the sound of popping bubble wrap.

I’m riding as a member of the US Playing Card’s Team Bicycle in the Ohio – Bike MS: Venture the Valley 2011. I’ll be covering 150 miles on Aug. 27-28, a challenge for this middle-aged madre on her mountain bike. But it’s nothing compared to the challenge of living with Multiple Sclerosis, something my life-long friend Beth Reynolds Haueter does with tremendous strength and grace.

Follow my training escapades here and stop by my Bike MS page. Beth and I, along with thousands of other good folks, would love of it if you left your monetary mark.


Image: CMMahon


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4 Responses to “Riding on the Bubble Never Looked So Good”

  1. Jerry Nerl says:

    I feel for you Lady. I do not envy you at all. Hang in there, I am sure you will make it. Jerry

  2. Steven says:

    Welcome to the world of cycling. I have logged in 5 centuries so far this summer and a comfortable seat is a blessing. I changed my seat for the last 100 miler to a RX softer, more cushion, etc…and can say I might go back to the old one. I guess time in the saddle builds numbing muscles.

  3. Nancy says:

    Janice, I don’t know if you remember or not, but Wes has ridden a bike across the country twice. He still fancies himself as somewhat of a professional rider. But nowadays we have several pairs of those “gel” filled crotch shorts around our house. Our son Matt got a new bike this summer. After his first ride, he called home asking dear old Dad for advise for a sore rear. All Wes could recommend was a bigger seat or gel crotch shorts. I think you get used to it after awhile, as you probably are by now. Thanks for another very entertaining post!

  4. Janice Crago says:

    Nance, now that you jar my demented mind I do remember that Wes has more than his share of cycling experience under his um, seat. I’ve gotten lots of advice — more gel, less gel….blah, blah, blah. I do have the lovely gel-crotched shorts. Beyond that, I’ve decided to just suck it up and go with what God and my mamaw Giant bicycle blessed me with. I’m just to be passed the childbearing years.

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