i want to ride my bicycle.

WE GOT NEW BIKES!

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I also just learned I could put gifs in these blog posts… so… expect that to become the norm. 

Back to it — Specialized Bikes HOOKED. US. UP. 

And when I say “us,” I mean me and the WHOLE Bike Beyond team.
And when I say they “hooked us up,” I mean that we’re all riding the Ruby or Rubaix across the country this summer. This is a NICE bike.  It has ALL THE THINGS you would want. And things I didn’t even know you would want, that now I’m sure I won’t be able to live without.
They had the bike geometrically fit to us individually. They sent us some sweet new shoes. They sent us a helmet! Safety first.
Everything is matte finish. I’m a huge fan.

LOOK at this baby. IMG_0502

You’ll note the pedals as well. I’m currently obsessed with this bike, and those pedals have a lot to do with it. We got to select our own pedals.IMG_0500
With an all black and gray bike, I don’t really think I had any other option than to throw a pair of those HOT PINK iSSi Trail pedals on there. For those of you die-hards who are concerned that these are mountain bike pedals… fear not. I’ve also got a pair of the BRIGHT YELLOW iSSi Flash pedal to try out. And, when I feel like going back to my 3-bolt road shoes, I’ve got solid RED Look pedals that will look prettttty nice. Don’t I sound like I know what I’m talking about? Real life though… I just have awesome friends who teach me about pedals and bike computers and reflectors (you’ll note those newbie-flags are nowhere to be seen).

When I started this blog, I promised blog posts about training. Hopefully you’re not assuming my lack of training posts means an actual lack of training. Honestly, I’ve probably ridden more this year already than I did in all of 2016 and 2015 combined. I don’t really know how exciting training posts are anyway… BUT this seems like a good time to touch on a training ride…

I took this gem out for its inaugural ride last Saturday. Literally the perfect day. And Earth Day! We went with the LifeTime Cycle Group B Ride out of the St. Louis Park LifeTime. Until I clipped in in the parking lot and pushed off towards Cedar Lake Road that morning, I had only sat on this bike on a trainer during the fit. My exaggerated fear of using a new type of pedal (I had only used road 3-bolt in the past) was quickly cleared with the ease I was able to clip into EITHER SIDE of these pedals. Small victories. Although, I will say I wasn’t as quick off the stoplights with finding the pedals. Muscle memory or something?

We headed west to the Chaska Community Center, an out-and-back trip that would put the first 43 miles on my new child. When we literally rolled by my parents (where I had JUST driven from) I was only slightly tempted to cut the ride short. And then I remembered that I committed to a 100-mile ride in a couple weeks, I wanted to swipe my LT card at the gym to get credit for the visit, and oh yeah… that ride across the country is coming up…

This route hits some really nice [read: devil] rolling hills and promises a good workout. The last time I rode this route was a couple years ago, and I’ve always had trouble with the climbs. Nervous about losing the group as we came to the first hill, I tried to pay attention to what I knew about how to climb, how to use the bike to your advantage, and put my head down to slog it out. I was pleasantly surprised it wasn’t as hard as I remembered. I EVEN PASSED SOMEONE GOING UP THE HILL. I’ve absolutely never done that before. And, even better, when I got to the top, I wasn’t completely useless. I slowly drove the gear back up as my legs found a quicker cadence again and I stuck with the group.

Doing my best to KEEP MY COOL on the outside [psh yeah guys i totally always climb hills like that…] I was stupidly excited on the inside. Minor progress, but progress nonetheless. And, I know it may have been partially The Bike, but I’m taking this one for me this time.

FullSizeRender (1) copy 2

Cheesy, inspirational post moment: progress is a big deal guys. And, I’m talking physically here — I’m not in the blog world for political rants. I’ve seen myself make A LOT of progress with the swim life over the last few years. I had a moment last summer when I was swimming the 5-mile Lake Minnetonka Challenge, FOR FUNzies, after I got back from Manhattan. I hadn’t trained for it and had just gotten off a two-week-vacation-no-work-out-eat-what-you-want binge. But I wasn’t worried. And I stood there thinking about how 5 years prior, training for and completing that 5-mile swim WAS EVERYTHING. And, now… its a training swim. But that’s swimming. I haven’t yet seen myself make progress on the bike. Of course I am, but I finally had a moment with that hill where I COULD SEE IT. I could feel it. That in and of itself is motivating. And totally made my day. So, you guys… look for little signs of progress. It adds up. Sometimes to a marathon swim or bike across the country 😉

Okay, done with that.

The rest of Saturday was spent outside, because of THE EARTH.

When you become a totally-awesome-sponsored-by-a-bike-company cyclist [hah. just kidding], you have to rep the brand, ya know. Tag ALL THE HANDLES. Instagram. Facebook. LinkedIn. MySpace. Twitter. @iamspecialized @specialized @issi @beyondtype1 @teambikebeyond @costco (Costco has the best socks, duh). So, upon getting our bikes, the team was sent on a mission for AWESOME PICS with our bikes. This is all great, but can make for general awkward photo sessions.

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just checking out the disc brakes.

Saturday afternoon, I convinced my friend K* (with the help of LaCroix and Izzys ice cream) to follow me around Minneapolis with a camera and pretend we had been out on a ride and gotten some cool candid riding shots. Yeah. Don’t pretend to be shocked. The featured image for this post? You think I was just casually riding through MPLS and happened upon that beautiful grassy knoll? I don’t even have a helmet on in that pic. I’m wearing sandals. Riding a bike through that park is NOT EVEN ALLOWED. We actually saw quite a few people get scolded by security for that. But you guys, the PIC IS COOL, RIGHT? Mission accomplished. Don’t worry, I do have some where I’m wearing a helmet and my shoes. Some near the river (which also look cool). None riding my bike though…. which I’m actually just realizing. I’m sure there will be more photo ops to come.

After our afternoon photo sesh and Izzy’s ice cream indulgence, I made the trek back to the suburbs. The ‘rents (do people still say that?) basically have a better social life than me, so they had already left for some sort of evening festivity. Not ready to sit still, I grabbed the pups, and headed to a nearby hiking park overlooking the bluffs along the Mississippi river. We traversed the trails on the hill and ended at the top just in time for the sunset. THANK GOD I brought the dog. My legs were so tired from the ride in the morning, he was basically acting like my own personal sled dog, pulling me up what seemed like a mountain. I swear he kept turning back to look and see what the heck was holding him back. Oh, just the exhausted human who drove me here.

FullSizeRender (1) copy 3So, it was a good day.

It was also like 70-something and beautiful in MN in April, so that means that this past week HAD to include a forecast of snow.

Back outside again soon! Things might warm up this weekend again. Next weekend I’ll be riding the century in the Fulton Gran Fondo, so stay tuned for that gem.

Get outside this weekend.
-a

*still deciding if I want to be that blogger who refers to all her friends by the first letter of their first name in blog posts. xoxo, gossip girl.

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