Friday, March 11, 2011

SIG Training Begins!

I think I'll take a break from talking about chefs, food and restaurants for a bit and turn instead to another passion of mine - cycling! Back in 2009, I got a fabulous road bike complete with clipless pedals and the whole nine. At that point, I'd never been on a road bike, much less while being clipped in, so my first few rides were most certainly very rocky. I may or may not have fallen down within the first 5 minutes of being on. I'm really lucky to live just a few blocks from Central Park so I can easily get up there to ride but it's honestly become so annoying. There are so many people in the park these days and now it's a law in NYC that all cyclists must stop at red lights. There are probably 10 or so lights around the 6 mile circumference of the park so that gets incredibly annoying to stop, clip out, wait and resume. The fine is something like $275 though so I would just be pissed off if I had to pay this city another dime than I already do. Sooo, needless to say, riding in the city has become extra aggravating but I'm just not advanced enough quite yet to go out of the city on my own.

I've written about NY Cycle Club before but I'll just mention again what a tremendous group of people lead it. I've been to a couple of meetings and met some really wonderful folks who are so welcoming and sweet. Last year, I had read about their SIG program, short for Special Interest Group, and it's basically like a cycling college, if you will. There are three levels and it's designed to take a solo rider from the ground up and train them in group riding along with all the tiny details of bike maintenance and the like. I'm solid on the bike now and my fitness level is high but I know nothing about changing a flat, fixing a dropped chain, riding in a group; any of the nitty gritty stuff that makes up the cycling world. While I'm a runner at heart, I absolutely love being on the bike and I've conquered some personal hurdles because of it. There's a different relationship you have with the road when you're a runner vs. cyclist and I feel pretty lucky to see both worlds. Anyway, I'd missed the deadline to sign up for the SIG last year but I was sure to be one of the first to do so this year.

I decided to do the lowest level so I could be a part of learning all the small details of what I mentioned above. It's a rather large committment of 8 straight weeks every Saturday but I'm very excited to do this! Last Saturday morning was the classification ride for our group which was really so fun. It was just three laps of Central Park (a little over 18 miles) and then you wait a couple of weeks to hear which group you'll be in. I appreciate that they do this even amongst the lowest level because there are a fair amount of people who have a great fitness level but feel the same as I do. Basically, it'll be nice to ride with people at the same pace as you even in a lower level group. I got my bike all tuned up and was so excited to get back out on the road:
I had a fantastic ride and I definitely think my training sessions with Jimmy the past few months have boosted my endurance level big time. I'd been sick last week and that, coupled with not having been on the bike since last fall, I thought for sure I'd do some major huffing and puffing (especially up Harlem Hill!). That actually wasn't the case and I had a really strong ride. I surprised myself! Thanks for kicking my behind each and every week, Jimmy. ;)

I haven't heard what group I'm in yet but I look forward to getting that info soon. We officially start on Saturday, 3/26. Woooo! Hopefully, I'll have some fun adventures to share as we finally ride out of this crazy damn city. I can't wait to ride into some beautiful areas of Jersey and upstate NY, soon!

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