Saturday, May 14, 2011

Star Treks - biking and running at Stillwell Woods

Twin Treks - two times the fun
Today's workout (Stillwell Woods): 6.5 miles (bike), 3.15 miles (run)

I'm no longer plagued with noticeable knee pain but the problem hasn't fully disappeared. I'm looking at lower impact workouts to help facilitate recovery. One way to do this is to incorporate more elliptical workouts and to do some biking. This morning KWL came by at 7:00 AM and put on a bike repair clinic, making me and my wife's (15 year old) Trek hybrids trail-worthy in less than 30 minutes. KWL rode one of the Treks instead of his high end Scott mountain bike to keep things even.

Once we made the 5 minute drive to Stillwell we unloaded the bikes and it was strange being one of the "bike guys" rather than solely a trail runner. After a couple of last minute adjustments we headed into the woods with my Garmin 210 and KWL's Garmin 800 recording our progress via GPS. It's been years since I've done more than a cursory bike ride around the neighborhood so after finding myself on hilly and rooty single-track I was a little bit nervous. I was surprised how well I was able to move along and quickly gained the confidence to pick up my speed. The trails at Stillwell were whizzing by, much different from the way it looks when I run them.

KWL demonstrated techniques for navigating rough sections and he taught me optimal body position and when it was best to rise from my seat. This helped a lot when we were going over roots, rocks and other obstructions. KWL also guided me on what gears I should use when going up a rise or negotiating a steep descent. We followed my standard running route that is mostly packed dirt but there is one section that's a mix of sand and gravel and two consecutive gravel and sand covered hills that required a lot of speed on run-up, lest you fall back or stop.

We rode for about 50 minutes and then quickly changed to running gear and headed back into the woods for a 5K trail run. It seemed much different running those trails after flying along them minutes before. I felt as though I was running in slow motion but we actually covered the first mile in under 10 minutes. By mile two the hard work of the ride was catching up with me and I looked forward to finishing. We came around for our last loop and my right quad was complaining loudly. I told KWL that I felt the same as I did at the end of the half marathon. He completed a 120 mile ride last Sunday with 102 miles done during the GrandFondo challenge and had no problems with our ride but he also felt the run.

I'm finally able to upload my activities on the Garmin to both Connect and Training Center and I've enjoyed the mountain of data that you can analyze. One feature that I like about Training Center is the capability to overlay two runs and directly compare progress via two small circles that move along the path relative to their speed on the course. It's me vs. me. I like those odds.

I loved this morning's bike-and-run combo and I know I made progress on my fitness. Mountain biking is a blast, even when you're riding on a bike that weighs twice as much as its modern day equivalent.

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