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I just got back from my first time swimming in almost two years.  I’m hoping to keep the strain on my knees to a minimum, and I totally forgot how exhausting swimming laps is.  I can’t tell if my knees are sore yet because everything is sore.  My legs were bouncy as I walked back out to the parking lot, and right now my fingers are complaining that they’ve worked hard enough today, why do they now have to type?  I walked over to the Sterling Center Y to get a membership last night, and am very impressed with their faciliities.  The pool is really 2.5 pools, in an L shape.  They have free laps in the mornings on the long portion of the L, laps with a coach on the smaller straightaway, and freeswim in the square on the corner.

The only other lap swimming experience I have is from a few years ago at Northeastern.  It was so luxurious, for $50 I had access to the pool, a coach 3 mornings a week, and never once shared a lane.  This morning I shared my lane with a really nice 60+ gentleman who chatted with me about how busy it was, and even though  it was cold, what a beautiful morning it is.  I agreed, and then proceeded to have my ass handed to me.  Slow and steady, I kept trying to think, I naturally try to swim to hard and fast, and get tired before I even finish one lap.  This guy had slow and steady down pat.  This unassuming guy slowly and steadily swam lap after lap after lap.  But I suppose those lifers are the same ones passing me when I’m jogging by the Charles, or biking down Mass Ave.  If my knees will keep up, I just hope I can keep going long enough to impress a 20-something in 2050.

Last Sunday I rode in the Gloucester leg of the ADA’s Tour de Cure. I had taken part in this ride some years ago, but this was the first structured/organized ride I’ve done since rekindling my biking love over the past few years. It was hardly a smooth ride for me, but I learned a thing or two that will help me be more prepared for my next ride as well as my daily commuting.
1. 15.5 MILES ISN’T VERY FAR. – Since i’m used to riding 6 miles to and from work each day, I don’t really have a very good gague for distance riding and what I’m capable of. With this in mind, I decided to begin with the 25k, which seemed like it would be a challenge, but not too overwhelming. Turns out 15.5 miles isn’t very far at all, especially with two check-points along the way. Just as I was really begginning to dig in and get warmed up, I was already at mile 13. I guess that’s a good thing, but it absolutely was not the challenge I was expecting.
2. DON’T LEAVE MY SPARE TUBE/CO2/TIRE LEVERS AT HOME – This hardly needs to be explained. I figured I was only going 15.5 miles..what are the chances I’ll get a flat, right? Right. Two flats. Yes two, rear tube both times, and thank you to the two riders who stopped and lent me their resources. Luckily two riders stopped while I was walking to the next check point, and offered me their spare tube, CO2 cartridge, and levers. Luckily I have far more experience changing tubes than I would like to admit, and was able to get back up and riding for the next 8 miles. After refueling on a banana and some gatorade at the second check point, I noticed that my rear tube was flat AGAIN. Again, I was at the mercy of the helpful strangers, this time the mobile repair team from SkiMarket who were donating their time, know-how, and tubes to the riders.
2.a – I NEED A NEW REAR TIRE (see above) – Am I sitting on my saddle too hard, or is my new rear tire not providing the strength and protection I so clearly need?
3. THE SUN IS HOT EVEN AT 9AM – Of course I didn’t wear sunscreen…it was only a cloudless 96* day along the coast with no shade. The burn on my left thigh wasn’t apparent until a few hours later when I noticed the bright red bordering the pasty white right where my shorts ended. Ah well, it’s bound to happen sooner or later, and at least I earned it and didn’t just fall asleep at the beach or get a trucker’s burn from hanging out the car window.

Next ride…Hub on Wheels. 30 miles this time, and hopefully that doesn’t mean 4 flats.