The weather's getting warmer and it's time to start hitting the road... on my bike.
One of the things I'm most nervous about is the bike portion of the Iron Girl Columbia sprint triathlon. It's 16 miles, but that's not the most nerve wracking thing for me. It's my clip ins. I'm just not totally comfortable with them and it's something I'm working on.
Now that I think we've officially said goodbye to winter, it's time to dust off my bike and bring it out of the basement. After a long winter of storage, it definitely needs some TLC.
John Russell from Race Pace Bicycles said the most important thing to remember to keep your bike safe is the ABCs - air, brakes and chain.
"You want to make sure that your tires are full inflated," he said. "You should grab both brakes and make sure they are feeling firm. Make sure that you can lock up the wheel on level ground. Then you should check the chain for debris, make sure that it's not dry and rusty and make sure that it's well lubricated."
After that you should be ready to hit the road. Russell said it's important to give yourself a training guide. Whether it's your first race, like me, or your 20th; it's important to give yourself goals and enough rest. I'm a little far out from race day for a formal training plan, but stay tuned, it will be coming.
You might think it's enough to give your bike a simply safety check at the beginning of the season and ride through October, but you might need to give it some more love.
"One of the things that people can do when they're preparing for their first big event, their first race, their first triathlon is get their bike in for service at least two weeks ahead of that event," Russell said. "People make a real classic mistake of rolling into the bike shop at 7 o'clock on a Friday night before a 7 a.m. start time on Saturday and their bike needs a whole lot more love than can be given in that limited amount of time. So go in to see your local bike shop and get stuff worked on early."
He said the last thing you want is for your bike to prevent you from performing your best. I've made it out on my bike once for Baltimore Bike Party in March. I intend to make it out much more often.
Don't like riding by yourself? Race Pace has several group rides you can join.
Mondays and Thursdays are perfect for road riders. Rides leave from Race Pace on Key Highway around 5:30 p.m. As the sun sets later, they'll leave at 6 p.m. Monday's ride is a more recreational pace, which is great for beginner riders. Thursday is a little more advanced, keeping at 17-19 mph pace.
Every other Sunday, a mountain bike ride is organized at Gunpowder State Park.