Bento Box – who knew??

So, today was the 20 mile coached bike ride, with our Team In Training team. I had pretty much worked myself up into a lather about it, grumbling about the use of words like “easy” anywhere close to “rolling hills” and “20 miles.”

I got to Redwood High School early, and met the other folks. I must say this about Team in Training peeps – they are uniformly REALLY NICE. We had one little snafu – one of the gals had forgotten her helmet, so I drove back home and got H’s helmet and drove back – unfortunately missing the part I really wanted to see…how to change a flat. I really am going to have H walk me through this, because that whole thing scares me.

This is where I got to see a “Bento Box.” I have been listening to various triathlon podcasts, and Zen And The Art Of Triathlon happened to mention that he had a “Bento Box” on his bike, and how well it worked.

OK, so, remember, this is the gal who was trying to do drills that were designed to be done on a trainer on the road, because it didn’t say “this should be done on a trainer.” Well, I thought a bento box meant….a bento box. Like in a Japanese restaurant. You know, the black lacquer thing with little compartments. So the visuals I was coming up with listening to the Zen podcast about this “bento box” (not knowing it was Bento Box(TM)!) were just completely freakin’ hilarious. Where did he tie the box? Sounds like he has it right on the front of his bike. How does he keep things from flying out? Wouldn’t this be really un-aerodynamic? Yeah, Yeah, I know, what a bonehead, but that’s why I’m keeping this blog, to amuse the few of you who are reading.

A Bento Box(TM) is a little box that fits right behind your handlebars sitting on the top tube (it’s velcro’d to the upright and the top tube, so it’s very stable) and you can put like GU in it and the like. One of the gals on the ride had one. It said “BENTO BOX” right on the side and I nearly fell down laughing at myself. (Once I told her what I had thought when I had been listening to the Zen podcast, she thought it was pretty funny, too.)

OK back to the ride. We set off at about 9:20 from the Redwood back parking lot (totally takes me back to being 16 again – NO THANKS). I was in the middle of the people, and I realized that this was just NOT a good thing. I’m not confident enough. So at the first light I had everyone pass me. The route wound around and under the highway, then out and up Paradise going past Nordstrom’s (e.g., the fairly flat way).

Once we passed the Highway Patrol area and the shopping center back there (can’t remember the name) I was BY FAR the last. In fact, there was the pack, then Patty (the gal who was in front of me), then about a mile (well, not really but definitely far…I would see her if there were LONG straightaways), then me. I didn’t see the pack for most of the ride. I didn’t even see PATTY for at least the last 1/2.

I had some serious gremlins going. “Why am I doing this,” “I hate to be the worst one,” “I’m too old for this,” “I should really not be doing this,” you know, THOSE gremlins. I got down to Tiburon, where the rest of the gang were waiting, and just basically took a sip of water and we were off again. I didn’t feel tired – though at one point, again, my BPM was up at 180 which really is beyond too fast. I had to laugh because of course Stu Mittleman says on our coaching calls that you want to be pretty “easy” as you’re exercising, not really breathing hard, etc., and I think I was scaring wildlife with my steam locomotive panting. Ah well, no stroke yet.

We went down through Tiburon and then onto the bike path and back to Paradise. That one hill coming up Trestle Glen from the light was a total killer. My lord. I was in my easiest gear (I think that means “lowest”), blowing like a freight train, and just baaaaarely moving up the grade. And, my friends, this is NOT a steep grade. Seriously. It was nice though because the ride leader, Les, actually waited at about 2/3 of the way up the grade (there’s a stop sign), and was there to cheer me on, which felt a little bad (man, I really hate making people wait) and a lot good (thank goodness he’s here I don’t have to have Flat Anxiety any more). He actually rode with Patty and me on the way back, and we were pretty much a 3some so I’m pretty sure they just slowed WAY WAY DOWN so that I wasn’t left in the dust. Again, I felt bad (man, I really REALLY hate making people wait), but a lot good, and a little helpful (I did play a good “tail” and get drivers to let us into traffic so we could turn left, stuff like that. I remember that from triathlon training back when dinosaurs walked the Earth).

We got back somewhere around 11:20, so the ride took about 2 hours. And yeah, I am SERIOUSLY sore. My hands also (especially my left) went completely numb – it’s got to be the way you hold the handlebars closes off the flow in the carpal tunnel area.

I was REALLY glad that I finished, and really REALLY glad to be part of a mini-pack on the ride back. Everyone else probably did the ride in about an hour – if you take the time they had to wait for me in Tiburon, and then the time differential between when we got done and when they had gotten done at the end. Everyone was super nice to me, especially Patty, who I think really slowed down to at least keep something of an eye on me.

So, that’s done! Tomorrow – a swimming and running day, with coaches. At 0-dark-00, far, far away! I am carpooling a couple gals though, so I feel at least that I’m not taking the big van over for just me.

Bento Box. Who knew?

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