Friday, September 01, 2006

Jelly Legs

Perfect weather for bicycling. The traffic on the Lakefront Path was much lighter than I'd expected. I guess all the bikers, runners, walkers and bladers got out of town early or something. Just as well, I blew out my quadriceps on the first leg of my ride.

An article I read yesterday reinforced the notion that it is more efficient to pedal in a circular motion vice pushing down on the pedals. I've known that for years but I figured on today's ride home from work I'd concentrate on doing just that. I was biking east on Roosevelt Road toward Grant Park making sure to pull up on the pedals along with the pushing down; doing my best to pedal in that circular motion. In short, by the time I got to the Lakefront Trail, my legs were tingling like I had just climbed forty flights of stairs. I had either botched the entire technique, just tried too hard or, more likely, done both. I had another case of Jelly Legs.

I suffered my first bout of Jelly Legs in Boston about ten years ago. My wife Christine and I were visiting my cousins Kateri and Jeannie and walking around Bunker Hill. Kateri said she had a little contest going among all her visitors to see who could get to the top of the Bunker Hill Monument fastest. I was game so I shot up the zillion steps while Kateri waited below. Huffing and puffing as I reached the top I tried to be nonchalant. A family of four were there enjoying the view and I didn't want to look like a total goof slapping the wall and running back down. So after walking around a bit while trying not to breathe too hard I scooted back down the stairs. On my way down I passed Christine and Jeannie making a saner ascent. After reaching ground level I croaked, "What's my time!" All Kateri could do was bend over laughing. I'd been had.

For the rest of the day I could barely walk. At one point I was sitting on a park bench shouting "I've got jelly legs! JELLY LEGS!" just as a runner strided by in short shorts. He jerked his head in my direction obviously thinking I was talking about him. The guy was probably thinking "Jelly legs?! I've run in fifty Boston Marathons!"

Meanwhile, back on my ride, by North Avenue I'd recovered a bit. Drinking my putrid Accelerade also got me moving well again. Near Foster Avenue Beach I took a break to watch a Chicago Police Boat tow a foundering catamaran out of the surf.

Distance Traveled: 24.2 miles
Distance to date: 341.8 miles
Price of gas: $3.16

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