I've been a runner longer than I've been a bicyclist and on January 16 the Planner Guy and I headed down to Phoenix to participate in the PF Chang's Rock and Roll Half Marathon/Marathon. I ran the half and Bob did the full marathon. It was a big deal for me because I haven't registered for a race in over 2 years due to a slow and cautious recovery from a herniated disk, an experience I don't recommend for anyone. To my surprise, I was able to complete the race in 2:35:25; though certainly no PR, I ran much better than I expected since most of my training since Thanksgiving has been cross country skiing. Regardless, because I've been running at much higher elevation I never felt out of breath. As I always say, the hardest run at low elevation is easier than the easiest run at 7000 feet. In other words, there really aren't any easy runs in Flagstaff.
Bob and I had other plans. We packed our bikes in the Element for our trip so that we could pedal around Tempe a bit after the race before stopping for lunch at a Mill Avenue restaurant. Tempe is pretty well equipped with bike lanes but certainly remains well contaminated by cars - large ones, actually. Most of the cyclists that we saw were pedaling on the sidewalks rather than in the bike lanes or on the road.
|My first bib in two years!|
|Bob with bagel pre-race.|
|Sore feet need a pedicab post race.|
And a few other pedicabs and their passengers, now enjoying spring-like weather in January. One way to truly feel the wind through your hair.
Bob and I collected our bikes from the rear of the Element. Seems stupid to load your bike in a car to go pedal someplace else, I know. We stayed at my cousin's house in Glendale and had hoped to just take light rail from the station near her place to the finish line and then bus it to the start, but the station was closed for the morning due to the race but this was the best could do. And pedal we did, through Arizona State University campus and back around to Mill Avenue, where we stopped for lunch at My Big Fat Greek Restaurant. It was our second time eating there and the food is great. If you ever visit Tempe, give it a try. Their hummus is the best I've ever had.
We locked up on the fence separating the alfresco dining from the sidewalk. We took an empty table on the opposite side of our bikes and sat down just in time to see a couple stop to admire the Dahon. I smiled inwardly, resisting the temptation to interrupt as the guy explained to his girlfriend how the folding hinge worked.
|Me, holding my badge of honor.|