As avid east coast mark readers know, I'm training for my third marathon in October - about four and a half months from today. This year, we're shooting for an aggressive 4 hours and 30 minutes, which would shave about 27 minutes off our 2008 finishing time.
To help build up some supporting muscles and endurance, this summer I thought I'd start biking. A few years back, I worked with a girl who was a runner, and she told me that when she started biking - she saw huge gains in her running performance. I think they call that cross-training, for those of you scoring at home.
I figure it's probably been a good 14 years since I've had a bicycle, so my most 'recent' biking experiences were riding up to the batting cages when I was an early teenager. While it's true that you never really forget how to ride a bike; walking into that bike store - I realized I didn't really have much of a clue about what sorts of questions I should be asking, or what makes one bike better than another. I can differentiate a racing road bike from a mountain bike, but as for picking out the perfect bike for me when faced with a lineup of 100 bikes - I was a bit in the dark.
After making the rounds to 4 different bike stores, and taking 10 different test rides through various parking lots - I finally selected a Trek 6000 Mountain Bike. Most of the riding I plan to do will be on trails along the river, so I didn't really need a sleek rode bike ala the Tour de France. I might also do some triathlons one of these years, so I wanted something of fairly high quality that would hold up for the long run.
I also picked up a bike rack for my car so I can go exploring, and I'm hoping to take some loops around Central Park and maybe do some trail riding in the Poconos this summer.
Lastly, for everyone's sake, I've held off on any skin tight biker shorts. For now.