Last weekend I decided to take the bike off of the indoor trainer and out for a quick 10 mile spin. I am not a cyclist, but I maintain a average speed of about 18mph on most of my rides. That's quite a bit faster than my legs will carry me.
I decided to go out again the next day for a 24 mile bike ride instead of my planned 8 mile run. It was difficult by the time I hit 15 miles. I pushed hard and turned it into a decent workout. My legs were a bit wobbly, my triceps were toast from holding up my body weight, and I only drank 1/3 of the water bottle I brought along.
The traffic was tough. The drivers were selfish and rarely considered the plight of the naked biker. Naked in the sense that bikers are out there in the open with a 30 pound aluminum frame between them and all of the 6,000 pound vehicles moving by them at 50 mph. Please be considerate if you see a cyclist out on the roads.
I wasn't sure how the biking would translate into my running. I found out yesterday when I attempted a 6 mile tempo run. My quads were shredded and my calves were spent. I managed a nice chi-style shuffle for 6 miles at 8 minute pace. So, I would say that cycling definitely qualifies a cross-training. If nothing else it provides some explosive strength conditioning.
I think I'll continue to work in a nice ride every week. It was fun to do something different, and I'm hoping that strength conditioning will pay off in future races.