Monday, February 08, 2010

A Hard Ride

Saturday's long ride was postponed to Sunday this past weekend, due to Mother Nature bringing in more rain. The forecast stayed pretty consistent throughout the week for Sunday which was a chance of a few showers in the morning, and turning partly cloudy in the afternoon. I was banking (hoping!) on Sunday being decent to ride in.

When I first received my workout, I thought it could be achievable by most means. I knew it was gonna be a hard day, so I asked my buddy James to join me for a little jaunt around the whale's vagina. The long ride called for "A hilly 5.5 hour ride, keeping the HR around 150-155".

But what really happened was a 6 hour ride, with an average HR of 135.

"Sandbagger!" you say. "Jaunt around the whale's vagina? Looks like a measly PCH spin. I thought you're training for a hilly Ironman. Yawn".

"Negative Ghost Rider" is my response.

The numbers lie!

The weather was far from normal San Diego day on Sunday. It was about 55 degrees, with some damp roads, all cloud cover, and a bit of wind. About 90 minutes in, James mentioned "It looks like there is some weather up ahead." Sure enough, we hit some rain around Lake Wohlford. While this would scare some, James is no stranger to getting dirty with CX and Xterra racing, and me - well, any time I train in the rain, it brings back memories from IMLP. Not made of sugar, I tend not to melt in such weather.

I had a minor mechanical malfunction on my rig which proved mildly frustrating, and James and I ended up getting separated (I can't wait for his recap, getting chased by dogs on multiple occasions), and I eventually started making my way back west. I ended up back in elfin forest, where I was greeted with some of the gnarliest head winds I have experienced. I noticed that my HR was hovering in the low 140's - hardly what it "should" be. I would then surge to 260 - 300+W, with a 1, maybe 2bpm increase on the HR. "Ow, No Thanks", is what I thought when trying to hold these surges for minutes on end.

By the time I got into San Elijo, a quick mental calculation had me arriving back home in under 5.5 hours. So, I did what any abnormal cyclist would do 4.5 hours into the ride - I climbed the south side of San Elijo hill with the full intent of going down the other side, and climbing back over - just to get in some more hills.

Back to the HR thing - even climbing the north side San Elijo hill, which is about a mile long @ 9% grade - 150HR was untouchable. I could grit my teeth all I wanted, but the suck still sucked. At this point, I was hungry, cranky, cold, fatigued and irritable.

I eventually made my way back to the PCH so I could get home. As I neared home, I noticed that it was gonna be a 6 hour, 100 mile day. "Sweet!" I thought. Yes, I ended up feeling pretty good about the numbers, but really, the numbers meant far less to me than the mental side of things.

Today's ride was way more about mental training, than physical. The weather sucked. The fatigue sucked. The hunger sucked. Training for an early season Ironman sucks.

But, 100 miles in those conditions? Hell Yeah!

Knowing that others were bagging their bike rides completely for the weekend? Chumps!

Knowing that some are grinding away on the trainer. No thanks!

All that stuff is great for bragging, but really it was the numerous mental hurdles that I passed along the way, which made the ride worth every second. It was the teeth gritting, the suck, the cold, the wind - everything - and I rode right past it all.

Train the body, and train the mind.

ps- ok, this is pretty funny. If you know me, you know I am kinda cavemanish. and I don't lie when I say I wanted to beat my chest after I got home.


Tawnee said...

Duuude. Awesome story, thanks for sharing. I can't wait to see St. George go down.

Why was it sooo cold on Sunday?! For once, I enjoyed torturous (heat-producing) hill climbs vs speedy (cold) downhills.

Toby Guillette said...

"Not made of sugar, I tend not to melt in such weather." Classic.

Way to make us trainer riders look like weak sauce.

Can't wait to hear about the dog chase from James haha

Chuckie V said...