Archive for February 2012
While in town for Fee’s mum’s 60th (happy birthday Una, if you’re reading), I took advantage of a local charity ride. A nice little 90k jaunt out into the foothills on a route I’ve done before. I didn’t know what to expect, but good recovery off the back of the Odyssey and the small-town-non-race status had me feeling just fine about hanging with the guys in local club kit.
The first 40 or so km ticked by awfully slowly. I rolled easy turns up front with a couple of guys from Cobram at 30-32km for the first ten, chatting about whether we’d get wet and then peeling off. The first thing I noticed was that the peel off was weird and awkward. I rolled right and dropped back, while the guy on my left shot up the road a few meters and waved the bunch through on his right. This pattern repeated for a few turns, and each time the bunch slowed to pace of the riders rolling through. At one point we were barely doing 23km/h and then one of the local legend vets shot way up the road. Sick of the snail’s pace, I jumped onto his wheel, sucked for a minute or two and then got out in the wind. When I looked over my shoulder the whole bunch was on. Fine.
The road gained some elevation as we approached the turn-around point. A crest in the road revealed the beginnings of the foothills of the Victorian Alps peeking out over valleys full of resting cloud. The air was mild and heavy and it began to rain. It began to rain hard as we turned 180 degrees and took off down the hill. At car-speed the rain drops were like stinging ball bearings against the skin and I could see fuck all of nothing up the road, hugging the white lines on the corners until an ambulance in full lights came flying around the corner, missing the two guys ahead of me by a nervous margin.
We regrouped back in the valley as a selection of those who were confident enough to bomb the hill in the rain. The tension in the group cycled from tight to slack and back again. Several times a rider in Green Edge kit or the guy on the TT bike would jettison himself up the road and be recaptured. We breached two small climbs that felt much harder than they should have. Each crest denoted a smaller selection of riders to share the down hill that followed, so I took it I wasn’t the only one hurting, and this is how it went.
With maybe 10 or 15 km of flat road to bring us home, another out-of-towner (Lynsky, team kit) and I worked together to try to keep some impetus in the group with varying degrees of success. Green Edge Guy jumped long and hard. Finally, my fellow impostor took the initiative to peel off to the tail of the group and encourage each rider to help get some real turns rolling. I was unsure they’d ever ridden a rotating pace line in their lives, but a few words was all it took. Within the minute we were a smoothly rotating chain, 55km/h on the display. I know because my nose was against it the whole time I was in the wind.
I hoped we’d recapture Green Edge Guy, but he was strong indeed. I gunned hard for what I thought would be the line — the city limit sign — and promptly blew when the bunch held tempo all the way into town. I finished with the group but worked to do so. By the end of it it’d been a great little ride.
One down side: the efforts have re-awakened my right hip flexor issue. It’s tender as hell to touch and I’ll take the opportunity presented by the forthcoming wet week to spend some time off the bike.
2 x 20 Push-ups
2 x 10 KB Press e.s. @ 16kg KB
Heh. I remember I used to be able to do a set of 20 of those.
Felt fine in the morning, just the usual post-epic fatigue and – tellingly – some soreness in the muscles, but as the day progressed I felt not-so-good. A little ill. A little nauseous. And then, around 3:00 the need to sleep now.
I caught a cab home and fell into bed around 3:40. Slept until 9:30pm, got up and ate, went back to bed and slept until 7:30 the next morning.
Strava: 96.3km, 2,883m, 6:51:15
260th overall (/806)
175th in category (open men, /466)
Stay tuned for words…
Pretty much zippo in the way of structured training but I’m on the bike at least an hour every day thanks to the commute. Work is challenging in a hundred great and sometimes mildly frightening ways. I come home physically tired from thinking, talking, meeting, coaching, conversing, coercing, encouraging, exciting, negotiating, listening, flitting, figuring and refiguring. It’s a blast, but I’ll be happy with the Odyssey behind me. I could do with a chance to regroup.
Claire has reached the stage where she misses me if I’m not there in the morning. Fee is at the stage of pregnancy where she’s exhausted by the time I get home. Riding feels selfish. Especially with such beautiful girls at home.
With less than a week to go, what can you do? Short, fast brutalisations. We went down to SKCC and my only intention was to attack hard in the last three laps, go too early and just burn and burn and burn. Blow up. Die. Crack and keep it floored all the way over the edge and into the abyss.
With ten to go I got to the pointy end where a small group looked to be intent on reeling back a solo rider off the front. When I came to the head of the bridging group I felt the impetus fall away, open air at my flank. In the wind alone. Fuck. Fuck it. I decided then and there to die and put two full legs worth of tension onto the chain until I caught the lead rider. I was huffing hard when I made his draft and saw he was too so I pulled through with a pat on his back that I hoped would say ‘Jump on my wheel’ so that we could try to stay away a little longer.
A lap later we were swamped. I motored to stay with the bunch. Big, deep, diaphragm breaths and Neil beside me in the marshal’s vest telling me to get on the wheel of the guy in Total Rush kit who was moving to the front with five and three to go. And here we go again. Hard, hard, hard. No air and no legs at the front of the bee swarm. Held until one to go and then all the will in the world just to stay on the drops and not sit up.
I rolled through the line, around turn one and pulled into an alley way. Bike to the wall, back to the floor and the backs of my gloves against my eyes, gasping. Rolling just to spit and trying not to spew.
It’s been a wet weekend, with more expected from above. Next weekend looks very likely to suck really hard with mud. Goodbye sub seven hour goal. Hello just-make-it-to-the-finish.
Wait, I guess that means not in the cave by very definition.
Regardless, on the trainer:
3 x 10min : 3min with the work done at or about LTHR.
There’s the kicker. It’s at or about. Below feels pretty easy for 10 min, above is HARD, but I’m not sure that’s the point. With muchos thanks to Neil gifting me a spanking new training wheel I now have two less excuses not to hit up the trainer. The first is the skewer change. The second is burning quality rubber against a steel drum. Believe it or not, they’re about equal psychic weight.
There’s barely a week left to go, so the next session or two will be have to meet the criteria of either short and hard, or long and involving dirt.