Sunday, February 14, 2010

Ouch, this is going to hurt

Let me start by saying that yesterday’s ride kicked my ass.  It was a combination of monster climbs, big pace lines, and a little too much testosterone that got to me.

wild flour group Yesterday, 15 of us headed out from Freestone for a 60 mile ride that started at the Wild Flour Bakery.  The plan was to ride part of the Grasshopper Adventure Series road course. Next Saturday is a road race from this series and I have few friends who will be riding and wanted to scope it out.

While this ride was not particularly long by our standards it was by no means going to be easy.  You see, we would be climbing the strong side of the Marshall Wall.  If you don’t cycle, let me just say that the slang “wall” simply stands for one long, steep, bad-ass hill climb.  For a glimpse into our day, here is the profile of our route.  The Marshall Wall is the section that goes straight up at mile 20.

Wall As we start rolling, I immediately get the impression this will not be the moderate pace ride as described.  There are just too many people who can hammer the pedals.  Still, as we head off at a brisk pace, I am feeling very strong and relaxed.  At this point I’m thinking it’s going to be a good day.

We hit the first little climb, which is short but steep.  I go over 4th or 5th which is a little unusual.  As we head for the coast, we start our second climb and things changed.  I was not feeling good at all.  My stomach was getting upset and I started to overheat.  I backed way of the pace, dropped of the back and tried to recover.

I stayed this way all the way to the town of Tomales.  A couple of folks starting asking how I was doing because they could tell I wasn’t quite myself.  Out of Tomales, we followed Tomales Bay until we turned onto the Wall.   The pace was very brisk on the road to the Wall so once again I hung back and did my own thing.

Actually, that’s not entirely true.  I was riding with Carmen who was being very disciplined with her training.  Her coach wanted her to stay at L2 for the entire ride.  So between her discipline and my stomach we managed to hang together and just chat away.

The climb up the Wall actually went very well.  Carmen and I dropped to our lowest gears and just spun our way to the top.  Surprisingly, the more I climbed the better I felt.  We bombed down the descent and once again the lead pack takes off and this time I purposely choose to let them go.

Finally, we finish the major climbs and start back towards the bakery.  There were 4 riders off the front so some of us went after them.  As we caught them I stayed at the same speed and simply went around them.  Now the race was on as the group started to chase me down.

Honestly, my intent was to start a nice pace line.  Instead I inadvertently instigated a series of attacks.  There was some hard riding as people attacked and others tried to grab wheels.  After a couple of miles I looked down and we were doing 29 mph.  That’s when my lights went out.  So I sat up, watched them ride away, and waited for Carmen, who was still sticking to her plan.

scone Carmen and I basically rode the rest of the way back to the bakery together.  The true hammerheads had quit regrouping and the rest of the riders where going further. Although tired, the vision of freshly baked scones kept us going.

Everyone made it back to the bakery where we enjoyed scones, coffee and laughs.  I think my stomach problem resulted from too much effort up the first climb and once I recovered I was fine although, some of my fellow cyclist didn’t buy that excuse and suggested I should be tested for doping.

How do I feel today.  I actually feel great.  I was going to go out for a 2-hour recovery ride but it is all wet and foggy so I decided not to.  Besides, Sherry made french toast and that’s all the recovery I need.


PS – Thanks to Carmen for the photos.

1 Comment(s):

amy said...

Great ride yesterday!! Always enjoy riding with you!