Monday, May 24, 2010


Right now my cycling friends who read this blog are letting out a collective groan.  Why?  They know what this word means in our world.  They also know the feeling associated with it because each of us have been there at least once, but probably more, during our cycling adventures.

Toast is cycling vernacular for riding yourself to exhaustion on a ride that was harder, longer, or faster then you expected.  It’s that feeling at the end of the ride (hopefully it’s at the end) where even the slightest breeze feels like a brutal head wind, freeway overpasses feel like King-of-the-Mountain climbs, and you can’t decide between reaching for a Gu or reaching for your cell phone.  It’s at these moments you are almost pleading with the cycling Gods for someone to get a flat, although preferably not you.

In case you haven’t already figured this out, I was toast after my rides from this weekend. 

On Saturday, I went out with four other riders from Team Revolution.  We were leaving from Cotati where the B ride was planning a 42 mile ride and the A folks were going 50.  I always face a dilemma on these rides.  I want to go the A distance but I cannot maintain an A pace.  In this case, it was perfect since Cotati is 10 miles from the house.  I would simply ride to and from the start for extra miles.

The ride itself was uneventful.  I was riding some roads I haven’t been on in a while and was really enjoying the scenery, the company and just being on the bike.  However,  there was a strong wind building up.  As you can see from the profile, there were not any major climbs but we were constantly going up and down.

Chileno Valley Elev

As we were coming back to Cotati I was starting to get that toasted feeling as a result of the terrain and wind.  Finally, we only had about a mile to go and I was feeling good.  That didn’t last because I suddenly remembered I rode to Cotati.  Damn!  This means I still have 10 miles to go directly into a head wind.  Needless to say, I was very much toast by the time I rolled into the drive way.

I should have bailed on Sunday’s ride.  Instead, I decided to head out with three close friends on their L2 recovery ride.  Although the pace was going to be slow, we were aiming for 50 miles and climbing Sonoma Mountain.  Initially, my legs were mush on every little hill we crossed but I was actually feeling very good by the time we reached the big climb. 

That’s where it fell apart.  I almost stopped two different times on the climb because I was loosing the strength, and will, to continue.  Finally, it was up and over and I discovered that being toast didn’t impact my descending mojo as I flew down the hill.  After one more small climb, we headed for home against another head wind where the team basically had to pull my tired ass all the way back with the promise of coffee from the Flying Goat.

These rides were tough but they should not have been that tough.  This meant it was time for a little perspective and I discovered two things.   The first was that  I am slipping into weekend warrior mode where I don’t do a thing during the week and then hammer on the weekends.  I am also not very good at assessing my current form.  I have a bad habit of comparing myself to where I should be in May and not recognizing this is an off year.

The solution?  It’s time to regroup.  I am now staying completely off the bike to recover until June 1st.  Then I will relaunch the 2010 season by dutifullyfollowing Coach Tim’s plan to get me ready for Levi Leipheimer’s Gran Fondo in October. 

This means I will not be riding over the Memorial Day weekend and will get to enjoy three days of sleeping in and relaxing.  Sherry is quite excited about this.  My reward for being smart and not continuing to push myself.  The recovery will help my riding and Sherry has already promised to make french toast.


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