Monday, February 12, 2007

California - Day Six - Chilling Out

I started out today dressed at the edge of what was acceptable - a long sleeve and short sleeve jersey, fleece knickers, and a cap and short gloves. Temperature? Mid 50's, climbing to 60 or so in the sun. I do booties under 50 degrees and tights under 45 or 40 (training or racing, respectively). Up top though I dress pretty heavily. Under 50 and I'm usually wearing a jacket. With the sun hiding most of the time I was debating jacket or LS jersey and went with the jersey.

I felt a little chill a mile or two out, even after doing a short climb. I thought about turning back to get more gear but decided against it. I thought I'd rue this decision as I felt exactly like I did the weekend before I went to Florida. On that day I had returned home exhausted and chilled to the bone.

Two hours later, still less than perfectly warm, I had my wind vest on and knew my chilly premonition had been correct. I contemplated the clouds hiding the hills in front of me. A status check (how I was feeling), a thought to the upcoming week's schedule, and with the knowledge there will be at least two 70+ degree weekdays ahead, I slowed and turned around.

It's important to know when to chill out on a ride, so to speak. My goal was to do a Palomar assault today, but when I realized it wasn't realistic, I cut my losses and turned around. This way I'll have the legs and energy to go on tomorrow.

If I had pushed, I would have exhausted myself, possibly gotten sick (since I was cold), and would have sacrificed an attempt for at least tomorrow if not for two days or more. I fear two things when riding - being cold (which usually leads to bonking) and having an unexpected mechanical.

If I hadn't been cold and there were no clouds shrouding the hills ahead of me, I probably would have gone. Likewise, if this attempt was my last hard day of the trip, I would have pushed, tried to eat enough to fuel my lack of gear, and relied on recovering back at home. It's important to think about these things and balance available training time versus available recovery time.

There were a lot of karma type things on the ride which seemed to indicate the assault should be postponed. First, on the way out, I passed a (dead) retriever that looked like it had been hit by a car. It was laying on its side near some horses (who seemed a bit agitated), its blue bandana tied carefully around its neck. It's obvious someone will be very upset when they see the dog.

Almost immediately after turning around, I saw either a coyote or a dog, also hit (and dead) and laying in a ditch just next to the road. This creature was didn't have any distinguishing accessories and didn't look at all damaged. The only hint something was wrong was where it lay.

I was thinking about this second dog when psssshtt my rear tire flatted. I'd run over some glass but I couldn't believe I flatted so easily. The first thing I did, knowing I only had one tube, was to hold my glove on my front tire - I had to protect it so it wouldn't flat. 10 seconds of hand rubbing and I was out of the glass.

I pulled over the changed the tube. This went smoothly but I had a long-valve tube so I'll change it for a short valve tube. And carry at least two tubes for my next assault.

Okay, three tubes.

The one shining moment was when I started to descend Deer Spring Road and came upon a truck pulling away from a just-turned-green light. I did a minor jump to pass the cars behind it and tucked into the draft behind the truck. He accelerated but had to control his speed on the long descent. I alternated braking and pedaling to stay behind him, poking my head out to check out upcoming road conditions. I didn't want to hit a pothole or ride off the shoulder at 45 mph. When the road flattened out, I did an effort to stay with him, accelerating quite aggressively as he did the same. Max speed, 51.8 mph, 137 rpms in a 53x11, and that was on the flat.

With the help of that little interlude, I managed to ride home relatively quickly and without pushing my body.

Tomorrow I'll have to leave a bit earlier and dress a lot more conservatively. It may seem like overkill down here in the sunny warmth but up by Palomar a windproof jacket may be necessary. I'll take that approach tomorrow and see how it goes.

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