Friday, February 08, 2008

California - Day Eight - Sprints

Last night I fell asleep tired and content. I was still recovering from my Palomar attack, and my "easy" day still left me dealing with some leftover fatigue. I had a nice talk with the missus, talked about training, life, the kitties. I guess it takes me a week to really start missing home. I never really missed it before so that's a good sign that I miss it now.

This morning I woke up a bit tired. I rolled over in bed. Something didn't seem quite right. Then I realized.

It was quiet.

My erstwhile roommate, a 2 year old boy, was already out of his bed. Crib. That thing. So I was alone in the room, sun trying to get in through the shades, murmurs of family life audible from downstairs.

I went to the bathroom and took my temperature. I started doing this regularly when I got sick earlier in the year. I'd been whining endlessly about my "fever", chills, and stumbled around dressed like I was about to go outside, drinking hot tea, and generally driving the missus crazy. Finally she and I went to a walk-in clinic and I was told that, essentially, I was hallucinating as far as my fever was concerned. The doctor measured me and told me I was "normal" at 99.5 degrees (or thereabouts).

So I told the missus I really wanted a thermometer. We went and got one and sure enough, I was at something like 99.5 degrees. Wtf?

What I found out as I got better is my normal body temperature is more like 96.9 to 97.4 degrees. So this year I did have a fever since my temperature was 2 degrees higher than normal. I highly, highly recommend a thermometer for normal, everyday monitoring purposes. 10 seconds and you'll have an idea if things are normal or not.

Anyway, I took my temperature as normal and it was 97.1 degrees.


After brushing my teeth and peering at my face in the mirror, I staggered downstairs, my legs pleasantly fatigued. For the first time on this trip they felt swollen, aching to push the pedals. I guess that's what easy days do - they make the legs feel ready to work again. I can tell when my legs feel sort of good because the muscles wobble (in a good way) when I walk.

I surveyed the fridge and finished off a few things that have been there for more than a day or two. This meant various containers of tortellini, Italian sausage sauce, shells and cheese, and a couple pilfered pieces of ham steak. Had a protein shake. Drank a lot of water. Coffee. Yogurt. More water. A typical breakfast while training hard.

My temporary roommate kept offering me grapes, one at a time (that's literally a handful for a 2 year old), so I had perhaps 5 of those.

I had some inspiration and worked on my project for almost three hours straight. Felt really good.

The temps pushed into the mid 70s so I started getting antsy about getting out there and riding. I started getting hungry but decided I should ride instead of eating for another hour or two. I figured that I could drink some of my Enervit drink and suck down some gel or what I've seen called the "crack pack", an appropriately named Enervit fluid glucose thing that really is quite addictive.

I headed out, my goal to get a bunch of sprints in my legs. I rode to the PCH but found the sea breeze chilling. I rode for a bit but realized that my chills made sprinting somewhat out of the question, so turned around after an hour to return to the 10-15 degree warmer "inland" climate - you know, like a mile away from the ocean.

I tried to do a couple one minute efforts, even going to the extent that I set a timer on my watch. Each time though I blew after 30 odd seconds, so I decided I'd leave the one minute efforts for another day. I could do about 600-730 watts for 30 seconds but I have no idea what I'd be able to put out for 60 seconds.

After recovering a bit, demoralized, I headed towards my happy hunting grounds. Wider roads, strategically located lights, essentially flat, and good sight lines. I felt like a street walker, waiting for vehicles to pass me, needing everything to be right. Not too fast, not too small, road can't been too uphill, etc., etc., etc.

Finally a perfect vehicle - I approached an intersection as the light turned green, a school bus in the right lane. As it started to roll away, I jumped super hard, shifted, kept going, shifted again. I never actually caught the bus but the carrot was enough to motivate me.

I turned around, repeated the sprint but this time simply chasing cars. Both times I reached about the same terminal velocity, a disappointing 40-41 mph, an even more disappointing sub-1400 watt sprint (I never broke 1400 today).

A little perturbed, I rode to the Bethel like hill. Longer, straighter, and preceded by a downhill, I could hit the bottom of the hill at about 27-30 mph, a perfect pretend leadout speed for an uphill sprint.

I did this sprint twice too, going as hard as I could up the slight grade (3 or 4%), both times in a 53x14, turning the gear nicely. 33 mph, but I had no comparison for whether this was good or not. Beats the 12-15 mph, the speed I normally climb this hill.

Ultimately, although I felt pretty good on the bike, my "feeling" and my speed didn't really match. I felt a lot faster than I actually was, but, I need to remember, it's February. And although Boonen and company are already spanking the Pro peloton at this early time, apparently my legs are not just there yet.

Tomorrow is the Tour de Palm Springs, a 55 mile fun ride. We'll be leaving at "o'dark hundred" and returning late. The upside? It's supposed to be 80 degrees there. And there are food and rest stops.

I hope they have a lot of food.

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