Thursday, February 03, 2011

California - Day 10

This morning my host asked me if I felt like riding up to his office and joining him for a lunch time ride. I briefly debated it until I Googled the route - 45 miles each way if I took an unknown route for the first 15 miles, 46.5 miles if I used roads I knew well.

Either way I'd be looking at unknown roads once out there and a round trip, without a lunchtime ride, of about 90 miles.

I also knew that 45 miles right now would take me most of three hours to cover, and seeing as it was about, oh, 9:30 AM, that would make me...


I debated a bit internally, my throat piping up that it wasn't feeling too great, when I got an offer of a much closer lunch time ride.

I accepted this more realistic offer and headed out.

First I had to adjust my front derailleur - it dumped my chain yesterday so I had to dial back the tune. I had it throwing the chain off the big ring, relying on the chainguard to keep it out of the bottom bracket, but the chain blew right past the guard.

I got it so it doesn't toss the chain quite so far, readjusted the guard, and tightened everything up.

I also had to trouble shoot the SRM wiring harness. When I tossed the chain I lost power and cadence, both picked up from the SRM spider. The mount looked okay but then I remembered that the wiring, a bit battle damaged, needed some finessing to read properly.

Some finessing later I had power once again.

I checked my watch - about seven minutes to go time.

I suited up in my CamelBak jersey thing, the bladder filled (halfway) with water. I had to try this before I raced and this would be as good a time as any.

I quickly learned that the jersey is a concoction of solutions. I kept noticing little things, tabs, grippers, things in weird places. Even the zipper is bizarre - it has a half zip down and another half zip up, with a band of cloth around your lower chest that cannot be violated.

I struggled to get into the jersey (made of a very heavy lycra) but managed okay once I unzipped the lower half zip. I saw some tab sewn into the collar - handy for straightening out said collar. The jersey didn't ride up my back, even though the bladder pulled on it. So that's why that gripper is back there.

My size L vest fit over the whole assemble, camouflaging it a bit. A close observer would see the lump on my back but otherwise... it looked pretty good.

Properly kitted up I checked the time.


I texted "Rolling out" and rolled out.

15 minutes later I rolled up to the parking lot. Joined by two companions we set off for a loop out to the ocean and back.

We climbed up some interesting roads hidden off of the main drags (the ones I ride on) and headed back on one of my main drag roads. A flat interrupted everything briefly, but since I had three (!) tubes, I happily gave one out.

After about 75 minutes of riding (and the 15 minutes it took for me to ride to them), I left the two back at their office and headed out again, a bit hesitant, for another couple hours on the road.

I hesitated because I didn't feel great. I realized my legs loaded up as soon I started to work. It felt like I hadn't been eating enough, or that I had lactic acid just waiting to flood my legs.

I thought about the fact that I hadn't been hydrating much, and that I had to focus on that a bit more.

I also need to dress a bit better. 59 degrees and I had two short sleeve jerseys, a vest, and shorts. I felt a bit chilly when I started, and I kind of blame myself for this. I have limited kit and didn't bring a lot of old kit because I didn't want to wear "expired" kits. But if I had, say, the really nice thick Verge long sleeve jersey, even if it had other colors on it, I could just wear my team long sleeve jersey on top of it. I regret not bringing it.

I also regret not bringing more knickers. Again, not a team kit thing, but a great piece of equipment. I only brought one pair and it's tough to do laundry every day (more because I feel bad using all the resources), so I saved them for things like the Camp Pendleton ride.

Jackets... I don't have a jacket, and my default action of "throw on a jacket and a base layer if it's kind of cold" doesn't work if I don't have a jacket.

My vests are a bit large so they flap around a bit. A lot. I can thank my weight loss for that but it is kind of a pain because, frankly, the pockets in them are totally useless. They're the original kit manufacturer vests and the pockets have some super-secret hideaway feature - when you have gloves on and you have your vest on top of a jersey with stuff in the jersey pockets, the vest pockets simply disappear. I can't get anything into them or out of them.

Makes answering the phone kind of difficult, I have to tell you. Since most of the calls are the spam ones about "have bad credit?" I don't have my hands-free set to auto-answer.

So... I've been making do with some short sleeve jerseys, the vests with invisible pockets, and a single long sleeve jersey. I have a couple long sleeve base layers from about 1992 (literally) and although a bit scraggly, I got them when I was at a lighter weight and so they fit reasonably well.

I made it through the lunchtime ride okay and headed back out for another couple hours of moderate effort punctuated by, hopefully, some spontaneous and inspired riding.

I really wanted some inspired riding.

In many (all?) of the past SoCal trips, I've been on days where I leave it in the 53x14, sit up a bit on the tops, and just hammer away, pounding out a rhythm for an hour or two at a time. On one of my better trips I did that from just north of Torrey Pines all the way back to Carlsbad, my legs responding every time I asked them (however doubtfully) for some power.

On this trip I haven't been able to go more than, oh, a few minutes.

Or less.

I'd start climbing one of the many couple-minute climbs that pepper the landscape, expecting to roll all the way to the top. Instead, halfway up (if I'm lucky), my body sags, the will evaporates, and I struggle in some pitiful gear at some pitiful cadence to the top.

I'd been talking about doing three Palomar attacks, but with these legs... I struggle to do 45 miles in three hours, so to do the 80 miles round trip to the base of the climb (without even doing the climb), well, Palomar seems a hazy and distant vision.

Since I do a kind of seat-of-the-pants training schedule, and my pants have been telling me no Palomar (yet), I've skipped the Palomar thing.

I thought about all this while I rode down and up the PCH. Hydrate. Eat more carbs. Rest more. Stay warm.

At some point in this self-analysis process, I heard voices behind me. They were talking about something, a school or something. I didn't turn and look because, frankly, I lacked the energy to say hi. Well to think about saying hi.

A few minutes later the two rolled by me. Small ring. Casual. Easy.

Two guys spinning along, casually, but faster than me.

They rode away from me.

Then, shortly after they rode by, I heard the wail of a TIE Fighter (can you tell there's a young boy at the host house that loves Star Wars and Clone Wars?).

Not a TIE Fighter.

The TIE Fighter roared by, disguised as a mega dollar Porsche. The sound, though, there was no disguising it. Pure weapon grade Empire stuff.

I could hear the driver accelerate as he hit the beautiful curve exiting off the road, the exit I'd be taking in a few hundred yards. I wished, for a moment, that I could have seen the exit, see the line the driver took, where he braked, where (or if) he shifted.

Alas all I could see was concrete, pavement, and the flora and fauna of the beachside environment. Plus if I watched him I'd want to be able to do the same thing in the same car. And I don't have a car remotely resembling that silver bullet.

So it was a good thing I could only hear it hit the (one) twisty.

I started the long drag back to home base, the relentless shallow climbs sapping my strength, making me dig deep into the reserves I barely had. I had two little treats though, two nuggets to motivate me.

The first was a nice short descent, the second was another nice short descent but followed by a nice little hill. On the first descent I always hope for a truck, especially when I'm riding a bike with a rock solid front end. The TsunamiTwo feels great at speed, absolutely confidence inspiring, and I hoped to do a little test at speed today.

The second descent gives me speed, if the light is green at the bottom, for a fake-leadout sprint up the hill that's just like Bethel's finishing hill. If I feel good it's a great hill.

Of course if I feel bad... it's just another hill. Another body sagging, morale sapping hill.

I turned at the top of the first descent. Behind me I could hear the distinctive shifting of a semi, and sure enough, a yellow tractor trailer rolled by me. He briefly paused at the light, but when it turned green, I punched it.

44 mph, although I swore it was faster. A hard roll then a 1100 watt jump to get in the draft.
Note the skinny bike tire shadow visible to the right.

Initially the truck picked up speed as it headed downhill away from the light, but then the road started to climb slightly and he still gunned it. Finally, getting to his turn, he signaled.

I swung left, made sure I could see his mirrors (so he could see me), and he confidently and fluently moved right and made his turn.

The second treat turned out about as good. I rolled down to the light, red at the time, but just before I got there it turned green. I briefly thought about skipping the jump. My legs felt a bit achy and empty feeling from the effort behind the truck, literally just a half mile prior.

But I really wanted to do a jump, feel the bike working under me, rocking quickly back and forth as I did an Abdujaporov up the hill.

So I did.

I jumped hard, went for about 10 seconds, shifting twice in that time, and suddenly my legs folded.

I sat up, disappointed. Later, when I reviewed the numbers, it wasn't so bad. 1275 watts, give or take, over 1050 watts for the ten seconds I went hard.

I went easy to catch my breath. My heartrate never accelerates when I do a jump like that, and I didn't break 160 bpm. My lungs doeth protest though, and I panted my way up to the next (and second last) light on my route.

I forgot about a couple other jumps I made, one in Encinitas. Actually I just learned the name of that little town area. I asked exactly what town that was and my hosts bemusedly answered that when I see the big sign over the road that says "Encinitas" that I'm in Encinitas.

Apparently I don't look up when I go under that sign. I mean do you read the finish line banner when you sprint for the line?

No, you look at the finish line.

Anyway, I sprinted by the Encinitas sign. 1150-ish watts.

And I sprinted at the end of the lunch ride.

1150-ish watts.

If nothing else I'm consistent.

Now for hydration, good comfort food, and warm sleep. I hope tomorrow I don't have a head full of phlegm and lungs full of phlegm, else I'll be exactly where I was today.

And yesterday. And the day before that. And the day before that.


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