Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Training - Finally?

I woke up today feeling a bit better. I didn't actually wince when I swallowed. Okay, I did wince, but that was just reflexive. The second tentative swallow didn't hurt too much. My annual California cold had turned a corner.

The weather started dreadful, raining, windy, but after a couple hours the clouds rolled away and the sun started burning through.

I decided to join my friend on a lunchtime ride. Since I hadn't eaten my second breakfast (my first one was bacon, eggs, and toast), I jammed some Fig Newtons in my mouth and washed it down with some water. I dressed pretty aggressively (i.e. warmly) for the conditions. 55-60 degrees, sunny (and a strong sun at that), and I wore the following:
  • Short sleeve jersey
  • Long sleeve jersey ("Roubaix" type fabric, thick)
  • Wind vest
  • Thick bib knickers ("Roubaix")
  • Gloves rated to 25 degrees F
  • Head cover I use down to 25 degrees F
To put it in perspective, if I'd been feeling okay, I'd have skipped the wind vest, the thick gloves, put a cap on under the helmet, and pulled on a pair of bib shorts.

We pedaled easily towards the coast, did a short jaunt down by the beaches, and turned back inland so he could get back to work. At first he seemed to hold back here and there (because he'd drop back) but that was all politeness. On the way back it took all of 600 watts of effort (on my part) to saw me off his wheel. Although my throat may not have been really sore, it didn't mean I was okay - I still had to fight some fever. Any effort, no matter how insignificant it seemed, took its toll, and I couldn't sustain anything beyond 200-250 watts.

Back at the house I climbed off the bike feeling pleasantly overheated, soaked in perspiration. I had some Gatorade (I bought two gallons in a fit of optimism the other night), decided against eating (it would draw blood into my stomach, away from my muscles), and, after a brief little internal debate, I went back out.

It took maybe three or four minutes and I found myself throwing my leg over my bike only a few minutes after I had climbed off of it. I rode back out to the coast, headed the other way, stopped by Pacific Coast Cycles, bought some wheel magnets (I didn't have any on the wheels I brought out here, and I'm borrowing one), and got back on my bike. That's about when I realized that I'd been out for almost three hours and hadn't had anything but about 10 ounces of Gatorade. I broke open a FiberOne bar (caramel, if you have to ask, and I love their cereal), chomped it down, and chased it with some water.

Of course I immediately felt bad. Must be the blood getting drawn in to the stomach, away from my legs. Or the fact that I've been sick for 5 or 6 days. Or that I'd been out on the bike for a few hours already. Or... the reasons went on and on.

I slogged my way back to home base, optimistically doing one gigantic jump before I got home.

Said jump lasted three pedal strokes, peaked at under 1000 watts (according to the SRM after the ride, I'd made two 1200 watt accelerations away from lights and I didn't "mean" to do them), and totally cooked me for the rest of the ride home.

Good thing this wasn't a race.

I got back, climbed off the bike, walked in the house. Asked, I described my route. My friend looked at me in surprise.

"But you've been gone so long..."

I could only shrug.

My friend kept asking me, "Wait, you just went to the shop and back? You only spent 5 minutes there? You didn't go anywhere else? And you took this long?"

I shrugged again.

Did I really ride that slowly?

You know, come to think of it, maybe I spent 30 or 40 minutes at the shop.

Yeah, that's it.

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