What happens when you put 5 hours in the saddle with tempo and interval work thrown in the mix? One tired puppy, I tell you what.
As of this morning I was indecisive about what ride to do. I contemplated heading up
North to meet with the Broadmark fellas for their fixie ride, meeting up with my friend Peter, or heading south to Leschi to meet up with the Avanti ladies. I left the house bright and early at 8 and made my decision on the trail - ladies it is!
Only 4 of us showed - Linda, the ever faithful weekend ride leader, Annette, trekking from the east side and Liz, Mrs.-I-wore-too-much-clothing-today. I should talk - I walked out of the house this morning donning full on STP Fred clothing (sorry Fred) and installed my aero bars last night to really pull off the act. At least my holey booties matched! We headed south into the head wind and eagerly trailed onto the Garage fellas rear wheels as they strolled by. Funny how the guys are in zone 2 but my heart rate is in tempo sitting on the back and being whisked along. (It can't be all that skiing - it can't!!!)
The gravy train stopped at Coulon Park where we refueled, dumped and picked our route - up toward Tiger Mountain via the McDonald's Hill and May Valley. Let the pain begin! I just wish long hills and low traffic wasn't as much of a journey to get to. It would be awesome, in theory, to live on the east side and access all of those rides instead of having to slog out a good hour one way to get there. But I stayed home from skiing this weekend for a reason - to re-enter the biking pain cave.
And re-enter I did - time and time again. It's been a while since I've thought, "I could just stop doing this right now." Especially when climbing! The hills in Spain were just as long - if not longer. Is it the lack of sun? Does Vitamin D somehow make the pain and suffering that much better? But right when I start thinking, I can't do it - I remember, other people feel the same way and you have to be stronger and physically and mentally push beyond it. The stronger the mind - the stronger the rider. Why hello old doubtful friend - I missed you and am going to kick you right back into the cave you came from! And suddenly, I got into my rhythm and finished the climb with a smile, not a grimace, on my face.
It's funny how the simple act of riding your bike allows you to visit a range of emotions you don't run into in many other sports. The endurance factor is huge - how long can you stand pushing beyond your limits, or what you think are your limits, and pull your body inside out to complete a ride? Can you stand it 2 more minutes, now 5 more minutes, now 30 more minutes, etc.? I know your crotch hurts, your legs feel like lead, your back is sore, you feel like your tongue is hanging on the ground. But just think how good it will feel when you stop in 4 hours! Congratulations, pat yourself on the back. You have just reached what I call quality training.
And the best part? It repeats itself tomorrow. :)