Yesterday, I rode over to Dave’s house, where Dave served me a nice cup of Real Coffee. Then we rolled down to do the Mayor’s Subway Fresh Fit Healthy Hometown Hike, Bike, and Paddle, henceforth to be known (at least by me) as “The Hike-Bike-n-Paddle Battle,” because a significant minority of us who ride it are basically there to duke it out on the front for no real reason at all.
Anyway, I had slept insufficiently (though not badly) on Sunday night, so I rolled out Monday morning after 4 hours of sleep (and no breakfast).
I promised Dave we wouldn’t do 18 MPH the whole way. We didn’t. We averaged something like 19 MPH half way and something less than that on the way back, shaking out to a moving average of 16.8 MPH.
There (ahem) may have been a 25 MPH sprint involved at one point … heh. Somehow, our max speed was 34 MPH. I have no idea where or how: there are no real descents on the route, and at no point did I feel like I was cranking my legs off, though I did kind of start feeling the lack of breakfast in the last 5 miles or so.
Meanwhile, Dave kept up nicely on his rSogn, which is a very pretty and capable ride. I enjoyed riding with company, and also just being out with 6,000 other cyclists. Moreover, Dave and stopped for a delicious lunch at Against the Grain afterwards.
I decided to put on my big-boy pants and order a beer (ZOMG!). Dave introduced me to the concept of “Session Beer,” which evidently offers a lower-alcohol option so one can sit at table, shoot the breeze, and drink more beer. I figured I could handle a session IPA with lunch.
In retrospect, this was a bad plan. Later, during the last couple miles of my ride home, as the temperature rose, my blood sodium level fell, the sun beat down upon my fevered brow, and the alcohol found its way to my brain, I would regret that decision. I limped the rest of the way home, got some cleaning out of the way, and then Nick took me to meet Denis at the airport.
Flash forward to this morning. I slept late (even given that my T/R class doesn’t start ’til 11) and then putzed around getting out the door. I left home with 1 hour and 20 minutes to do a ride that normally takes me about 1:05.
Immediately, I realized I was getting a big “heck no!” from my legs. Like, it kind of reminded me of that scene in Master and Commander where one of the characters shouts, “The steering don’t answer!” Only, you know, instead of the steering, it was the engines. Which the Surprise didn’t have. But you get my point.
I don’t know if I refueled even more inadequately than I thought on Monday or what, but I basically couldn’t find a smidgen of power or speed in there this morning. There was some pain, but not to a degree that would normally slow me down much, if at all.
To make matters worse, my tires were under-inflated. Didn’t have time to fix that, either. They would’ve been perfect on gravel or dirt, probably, but they were definitely absorbing a bit more of my forward drive than is really ideal on the tarmac.
It was far too late, though, to take the bus — so I stuck it out.
It took me every minute of the 1:20 I had available to make it up to school. Having to route around a traffic accident didn’t help! I can’t even say that I hit more lights than normal; I was just slow.
On the bridge, I felt pathetic. On the route’s sole climb that is ever at all challenging, a steep overpass with an uphill approach, I just dropped the Tricross onto the little ring and whimpered my way up at 7 MPH.
In short: on some days, just getting there is enough, and this was one of those days.
I think, in light of this development, I’m going to dial it back a tad for a couple of days. I took the bus partway home today; I certainly plan to take it partway in tomorrow (though we’ll see; the beautiful thing about my route is that, provided I leave early enough to catch the bus in the first place, I can always change my mind at the very last minute when I reach downtown).
In other news, in addition to this month’s Bike Commuter Cabal challenge, Tom “Plaid Jersey” Ligman’s “Go The Extra Mile” challenge (in which one earns points by literally riding an extra mile — more if you want, but it won’t get you extra points! — on commutes; limit two points/day), I am trying out the “31-Day Plank Challenge” variant of the “30-Day Plank Challenge.” Since I just started today, I’ll finish a couple of days into October.
It’s a pretty cool drill. You start on day 1 with a 10 second plank and work your way up from there. You can find a 30-day version of it here.
I have been having some back problems anyway, which tells me I need to brush up my core strength, and I like the plank (because, yes, I am a masochist, thank you very much). The 10-second plank was way less of a mental grind than today’s ride. I suppose the 10-second duration makes it none too grindy to begin with. It went well. Tomorrow, 20 seconds.
I’m looking forward to seeing how this all pans out.
Last news of the day: I signed up for Gravel Grovel today. I have not registered for any ‘cross races. My jury’s still out on ‘cross, especially since the only local race that I know of with a “civilian” division — in other words, the one I planned to use as a testing-tree to see if I felt ready for ‘cross this year — doesn’t appear to be going down. Oh, well.
Anyway, steak and … erm … veggies or something? For dinner tonight; some writing to do, then rest.
That’s it for now.
Keep the rubber side down!