Monday, April 21, 2008

So what now?

So what now?

This is the question I ask myself. I had a phenomenal weekend. Started with a joyful easy 11.5 mile run Saturday, fabulous recommitment brunch in the afternoon, great dinner, drinks and hot tubing with friends in the evening. Sunday we did the Cherry of a Ride. I was really looking forward to this ride. Lots off hill climbing and I was going to jump from 50 to 80 miles. Once we get there and view the course, not many people wanted to do the 80. It was windy and there were a lot of hills. So a few people opted to do the 60 and just tack on a few extra miles….I was one of those people. Here is a link to our course.

As you can see the second part of that course had a HUGE descent. I spoke with the ride coordinators and they warned that it was very curvy and had a lot of hairpins. GREAT! I say that with sarcasm. The only part of the ride I was dreading was that last descent. I have to say I had a great ride, but one part ruined it for me and may change everything in my life. I got my mileage in, 70 miles to be exact. I got the elevation climbing in, over 4000 ft. I attacked each hill and never needed to stop. I hade no digestive or nutrition issues and was fueled off of cookies, almonds, banana’s and reeces pieces. Everything would have been great! Except for that fucking decent. As I’m starting to go down I start breaking. I’m thinking, “This will be fine, just hold on the breaks and go down slowly.” The problem was that I was in my hoods and couldn’t get a good grasp on my breaking. I was too frightened to get in my drops and be that close to the ground going so fast that I stayed in my hoods and couldn’t fully break. I could squeeze the tops but not enough on the bottom. The effort of breaking alone took much of a toll on my body. My arms and hands were fatigued. I am around mile 65 at this point. I start accelerating and I can’t control Cadence. The wind is blowing and I’m wobbling a lot. The road was very curving and I started coming up on a 15 mph speed sign with a short hairpin corner. I can’t stop breaking so I unclip going 25+ mph and start dragging my left foot trying to stop the bike. It was at the point a car came around the corner right at me. Why were they right at me? Because I had no control and swerved into the lane of on coming traffic. I start praying immediately. I seriously thought this was it. Either I was going face dive into that car and get ran over or go through the windshield or I would swerve off the cliff. The car swerved first, THANK GOD! And I continued to drag my foot and try to brake. I reach the end of the corner into the gravel and dirt (right near the cliff with no guard rail) and stop. OH MY GOD! I stood there for a minute just shaking. I then realized I had another 2 miles or so to go downhill. Fuck that! I walked Cadence down. As I’m walking I’m thinking about what just happened. I was not confident on my bike. I had no control. I had no strength to break. I wasn’t in the right position to go down the descent, I couldn’t get in that position because I was scared of my cornering skills….which btw don’t exist. What am I going to do? I walk about a ½ mile until Emily and Randal come up from behind and ask me if I’m ok. I’m not. I’m still shaking and refuse to get back on my bike. The stayed with me fore awhile and eventually I got back on her and rode alongside with Emily holding my breaks. My feet and arms were trembling and I felt at total lose of control. I don’t know how I didn’t start crying…it took everything in my power not to. The last 3 miles were the longest 3 miles of my life. They couldn’t end quick enough. We reached the finish and thankfully Jeb had a bottle of Patron, I took a shot, I needed it.

The rest of the night we relaxed in the hot tub, drank and enjoyed good food and company. It saddens me I wasn’t able to enjoy much of it. My mind was elsewhere. I’m lost and I don’t know where Kat went. I went to bed early and just laid there….I couldn’t sleep. I was physically drained but my mind raced on. What’s going to happen to me? I don’t want to get on my bike again, ever. I saw death…I actually visualized dieing, it was one of the worst and scariest experience I think I’ve experienced. Maybe I will bag triathlons and be a runner. I can’t do that; I was a runner before a triathlete. I need multisport to prevent injuries and keep things from getting stale. I just don’t know what I’m going to do with my life. I can’t smile, I'm randomly crying…I just feel so disappointed in myself.

So what now?

1 comment:

Web Business Blog said...

I ride about 100 miles a week and have been riding for about 14 years. Every Saturday morning I do a 50-60mi ride with 3,000 feet of climbing (and steep descents on winding mountain roads) in a group of 25 other bike racers.

I can sympathize with you here and I'm glad you're okay - very sorry to hear that this happened. That said, you definitely do not (or didn't at the time of this blog post) have the cycling experience to be tackling mountains. If you are not comfortable switching between the hoods and the drops at any speed, and if you are not comfortable braking while on the hoods, stick to flats and rolling hills for thousands of miles of riding until you build up experience.

You absolutely have to be able to control your bike well before going down steep descents.

Your brakes may not fit your hands well. Ask your bike shop about handlebar and brake lever options for women and people with small hands. There are shorter reach bars and shorter throw levers.

Also consider grip hand exercises to strengthen your grip and prevent fatigue after long rides (those spring loaded gadgets), and read tips on descending (there are books out there too, by pro coaches).