Sunday, July 27, 2008
106.9 mile adventure to the beach.
Mental energy is not at its highest so I’m going to break this out into points of interest and hopefully it makes sense. Please excuse typos and grammar…as brain cell have been lost : )
*The adventure – Bike from Beaverton to The Oregon Coast, more specifically Gearhart, 106.9 miles with 5173 ft of elevation gain.
*Before the start I will admit I had quite a bit of fear looming. This would be my first century of the season. Before this ride my longest of the year had been 70 miles. The distance wasn’t the intimidating factor though, I’ve accomplished a century before so I knew I could do it, what I feared was doing a century ride with 7 men (no women) and all training for an Ironman. Their endurance and power would be greater then mine; which I thought would inevitably leave me riding alone for a VERY long time. This ride would be more mental toughness then anything.
*My start was a rough one. My dysfunctional bike computer was rubbing against my rear tire; which promoted me to stop and have it looked at 3-5 blocks out. Not a good start. The first 5 miles started out on rolling hills; my body appeared to have a hard time adapting to this as my shifting was done poorly.
*I rode most of Hwy 30 with Scott who spoke a lot about being in the aero position and conserving energy on these long distance rides. I became a sponge and soaked up everything he said. This prompted me to ride aero 90% of the ride, very good decision IMO.
*First big climb came around mile 20 and lasted to mile 26-27. Climbing felt really good. I knew climbing up would lead to descending down which I was fearing. I had stayed aero for most of this point so I decided to try descending in aero. This was a good idea, I felt much more stable and I was able to cut and lean into the corners. The fear of descending is still present but not as much. I am starting to gain confidence….and this is a step in the right direction.
*Within 20 miles Darrell happened to get 4 flat tires! He became VERY fast at changing them. Ultimately it was Don who spotted the tire-flattening staple. Tire surgery was then performed on the ER floor of HWY 47. The tire survived and on we rode.
*We stopped and met Devin’s parents around mile 60. At this time we decided it was good to get a photographic memory (picture) and load up on fuel and hydration for the rest of the ride. It was also time to bid farewell to Scott as he was heading back to Portland.
*Mile 66-71ish was challenging. We had a steady long climb late into the ride. This tuckered me out a bit. Upon reaching the summit we regrouped and agreed upon meeting up with the Devin’s parents (SAG) around mile 82. I was more then happy to descend down at this point, although was not to pleased doing so in the rain.
*Thank God for giant tree leaves as nature called for duty.
*Mile 80-91 seemed like all but too much one on one time with Kat. I had become separated from the group. My computer didn’t work, I was unsure of mileage but knew I was somewhere around 80 thanks to my trusty map but saw no SAG vehicle or group of riders. I didn’t know if I passed them…or if they were farther out, my mind started playing tricks on me. I had been pretty good on nutrition and hydration up to his point, but slowly I was starting what I feared….dipping too far into my caloric reserves and trying to play catch up, in which case you never win.
*Mile 90 and I hit the bay; I knew the ocean was just around the corner; as were my riding buddies at mile 91. I was happy to see them and happy to know I hadn’t gone off course. I was also happy to find out I was not the only one riding alone as there was another behind me and a few that had their own “one on one time”. I think most of us had started to reach a point of fatigue. Finished off my last bar which brought me to around 1000 kcal in 6 1/2ish hours, according to my trusty HRM I had expended around 2900 kcal. Good thing I ate BIG the night before and morning of the ride.
*Riding the bridge on Hwy 101 over the bay was an interesting experience. We were all tired, there was a tone of debris on the side of the road (worse then the dirty 30), the cars rode very close in on one side, and on the other side had the ocean waves smashing around. It was really a chaotic yet peaceful experience, kind of weird to describe. Riding the ocean side was picturesque…so beautiful, grey and wild. Fatigue was growing and as my surroundings felt crazy (cars, debris, wind, bridge, ocean) I was at ease. I was too tired to really be affected by my surroundings.
*Darrell and I rode the last 10 miles of Hwy 101 together. It literally felt like it was never going to end. I was now very caloric deficient and felt it in my energy. I had switched from bars to Cliff Shot Blocks with caffeine on mile 91, don’t think this was a good idea. Not sure if it was the caffeine or the gummy block consistency but it created havoc on my tummy. I had a small tsunami brewing….not pleasant.
*Mile 106, group meets up a few blocks from the finish so that we could all ride in together. Realization hit me, I did it and I held my own among the Ironmen : ) I rode in with Darrell and there were still 2 men behind me. And during the ride I was almost never at the end….I kept a middle ground. I guess I’m a better cyclist then I give myself credit for….yet I know I still have much more progression to make.
*Devin’s Aunt’s house, we arrive at the finish. Woot! Woot! Time for transition and to take a little run. This felt much better and worse then I had anticipated. For one it didn’t take my legs too long to transition. 3-5 minutes in and they felt A-ok. What hit me was my nutrition and I’m not exactly sure where it went wrong but as I hit 12-13 minutes into the run I stopped and yakked all over the sidewalk. I puked a LOT! Where the hell did all that come from? After I hit Niagara Falls I stood there heaving for a few moments and realized that my eyes had filled with tears. Disappointment hit me. How the hell would I ever be able to do an Ironman? Here I stood wallowing in my own self pity starring at the flow of vomit running down the street. Ugh. I picked up my self worth and started running again. I lasted all but 2-3 minutes before I started walking. My energy was depleted and it was trying to crush my spirit. But I would not let that happen, 30 sec of walking was all I could take, started running again, ugh! Another 2-3 minutes and I resorted back to walking; I just had no go. I continued this walk/run battle until I reached the house. Thankfully we only went out 2-3 miles.
*I reach the house and met back up with everyone. They had thought my over zealous ass went for an extra loop. Haha! I only had wished. I quickly went into brush my teeth, the taste in my mouth was prompting for an encore I was not willing to give. I then took a shower, which felt like an eternity in heaven. Good quality self-reflection happened here. At first I just stood there weak, allowing fatigue to hurt my spirit. Then I reflected on the adventure I had gone on…quickly I felt much better. I did my first century of the year, not only that I ran (briefly) afterwards. Each time I hit a low point I quickly picked myself back up. I held my own among the men. I had done an IM brick and I’m not even doing an IM this year. I can only assume these bricks will get easier with time. I have acclimated my body to go from cycling to running…I know my focus for the on coming year is going to be based highly upon nutrition as my tummy happens to be my fiercest enemy.
*The rest of the night was spent enjoying good food and GREAT company. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to ride and recover with. Special shout out to Devin for organizing the ride; his parents for supporting SAG and his aunt’s for their gracious hospitality.
Sunday – The aftermath
I woke up on Sunday morning and was surprised that my muscles were not sore. Fatigued yes, sore…not so much. The only thing that was sore was….well let’s just say I wish I had a pillow to sit on all day. I got up rolled my legs and back and did some Pilates. Had thought about joining a friend for an easy 6 mile run but realized my energy was not present. My muscles felt fine but my motivation was gone. I was tired and fatigued. My eyes also hurt. I went into the house to brush my teeth and realized my whole face was mildly swollen. Not sure what happened but I was having an allergic reaction to something, my eyes, cheeks and throat were inflamed and tender to touch. Took an anti-histamine when I got home which helped with the swelling, there had to have been something in the air my body rejected. I’m taking today off as recovery, as I cannot stop napping. I only hope I can recover quicker as I do more of these types of workouts.
BTW, I am an unstoppable eating machine.