Monday, March 1, 2010

how it felt

108 miles is a long way to ride a bicycle during the month of february.

they (the infamous "they") say that to prepare for an event, you should ride approximately 2/3 of the distance you'll be riding during that event. rule of thumb, just in general, you know.
for lotoja, 2/3 would be 138 miles. in preparation for lotoja, I've usually ridden somewhere between 125-135 as my longest effort.
so it follows that for last saturday's event I should have had a training ride of about 72 miles.
as that didn't happen ~ I'd ridden once for only about 16 miles during the month of february ~ and my longest time on a spin bike in the past few months has been about 90 minutes, one could say that I wasn't prepared for this ride.

one could say that.
and I could respond that I did darn well in spite of it.

but oh did my legs ache.
it was bitterly cold when we started (cloudy and 39 degrees), and for the first mile or two I wanted to call the whole thing off. go back to the hotel, sit in the hot tub, sip coffee, watch a movie, be warm and lazy . . . I truly thought I was an idiot to be riding.
then it warmed up to a decent riding temperature (that would be mid-to-upper 40's) for the rest of the ride. well, until the rain started and then it seemed to drop a bit. or maybe it was just the air moving through my wet clothes that made it feel that way.
I avoided rain until the last 90 minutes or so of the ride, at which time I started thinking about garth stein.
because I so wanted to be finished, yet conditions (and my weary legs) screamed at me to slow my pace a bit.
so I thought like the race car driver in garth's book, and rode with cautious confidence through puddles and curves and turns, watching the water kick up off my front tire while feeling the water from my back tire spray up my backside.
raindrops hit my eyes and covered my glasses and cyclometer face. I sniffled, I wiped clean (hah) my glasses, I relaxed my shoulders and I just kept going.

the sight of our starting point made my heart leap with joy, and I slowly (and noisily) braked to a stop in front of john's big grin. (which was partly about my safe return and partly about his own awesome 65 mile ride), then I tried to swing my leg over the bike seat to dismount. the first time was not a success. but the second time was, and I let john hold the bike as I tried to straighten out my body, gingerly stretching each muscle back into that normal homo sapien upright position. I pealed off sopping gloves and hobbled over to the restrooms to change my clothes, laughing at my stiff movements and giddy with relief that the darn thing was over.

108 miles is a long way to ride a bicycle in the month of february.

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