I wanted to get up early on Saturday and do a cycling Time Trial but it was freezing – okay nearly freezing - 39 degrees. I was suited up with all of my cycling gear. I decided to get some chores out of the way while waiting. I also ate a bowl of oatmeal.
It finally got a little warmer – about 50 degrees and I decided to brave the outdoors. I saddled up and decided to ride the course as a warm up prior to going full speed. My legs felt like lead and my arms ached in the aero bars. I was not feeling myself at all. I also got very cold really quick. I did the 12 mile out and back – this was supposed to be a warm up – and turned home. I was going to go home anyway and pick up the ROCKET helmet but just went inside. I did not change out of my cycling clothes in hopes of getting another chance at the time trial. I also ate another bowl of oatmeal.
It got warmer and I got psyched up for a real attempt. I donned the ROCKET helmet and headed out again. I stopped at the Time Trial start line and zeroed out my heart rate monitor / stop watch. With one foot clipped in I started the timer. I fumbled briefly getting the second foot clipped in and then I was off. The last time I did this time trial was July 31st, 2008 I had the option of someone holding my bike by the seat while I was completely clipped in – just like the pros. I did not opt for this and instead held onto a stop sign. During that time trial we had 5 or six entrants and a 30 second staggered start. I went second to last. This was as near head to head competition as it gets. Bragging rights were on the line. You could barely see the person in front of you but you knew they were there. Male ego and testosterone flowing you want to pass as many as possible and damn sure do not want to be passed. I got passed in about 5 minutes by Keith – the strongest of the group and I ended up passing two others. I got third place last summer. I missed second place by 4 seconds.
Everything was better this second attempt of the day. I immediately got up to speed. My heart rate was building. My legs were pumping. I don’t even remember my arms –they were not a factor. There is only one cross road on this section of the trace. I rarely used road that you can see cars coming easily from both sides. You slow a little but rarely need to stop also the out portion of the time trial is slightly up hill. I hit the turn-around at just about 17 minutes. The back portion will be faster. The trace was relatively deserted and I was flying. I was keeping my heart rate up. I was keeping my speed up. I was nearing the end of the 11.85 mile course. During the last ¼ to ½ mile I sprinted with everything I had. As I crossed the finish line I stopped my heart rate monitor / stop watch. The final time was 32:00.1 (average 22.22 MPH). I was a little let down. I had thought that I did last summer’s run at 31:XX or something. It was a good effort but not enough. I’m not talking depression or anything but I was disappointed. I rode the same bike with the same times and wore the same clothes with the same helmet. Everything that I could control was the same and I was slower than last summer. Sure I was peaking last summer when I did that trial. Sure I cannot control the conditions of the course – the wind, the temperature, the humidity, the road conditions – but I am working of it.
I felt better for having done the exercise. I always get a lift from a good effort. I looked up my time from the summer. I finished the 11.85 miles in 32:10 (average 22.1 MPH) – I beat my time by 10 seconds! I immediately felt better. 10 seconds really should not have that much control over my attitude! I’ll try to remember this. Funny enough, I average 23+ MPH in two races last year. I seem to perform better on race day. Maybe it is the competition or maybe the taper – probably both.
On Sunday it was too cold once again to ride outside so I did a long run in the morning. An easy 12.25 mile run on the same course as the ride yesterday. I ran next to the asphalt, in the pine straw, on the way out. This is just to save the wear and tear on the joints. On the return trip I started to feel my right hamstring again. I thought that this nagging injury was just about over. The soft surface seemed to help the joints but it certainly upset the muscles. I ran on the asphalt on the way home. I had to stop for bathroom and water three times during this 1:42 hour run.
I forgot to take nutrition on this run. I am trying to remember to take a gel or something with me. I did eat oatmeal prior to the run so it was not a big deal but I need to do better.
I messed around the house the rest of the morning before the 1:30 group ride. I dressed in my arm / leg warmers and headed out. I immediately knew I was under dressed. There was a fierce cross wind. The kind of wind that you never get a break from – it feels like you have to fight it both ways. No relief.
For the first time in forever I decided to turn around at the first stop. I always get a longer ride but I was simply miserable. I was riding strong but I was freezing – 31 miles would have to do. As soon as I got home I had a meal and filled the Jacuzzi tub with hot water and bubbles. I grabbed a beer and a running magazine and had a nice soak. With my core temperature returning I was feeling good again.
Later that night I nearly collapsed from exhaustion. Starting around eight o’clock I could not keep my head up. I could not keep my eyes open. I knew that I needed to make coffee for the morning – don’t even get me started on the necessity of my morning coffee – but I just could not get up to do it. I crashed hard. I have done longer runs and longer rides and with more intensity than yesterday and not felt as tired. The only times that I have felt like this are following a maximum effort. This happens after a race or a huge breakthrough training session. I had neither yesterday.
The training plan has today as an off day – I’m feeling better though.