Posted by: fizzhogg | May 23, 2010

41 Minutes of Hell

I thought about naming this post “What The Heck Just Happened?” but I opted for the more graphic.

Before I explain today’s post title and the ride that spawned said post title, I should first tell you about yesterday’s ride.

I again had a limited TTR window (that’s Time To Ride for you new to this tiny crevice of the Internet), and so I decided to make the best use of it. I knew I couldn’t ride more than about 10 or 12 miles, so I thought I would make those miles count.

I started out on the Pyrenees and rode them as hard as I could. I then transitioned to one of the nearby levee trails and tried to ride it at as high a pace as possible. I then finished the 9.9 mile ride attacking Chad. I felt great after the short ride. Like I had worked hard and pushed myself.

What a difference a day makes.

I woke up today prepared for a long ride. I wanted to do at least 30 miles. The Tour de Cure is only days away and I wanted to push myself distance-wise. I had decided to explore a new route today. There’s a road near my house called Baxter, and it consists of a many short hill climbs. Real cyclists were probably call Baxter “rolling terrain” but to this Fatass it’s a bunch of hills.

I ate as I always do before my rides. I had 2 water bottles, 2 Gu’s, my tires pumped, etc. I did not have my only pair of bib shorts on, as they were in the wash. I was forced to wear my UofA colors jersey despite the fact that it smelled a bit worse than Chicken On a Chain. You may be asking , “Why was your UofA jersey not in the wash with your stinky bibs?” Well, because I own only one of other short-sleeved jersey and recently the entire side seam ripped open. So the big red and blue A is all I gots right now.

But I digress.

So I started out riding up Baxter. There was a steady headwind, but nothing I hadn’t experienced before and the hills of Baxter were no worse than what I’d tackled without issue in Arizona. All systems go for a great ride. But what happened was nothing close to great.

Almost immediately I felt uncomfortable. I have heard Phil and Paul on Versus talk about riders finding the rhythm of the ride. But I always assumed that was for pro level cyclists. What do I know of rhythm? I’m a big fatty on a triple crank. But that’s what it felt like – I could not find a rhythm. I could not get comfortable. Only 11 minutes into the ride I was feeling gassed. 20 minutes into the ride I was drenched in sweat, had gone through half a water bottle, and the only thought in my head was, “I wanna go home.”

At 26 minutes I stopped at a gas station, breathing like I’d just ridden 3 hours. In addition to my physical issues, the Unfat Machine didn’t feel right.

There was a “clicking” sound happening as I rode that I thought was my little Trek computer thingy on the front wheel hitting against my little Trek computer thingy on my fork. But that wasn’t it – because the sound stopped whenever I stopped cranking. Whenever my cranks made a rotation there was a distinct “Click” happening that should not have been. I have no idea what it was, but that added to my discomfort.

I stood there at the Texaco, pondering why today was so different. Why I felt so weak and off.  Did I bonk? Well, I’d eaten as I have many times before, I was drinking. Did I push it too hard in the beginning? I’ve done that before and think I would have recognized that feeling as opposed to this feeling.

One theory I came up with was that, with the exception of my Arizona rides (the dry rides), and one day in April, I have never ridden in temperatures above about 80 degrees. I glanced down at my Trek Incite and saw it was sunny and 91. Yes, I know I could have looked up at the sky to see it was sunny, but the little computer sun next to the 91 let me know. 91 with probably 80-90% humidity. I suddenly understood why it felt like I’d just climbed out of a bathtub.

I decided I would turn around and ride back “down” Baxter, back to my neighborhood, and then cruise around my regular routes – my levee trails, etc. – and get comfortable again, and get my miles in.

But as I rolled down Baxter, thankfully coasting most of the way, I realized I wasn’t feeling any better. I wasn’t recovering., I wasn’t finding a rhythm, the UM was still not sounding (or feeling) right. It seemed as though my tires were somehow being magically pulled toward every pothole, every broken piece of asphalt, every rock or stick. At least three times I swore I was going down.

Then about 32 minutes into the ride, I stopped at a light, my plan being to unclip, dismount and see if I could discover the source of the clicking. I stopped okay, I unclipped just fine, and then some force of nature (or even darker forces) caused my to lean the UM toward the side that I had NOT unclipped from… and over I went.

After popping up as fast as possible – cuz you know, if you trip or fall in public, the faster you get up, the more you convince anyone who saw you that you meant to do that – I got back on could not get home fast enough. I was cooked, I was hot, I was soaked, I was mentally and psychologically defeated.I was not going to the levee trails, I was not going anywhere but my nice, air conditioned house.

At the end I had ridden 41 minutes for a total of 9.4 miles. I felt like I had ridden 50 miles to a lake, rode into the lake, rode around the bottom of the lake for a while, then rode 50 miles back home. All into a headwind. Even the part at the bottom of the lake.

I will take the Unfat Machine into the local Specialized dealer tomorrow. And I will get back on and try again, hoping and praying that today was just some bizarre alignment of cycling stars.

Eat Better.

Keep riding.

Lose the gut.

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