Sunday, April 19, 2009

Of Climbing and Babysitting

Today was the day I needed a 200k because in 3 weeks I'll be riding a 300k. A pretty hilly 300k actually. The plan was to wake up around 3 AM, ride out to Kearny, get back around 1 or 2 and go to the Company picnic. Well, the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray. Particularly if you have a family. My wife had a meeting at the church at 10 so that changed that. Where there is a will there is a way though. It is possible to cycle in ones backyard, even inside ones home theatre for that matter. This is the story of my solution to this very problem.

It was a beautiful morning with temps in the 40's as I headed out of town. I didn't wear arm warmers or a wind vest or anything like that and I probably should have. I managed to pedal hard enough to keep the cold off. My heart rate monitor kept reminding me to pedal a little harder. In the dark I tend to let off a bit and it was good to get the reminder.

My hub light shone through the darkness as I turned onto the Apache Trail. Dawn was about to start but my light shown bright and lit the way. I was able to hold 15 mph or so most of the way acrossed Apache Jct and slowed as I hit the hills as I left town. I got passed by the ocassional car. The beauty of getting up at 4:30 for this route is the light traffic. in an hour or two this highway would have boats, motorcycles, RV's, Sports Cars, you name it. Before 7 though it's only the occasional fisherman pulling his boat.

The descent to Canyon Lake was cold. Especially when I hit 40 mph in the last stretch of the hill. Fortunately it was over before I started shivering. I hadn't sweated that much climbing the hill due to the chill. I was pleased to note that the temps by the lake were warmer.

The destination today was not Canyon lake though. The 300k in a few weeks has a lot of climbing and so today I was out to train on the hill known as "End of the Pavement". It' goes from Tortilla flat out about 4-5 miles to where the pavement ends in the middle of nowhere. It is a hill which stays between 6 and 9% most of the way up and is a good solid burn. Today I am pleased to see that although I have been pushing it harder than normal I still have strength to do the hills. I am pleased to note that I have gotten my time for climbing this hill down to just over half an hour. Before it was 40-45 minutes. Some of that is lost weight and some is that I am a much stronger rider this year with that pedal technique I have been working on.

The end of the pavement

It's a beautiful morning to be climbing. I hardly even break a sweat though I am working hard. I manage to not use my granny gear and I am proud of the fact. This hill seems a lot less intimidating than it used to. I am using it as excersize these days rather than a gigantic feat to be accomplished.

Turning around at the top I am eager to see if my light holds up on the descent. It is light out of course, but I want to see if speeds near 50 mph will cause problems with my generator light. I hit 50 and I am pleased to say it did fine. It is good to go for Cochise this fall (the back side of Mule Pass is a really fast descent I understand). Interestingly enough, when I went down again after my repeat with the light off I actually didn't hit 50. I guess that means the drag on the generator hub is negligible or the winds were different.

Usually when I do a repeat on this hill I am slower the second time around but today I am powerfull. I could have done a 3rd repeat but I had to get back for my wife. I am surprised this morning as no one has passed me. Not even after I did my repeat. I wouldn't see anyone until I was climbing out the last hill around 8:30. Usually this area has a lot more cycling activity.

Heading home I notice I have an extra 15 minutes or so, so I climb Usery Pass as a short side trip. Before I got home I would have 5200 feet of climbing in and around 80 miles in. So, with me at home my wife took off and I dug the rollers out of the garage onto the back porch.

Riding rollers with legs that are a bit fatigued is a rather delicate proposition. I came off once but managed to catch myself on the chair. I grew bored and looked at my watch. I had been on the trailer for just over 10 minutes! Aughhh! I commited myself to ride until I was finished with the album that was playing on my MP3 player and made it two songs into the next one using the old "just one more" lie on myself.

Seeing as I still needed another hour or two to finish my needed training for the day I put the fork mount onto the trainer and hauled it into the home theatre with the dlp projector on the cieliing. This makes the whole wall my tv. I decided I would pump the surround sound up and throw spiderman in the dvd player. I needed something a little exciting to spur me on. It worked. I managed to even do some higher intensity through the more exciting parts and ended up getting an extra hour and a half of training in before the hip started to twinge and I decided I had pushed my luck far enough.

I don't know if it added up to 200k or not but it was a good long workout. It was even a fairly intense workout. They say if you want to ride fast you need to train fast. It seems to be working for me. Sunday my quads didn't have any of the hammered muscle feeling to them surprisingly enough. This using all the muscles in your leg thing must have something to it.
Things are looking good for May 9th. I might even get a tolerable time but my goal is just to finish injury free.