Last year when I was doing my long rides I had a ton to write about, because I was outside. As I told a friend earlier this week, who commented I had been quiet, one can't write too many exciting things about staring at a couple of walls in one's basement...
I assume the IronGods heard me, so they decided to spice things up a bit.
Today's ride was going to be about 4 hours long so I wanted to be on my Cervelo, rather than the Cannondale. It's about time I got used to being in the aeros for long periods. First off I had to change the back tire to an old trainer tire. I'm pretty quick at changing tires, so this was no biggie. I got all my nutrition ready and headed for the dungeon, I mean basement.
Next off I had to add the 'lift' to my trainer so it would accommodate the Cervelo tire, which are wee 650 tires. Again, no biggie, with the help of my handy dandy ratchet and allan keys. Finally, everything was all set up and I was good to go. I hopped on the bike and started warming up when I noticed that I wasn't getting any readings on my computer. What the....?
Dammit, the speed monitor is on my front spoke! Mumble, mumble, mumble. As IG's program was about speed today, I needed to have readings. Fine, I'll just unwrap it from the brake cable, unsnap the one clip from the spoke, and move the monitor to the back. Easier said then done of course.
Dale set up my computer, so needless to say it was hooked up in a way to never, ever, ever moved or be removed. Finally I got it all undone and attached to the back fork. The clip that goes on the spoke was another issue. It didn't want to clip back on. I will spare you with all the gory details or how long it took me, suffice it to say with the help of some needle nose pliers I was able to partially squish it together. I used a bit of scotch tape just to make sure it wouldn't slide down the spoke too.
Okay, with that done, all should be fine, right? Wrong. I got back on the bike started pedaling and realized the back tire was slipping. For the love of....what now?! I checked my back tire and felt it was slipping on the trainer. Adjusted the the tension and tried it again. That's when I realized the damn tire was FLAT! My heart rate monitor was showing a slightly elevated heart rate at this point. I was doing fairly well staying calm though - I figured this is just one of those things and as long as I stay relaxed, it will get fixed and I can start my workout.
Thankfully I remembered to take all my nutrition off my bike and removed my profile bottle BEFORE flipping my bike over to change the tube. Once again I practiced my tube changing skills. I saw that in the process of inflating the tube when I changed the tire I had ripped the valve stem. I've done this sooo many times before using the pump I have that it's rather annoying. Finally, it was all done, bike was righted, nutrition put back on, computer was working, tire was inflated, tension was adjusted and heart rate was fairly reasonable.
So I started pedaling....
Okay, this was good. Everything was working. Nice. Hope the IronGods got a good chuckle out of all that excitement! Time to focus and ride.
I kept the T.V. off and had no music on. I wanted to try and focus on what was going on with my body and my mind. For the first 1.5 hours all was well. I was following the program - I did a 30 minute warm up, then did four 10/5 sets. For the 10 minute segments I was to pedal at 27 km/h and then go down to 25 km/h for the 5 minute segments. And so I did.
The next hour I was to do the same thing, but pedal between 27-28 km/h. I managed to pedal between 27.5 and 28.5 km/h. I was really struggling with my focus though. External problems that started in the first hour were now starting to grate me. The nerve in my shoulder was zinging big time when I was in the aero's. I kept sliding on my saddle so that my seat bones weren't positioned where they should be. This meant I had to keep sliding back every few minutes. Rather annoying when you are trying to keep a steady pace.
With all this sliding I wasn't able to keep my shoulder blades down, which is what I had to do to get my shoulder to stop hurting. Seriously, I wanted to scream. Instead, I kept telling myself to focus on my breath. To keep going.
My mind would then slip to the position of my saddle and how I could change it. I must be on a down angle or something. Nuts! Then I thought of the height of my aerobars, maybe I need to raise them. Then I'd realize I wasn't focussing and would get all pissed. At about 2:10 hours into my ride I realized I needed to call someone...so I did.
I, of course, called Gregory as I felt he was partially responsible for the situation. There was no answer, so I left a message that went something like this...
"I really needed to complain to someone, so I choose you. I F***ING HATE THIS! My legs hurt, my shoulder is killing me, I keep sliding on my seat, we need to raise the aerobars, I can't focus, I can't stay in the aero's, I don't have the tv on or radio and I'm going to try and do that as long as possible. Oh, the one good thing is I'm achieving the speeds you want me to. Bye.". (I learned after my workout IG got a great laugh out of this message - at least someone was laughing! I wasn't at the time, but certainly can now).
The remaining ride I did my best to stay focussed. I'm proud to report that I was able to for the most part. I wasn't the happiest triathlete though. If you think Lisa Bentley's grimace is scary, you should have seen mine. It would have given an indication what was going on in my brain. As I went up in speed (I had worked up to 29.5 km/h for the sets) my grimace got more severe. Until I realized this was taking up way too much energy, then I stopped and made my face neutral. My legs were burning towards the end. Finally, I finished the last set. I just had to do a 1/2 hour cool down at 25 km/h.
Bang! I was at 4 hours. YES! It was then I allowed myself to see how far I'd ridden. (I was hoping to be at 100 km. I flipped through my computer screens...94 something km. NUTS!!!! The next screen indicated I'd only ridden for 3:51 hours.
You see, I'd taken a couple of bathroom breaks and just before my phone call to Gregory I had to take a mental break. I stopped pedaling and had a little talk with myself about focussing on the present and not thinking about my shoulder, the race, etc etc. Apparantly this took longer than I thought.
I couldn't leave the situation as is. So I started pedalling - fast. I pedalled around 30 km/h. I have no idea how I found the strength in my legs! I watched every second that ticked down until it said 4:00 hours. Sweet! I flicked the screen over and saw that I had ridden..... 98.7 km!
I will refrain from writing out the obscenities that then spewed from my mouth. They aren't for the faint of heart...
Once again I pedalled my heart out until the monitor read 100km. At last! The time was 4:03 hours. DONE, DONE, DONE!
Oh how I wanted to just sit on the ground and stretch. Things hurt. Lots of things. Unfortunately, I had a 1/2 hour run to do. I seriously wasn't sure how the hell I was going to pull this off. My quads were screaming.
I switched clothes (as mine were saturated), bundled up for the cold and off I went. I was hoping my braids wouldn't freeze and break off. Yes, it was that cold. As I started running I thought, hey, this feels pretty good. And it did!
I made my way down the hill and into the next neighborhood. I started laughing to myself. Just a few moments before I was totally struggling, pissy and wondering how I was ever going to make it through the ride. Now I was running and feeling fabulous. My legs felt great, my feet felt light, all was well in the world.
At one point when I was running on the pathway I had a bunch of birds flying ahead of me. They'd land, then I'd catch up, and they'd fly a few more feet ahead. We repeated this process a few times. There were some big chubby robins with bright orange bellies, tiny sparrows, and another bird that I'm not sure of it's name, but it was gorgeous. I felt like Snow Friggin White, with all these birds twittering around. It was hilarious.
I ran up the last hill and was home at last. What a workout! It was a mental and physical struggle, to say the least, and I was rewarded with an awesome run. THIS is why I love being a triathlete! The absolute thrill that you feel when you've worked your arse off, faced and then defeated those challenges. I think this one deserves a big ass HOOYAAAAAH!
Peace out my friends.