I sucked on Sunday for the Assenmacher 100… The first thirty miles were excellent, my legs loosened up after the first ten miles or so and I felt good. There were small problems though, like the talent pool was more like me and less like the twenty racers we had to hide behind last year…and the pace was still pretty close. I took a few short-ish pulls up front but spent a lot of time hiding.
I was smiling as we pulled into the second rest stop (we always skip the first). I topped off a bottle with Gatorade, had a couple of PB&J corners, a white chocolate & macadamia nut cookie and was ready to go.
The next fifteen got progressively worse. I switched around my saddle a couple of weeks ago and when I hit a pothole that felt more like a fjord, it nosed down about a half inch. I tried to eyeball it and nosed it up too much by about three millimeters…which meant I couldn’t ride in the drops comfortably. Add to that a nice little bonk and I was off the back before I knew it. Fortunately, Matt went first so he led us out on a shortcut that put us in front of the group so we could latch back on. I stayed with them for another four miles or so before falling off the back again, this time for good… As the group faded, I knew I was in trouble. 45+ miles out and bonked. Then I came to an unmarked intersection… I should have gone straight but I was distracted by a work call (on Sunday) so I was sure they turned. Oops.
Ten miles later I knew I was in trouble, bonked and lost. I programmed in my home address and got to creeping home. Five miles more and after I completely ran dry of Gatorade in the middle of nowhere, I called my wife. I quit.
Waiting on the side of the road I had a come to Merckx (so to speak) moment, and a much needed discussion with my inner punk-ass-bitch. The main gist went like this: There were a few minor issues I had to work through but the sad truth is it’s been a month since I really busted my ass on my bike – sure I worked some in the mountains, but when I started surpassing my cycling buds I got complacent on my training rides. Sure I still worked hard and I went pretty fast, but I didn’t keep the pressure on and that led to the one big problem with cycling fast: Everyone who can ride fast knows, including me, that if you’re not getting faster, you are getting slower. So the question was, do I want to live with the slower me or do I want to buck up and start working again?
Basically, with a whole bunch of explicatives in that inner discussion (I’ll leave those out), I kicked my inner punk-ass-bitch’s ass. When I got home from the office yesterday, I really went to work on him. I set out to make the first ten miles of my ride hurt. With the club ride tomorrow, I wanted to leave the last six to spin my legs loose. Now this isn’t really recommended – after a long, hard bonking ride, to go back out the next day and hammer, but I needed to kick my butt a little bit.
The idea was simple really. I started out fast and every time I wanted to slow up a bit I pedaled harder until I hit the ten mile mark, then I sat up and cruised home after stopping at the shop to let Matt know I was good and to level out my saddle (forgot before I left so that ten miles was quite rough).
For those who might wonder about saddle tilt, the concept is simple. Nosing the saddle up helps you to sit more upright – it supports that position best. On the other hand, nosing the saddle down promotes riding low but too much and you have to work to keep your bum on the saddle. Most suggest, and I agree, that perfectly level is best though there is certainly room for disagreement.
More on my mess in the next post…
For the last week I’ve felt like I’m pedaling through two inches of mud. I’ve had a tough time getting comfortable in the saddle and my power is, put simply, still on vacation in Georgia.
Speaking of vacation in Georgia, I was excited to come home – I was feeling strong driving home after an excellent week in the mountains. I’ve been stronger down there, I had a tough time on my nemesis climb (it kicked my butt this year) but I still felt great.
My first ride back home was strong and was very fast – faster than normal by maybe a mile or two per hour. Good news going into my big “A” ride of the year, where we should average 23-24 mph over the first sixty on open roads (open roads shave 2 mph off of the average at that speed, having to stop for traffic signs and lights) and drop down to 22 going through the hills after that. That’s this morning by the way, the Assenmacher 100.
After a rain day on Tuesday, I hit my normal route feeling like I had tar on my tires (Mrs. Bgddy felt the same way) on Wednesday. At first I didn’t sweat it, but when I felt the same on Thursday I started getting nervous. On Friday I was frantic. Yesterday, panic… Then I realized, about 3/4’s of the way through my ride, that my sweat wasn’t salty. Light on electrolytes. Then I started thinking back: That whole week in the mountains I drank maybe two or three small Gatorades – and my struggles started to make sense.
Add to that the fact that I ate a lot on vacation and I’ve been feeling a little chunky all week long (and this “feeling” was exacerbated by what turned out to be an electrolyte imbalance). So until yesterday I was going into this ride thinking I was in deep trouble, even if I hadn’t written about it this week. Yesterday I started pounding Gatorade as soon as I got back and I’m hoping that helps (I do feel a little more normal today but let’s face it – with your confidence in the crapper, the last thing you want to do is go straight into a fast century).
So, what to do? I’m going to suck it up and roll, because that’s what we do. I’m going to give it my best to get to the finish line and if I bonk, I bonk. More after the ride. Right now, it’s time to get ready…
So, what do you do when you’re feeling fat and slow leading into a century? Three Ups.
Suck it up, suit up and show up.
I’m not going to shake that fat feeling on the couch.