*Wherein I refuse to get off the floor because it is so comfy, or at least seems so compared to any more time in the saddle.
In just two days, our typical high-70s May weather has rocketed into the high 90s. Our routines are thrown a bit askew as a result – dog walks happen earlier in the morning and later at night, I tend to crave little else but fruit to eat, and I’m drinking even MORE water** than I did before (five – count ‘em, FIVE – bathroom trips in the middle of the night says I’m hydrated).
**Sadly I am still not drinking alcohol as today I really could have argued I deserved a mimosa at lunch. 2 weeks down, 4 to go.
The positive side of the warmer weather is that it comes hand-in-hand with ever-longer hours of daylight and workouts can be done even earlier. This morning, Nigel and I set out from an already-brightly-lit parking lot just past 6:30am for my 4-hour ride (i.e. this week’s big workout). While I don’t always wish to inflict my training sessions on others, I was thrilled that Nigel wanted to join me for the entire ride – it would make the miles pass by quicker. Jeff would be meeting us for one 25-mile loop but could not do the entire ride (he is playing hockey tonight and needs to save some of his legs).
We headed south into Almaden, warming the legs up. Mine seemed a little tired and I had to remind myself it is the last day of a high volume training week and they are bound to be feeling the miles. Further south – and uphill – to Calero Dam, where we hooked a left and bombed down the Bailey Hill (part of the San Jose International Triathlon course).
From there, I *thought* it would be a steady cruise south on the flats to Morgan Hill where we would meet Jeff. Oh how memory can deceive… In fact, (a) it is not flat at all but a gradual uphill that sucks the life out of you, especially when (b) there was a strong headwind the entire way and not a thing in that small valley to block it. Eventually we made our way into town and found Jeff who had been riding up looking for us.
A little further down and we turned west onto a reverse of the Tierra Bella route we’d done last month, finally meeting up with the Morgan Hill Sprint Triathlon bike course in progress. We rode the opposite direction of the race and were able to watch many strong cyclists hammer away as we rolled alongside Chesbro Reservoir. Boy, I love the *whomp*whomp*whomp* sound of a disc wheel. It seemed we were flying along now that we were headed north with Jeff, though sheltered by the hills from the tailwind we rightly deserved. I had really hoped to catch a glimpse of Sara racing (or Macca for that matter!) but we turned off the course before I spotted her. By the way, big kudos to Sara for finishing 3rd in the Athena division!
Back up to Bailey and down the hill to start our 2nd loop, back on the “flats” that weren’t, into the headwind. This time, we let Jeff pull us a bit but the wind and incline began to seep into our bodies, as the temperature was also climbing into the 80s.
Sidebar: This was my first ride with the ISM Adamo saddle. As noted on the packaging, I was definitely feeling some adjustment as my sit-bones were taking the bulk of my weight on the saddle – it was quite similar to the aches you feel when you first begin to ride after an extended gap and is expected to diminish with a couple more rides. The huge positive was that there was little to no pressure on other areas that had suffered under the reign of my previous saddle. The unexpected effect – again something I’m sure will adjust with time in the saddle – was on inner thigh muscles – almost a sensation like a groin pull. This whole saddle thing is fun stuff, isn’t it?
Anyway, we dropped Jeff back in downtown Morgan Hill (and used the spare water bottles stashed in his car to refill our supplies) and then Nigel and I hit the road, knowing we only had another 25 miles to go. We were hot and our legs were wearing out, but we knew this last stretch of the loop had been fun the last time through and that it was all downhill to home after that.
Note: Just because it was fun last time, doesn’t mean it will be this time. Just because it is relatively downhill, doesn’t mean it hurts any less.
By our 2nd pass through the triathlon course, the riders, volunteers, police officers and orange cones were gone. Everyone was on the other side of the hill at Uvas Reservoir, doing the 5-mile run (or in Macca’s case, I’m sure, a win in the bag and headed for the airport). Every hill seemed just a little bigger than it had last time, every bump in the road just a little more painful on the sit-bones, every blast of sunlight a little warmer. Oh, AND…the wind had shifted to its traditional direction in our valley of blowing from the north, so now we got a headwind again! Extra spe-cial!
I was systematically working my way through a 4-hour bottle of Infinit and drinking water from my aerobottles as often as needed. At one point, I think Nigel suggested how nice it would be to just stop and rest in the shade under a tree (I was reminded of Liz’s story about Chris falling asleep on the side of the road during a long ride). By the time we were passing Chesbro, all he could do was stare at the water and express his preference for swimming instead.
A bit of a slower ascent to the top of the last big hill and then it was time for more downhill mixed in the rollers. I was starting to get a little queasy at that point; I knew it was from the heat and drank my water even more frequently. Finally the last 5 or so miles on Almaden Expressway and I wished for a red light every time we cruised through a green, just so I could get a break. And then, we were done, waiting at the last stoplight to get across the intersection. I started wheezing a little from the heat. Good times. When we got to the parking lot, Nigel informed me that I was 0.2 miles short of my required distance, so I did 2 laps around the parking lot before getting off my bike hoping never to get back on it again. Or at least not for a couple days.
Nigel tossed his bike in the car and, leaving half his vehicle doors wide open, wandered across the parking lot to buy a Gatorade at the liquor store. I put my bike away and then just wanted to sit down. My car seat seemed too high though, so I just flopped on the ground next to my open door. You should have seen the faces on the next people who parked in the lot, taking in Nigel’s car with all the doors wide open and no one around and then looking over at me sitting on the ground. :)
When Nigel returned, we took one photo just to prove we were there today. I carried the camera all day but was too busy working hard to get it out. You are lucky you can’t see the layers of salt dried on my face.
So the last workout in a big week is completed. It wasn’t fun – and sometimes I need reminding that they can’t ALL be that way, often they are work both physical and mental – but it is finished. And I hit my mileage target in the specified amount of time. I win.
Training totals for week 21 (May 11-17):
Swim: ~7200 yards
Bike: 108 miles
Run: 22.5 miles
Total time: ~13.75 hours
(plus 2 hrs of yoga)
LESS THAN 4 WEEKS TO BOISE!!!!!!