That’s what I told Jeff when I rolled in from the last workout of the day. Everything else this week was just buttering me up for the big key Sunday brick, the first of many long days of work ahead.
Today we tacked distance on to a ride we’d done before and went further south in the valley than we’ve ever done – all the way to lovely (hahahahaha) Hollister. Hey, it’s flat and agricultural and quiet riding.
Before dawn, Jeff and I were in a Jack in the Box parking lot, getting our bike gear ready. I’ve never carried so many bottles on a ride, but I had 2.5 bottles of water, 2 concentrated bottles of Infinit (nutrition), and 1 bottle of sports drink (to even out my rear-bottle carrier).
You know you are riding long when the first HOUR is warmup. The sun was starting to peep out!
At the 5-mile mark, where George was to join us. He was running late so we went on to downtown Morgan Hill to wait for him. “George loves sprinting. He can catch up.”
Jeff said he was letting me set the pace but I think he just liked to stare at the “Hot” emblazoned on the back of my bike shorts.
On a random farm road in Morgan Hill and George is finally cooling down from his sweaty 6-mile sprint to catch us. Sorry, George!
Nothing out here but cows
Really? There’s a good-sized town up there somewhere?
Finally we did in fact roll into cute little downtown Hollister (full of empty storefronts!) and find ourselves a 7-11 for refueling. They weren’t letting us use the restroom though so we had to stop again on the way out of town for that.
We had made the ~43 miles south in excellent time and were feeling good about the ride thus far. 5 miles to the north, our fortunes changed as the valley’s mid-day headwinds started up right on schedule. Our pace went from an average of 18mph to something more like 11mph. Ouch. I wanted to pull to the side of the road and just cry, but I had 40 more miles to ride into that wind – time to just get it done. We crawled our way back north, trying to use routes with more trees or cover but it didn’t always help much. We weren’t so chatty after that, instead all fighting our own little battles with the wind.
Don’t talk to me, I’m in headwind hell. And. It. Sucks.
The last 6 miles from downtown Morgan Hill to George’s car, we formed a rotating paceline and took 1-minute turns pulling. We were just desperate to get out of the wind! My eyes were burning from salt and sunblock sweating into them, plus probably whatever the wind was blowing in there.
A snapshot of all of us at the 81-mile mark:
George is happy because he doesn’t have to ride anymore today!
I am relieved that we only have 5 more miles to our car.
Jeff throttles his wife because his longest ride since Shasta Summit Century LAST AUGUST (2008!) turned out to be such a suckfest in the wind.
Jeff and I pedaled on north to our car, finally on cool-down mode and spinning our legs out, though still facing the wind. And then finally, the Jack in the Box! The car! The end!
86.2 miles – done. I love when you went so far, the ocean shows up in the map.
From there, we loaded up our gear and I sent Jeff off to a local BBQ restaurant for a beer – for me it was time for a run off the bike. Despite all the pain the last few hours on the bike, I felt really good on the run! My leg (still taped) behaved beautifully and even though it was hot I did not feel underfueled or bonky. 30 minutes later, I jogged up to where Jeff was waiting, devoured a cornbread muffin and chugged 4 glasses of lemonade and soda. Phew! The first big week is done!
Training totals for week 37 (August 31-September 6):
Swim: 8550 yards (New highest yardage for 1 week!)
Bike: 114.3 miles
Run: 16.6 miles
Total time: 14 hours (New highest hours for 1 week!)
Plus 1 hour of yoga