We make holes in teeth!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

My Biking Reality

Reality kicked me squarely in the nuts this past Sunday when I rode Round Valley for the second time in a week. The week before was tough, but I chalked it up to just having a rough day. This past Sunday however, the lackluster performance returned and I have no choice but to admit what I am now forced to admit. I am not in the shape I thought I was in, nor that I need to be in, to ride in the 24 hour race next month.

Next month, oh my. It sounds worse than it is, since it's still "early" July and the ride is late in August. But still, 6 weeks from this Friday I'll be pre-riding the course to see how it feels. I'm not sure if that's a good idea or not, since it essentially burns up some of your riding mojo less than 24 hours before the race starts. But it's a good way to get a feel for what to expect. And if you bring enough food & water with you and go at it with an easy pace, you should be ok. Ideals, ideals.

But I'm ahead of myself. In my last post on the subject, I talked about possibly trying to post the fastest lap time I could on the first lap. To quote myself, "I'm also considering trying to post the best time possible, an endeavor that may end up seeing me ride 1 lap and then throwing in the towel." Right now, if I were to lay it all on the line, that would assuredly happen. I would cross the finish line and head straight for the beer cooler.

Ok, so what's going on? I did a Memorial Day ride with Woody and his brother Kevin and he commented on how fast I was that day. Perhaps he was a little out of shape. But I thought I had been doing a good job thus far getting ready for the ride, and it showed that day as I was feeling great and riding well. I don't know what's happened since then, but the past 2 rides at Round Valley have been a slap in the face, a clear wakeup call that I need to get my shit together.

Kirt suggested it could be the new bike, and there's some merit to that idea. I'm certainly not totally comfortable on the full suspension bike and I'm still on the learning curve there. Second, Round Valley is not Chimney Rock. The climbs are more brutal there and you pay if you're not ready for it. Third, with the 12 week old, I'm assuredly not getting as much sleep as I should. Fourth, as it pertains to #3, I drink too much coffee and it seems to be having an effect on my overall well being. Fifth, I'm probably not eating as well as I should. Scratch that, I'm not eating as well as I should. It's too easy to justify eating like crap when you're up changing diapers in the wee hours of the morning. Sixth, my brakes drag slightly, something which may or may not be hindering my ride. Apparently noise doesn't always mean lost power. But mentally it's there. Seventh, I'm not training with any sports drink nor food this year, just water. Eighth, I certainly don't ride as much as I did last year, so my base isn't what it was. Ninth, as of Sunday's ride, I had ridden 6 times in 9 days. Tenth, the ride starts by immediately going anaerobic, an awful way to start any ride.

Ok, so there are the litany of excuses. Take any combination you want and apply them to my piss poor performance of the past 2 weeks. A lot of them are valid, no doubt. But the reality is we all have excuses. And last year I probably could have come up with a list just as long why I wasn't riding well at any given time. But here are the 2 things that just don't add up, and make it likely that I'm not entirely full of shit. Last year, on the rigid, I rode Round Valley (solo) out & back (fire road return) in 1:40. That was the 4th mountain bike ride of the entire year. The second item is that I'm shattering last year's road bike averages. I mean, it's not even close. I'm probably averaging 1 mph better on the road bike this year as compared to last year. So there's certainly got to be something I'm doing wrong right now on the mountain bike.

I think the real factors are such. The new bike is one, and the immediate anaerobic climb is a really bad way for me to start. I usually suck for the first 20 minutes of any ride until I get my legs under me. This year I've ridden RV the opposite way, which is a more brutal way to start the ride. I think also that the food/coffee/sleep combo is a side dish. If nothing else were present, I wouldn't really notice. But it's just another straw on the camel's back. The one that probably hurts the most is the lack of sports drink and/or any sort of high GI food. You could probably throw in the 6 rides in 9 days thing as well as the fact I don't have as many miles in my legs as last year. They're probably related.

So there you have it. I'm 6+ weeks away and not remotely ready to live up to my 4.5 over/under for total laps. My ideal is 6 (3/2 before dark, 2 at night, 1/2 the next day). But that's a freaking pipe dream right now. The reality is that I'm looking at 5 if everything goes perfectly, and none of those laps are going to be my blistering best-ride lap that I hoped for when I signed up. In any event, that's where I am. I'm sure there are only 2-3 people who will read to the end of this post, the 2 likely candidates being people who were in my wedding party and who are also nicknamed after characters on a popular sitcom set in a bar. So for those who actually get this far, this is my first official excuse in what will be a series of 7 week excuses piled one on top of the other.


  • At 7:28 AM, Blogger eternity said…

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  • At 6:52 AM, Anonymous Woody (Cheers bartender) said…

    I made it to the end of this post, which is probably more than I'll be able to say about my first lap of the 24-hour race.

    6 rides in 9 days with no energy wonder your legs are telling you to go screw!

    My training regimen: 1 week of rest for every 1 hour on the bike. This will certainly have me in Prime Race-Winning Shape by the end of August.


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