Monday, March 12, 2012

Long weekend

As always this early in the season I ride outside when I can. This weekend offered up two days for me to ride outside. A group of 7 of us hit Barry Roubaix on Saturday morning. Temps were in the 20's again, but the sun was out and temps were going to approach 60. Unfortunately, I still had to dress warm....double layer of socks, toe covers, pants, under armor, and wool jersey along with a set of ear warmers and dual layered gloves. Yuk. At any rate, we headed out for 31 miles of torture. Jody, Dwight, Charles, Eric, J.J., Jay and I headed out.

Conditions were awesome. It may sound dumb, but the torture this course dishes out brings a smile to my face. I see the hills and just think "what the hell am I doing". I was feeling pretty good. Our groups kept breaking into fractions of riders stringing out for a mile or so at a time. Dwight and Jay led the charge. Jody and I rode together, then Eric and I, and then solo again. It was musical riders! lol. We plugged on and would regroup at the intersections.

I started to think about the race. How will the pace be? What will the weather be like? What the hell am I doing? I just kept plugging along and looking at the hills. Making mental notes of mileage, what kind of hill, what is to come.....Damn it's windy. I got to the last turn before the pavement ride to the finish and I stopped to make sure the rest of the group was coming. Once they caught up I hit the pedals again for the remaining 5 miles. Pavement....finally. The home stretch where I proved to myself what kind of rider I want to be nearly a year ago. I don't feel like I have the power I had last year, or maybe it is just because I am heavier, but it felt good to get on the pavement and push the pace. The long long climb is just brutal. I feel like I am spinning forever to reach the top. Finally the peak, and time for a descent. Just a week ago this descent was pretty hairy. Blinding snow made the descent seem short, but the sun on Saturday was making it just awesome. I flew up to the stop sign, rolled the intersection and powered to the Long Lake Outdoor center to finish. Just over 3 hours. Not super fast, but faster than last week. I was left hopeful that I can eclipse my time from last year and make a nearly 10 minute improvement.

Sunday temps were supposed to be in the 60's and I could not pass up another opportunity to ride. Dan and I got to Yankee Springs around 11 and headed down the warm up loop to wait for the rest of the group. It felt pretty good to be riding in shorts....considering how many layers I had on just 24 hours earlier. When we got back to the trail head Paul, Summer and Jody were there getting ready. Off we went! I was feeling okay but I could tell I was riding sloppy. I was bouncing around and barely staying on the trail for the simple fact that I was worn out from riding Saturday. I was feeling okay until the trench climb. Legs just went....blah. I just dropped into granny and spun until I got to the top. I will keep riding....but I am gonna be slow. The group was waiting for me...and off we went yet again.

The rest of the ride was brutal. Legs had no umph. What I did do was tell them to shut up and keep going. I only missed two climbs...and it wasn't by very much....one of them was because of sloppy handling skills. When the mat climb presented itself Dan said "go" and even though I was 100% ready to throw in the towel and walk, I rode up that damn hill for only about the 4th time ever. Made it. Now can I stop? Nope...still 5 miles to go.

I finished by myself. Back of the pack. Done. 13 more miles. Today was a rest day...thankfully. I am feeling it from two days of hard riding. I will be stronger tomorrow. I am stronger today. I told my legs they were dumb pistons...and they were not allowed to stop.....I overpowered my legs with my mind. One more step on the long road that I am on. Slowly....but surely....I will get there......

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