Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Gimlet Cave of Pain

Sunday was the OBRA Time Trial State Championships. I had originally planned to spend the weekend with Sarah T. and some other fine folks mountain biking in Oakridge. Had to scrap that plan after getting the prognosis on the shoulder a few weeks ago.

So I was left scrambling to find an activity that was at least that fun to fill up my weekend hours. Came up with the perfect plan: how about getting catastrophically trashed at a party on Friday night, spending most of the day Saturday trying not to vomit, then racing a 40K time trial on Sunday. So much more fun than epic singletrack.

My journey into the cave of pain started Friday afternoon. I took the day off from exercise and, as unfortunately happens on many of my rest days, I basically forgot to eat for most of the day. Two Americanos for breakfast and a mediocre tuna sandwich around 11-that was it. I really do know better, I swear.

I rode the Il Pompino over to the Pearl around 3:30 to get my hair cut and colored (red!). Here was the evening's drink count:

Glasses of white wine consumed while color processing: 2
Beers with Jeff and Shari between hair appointment and Twilight Crit: 2
Beers at Twilight Crit: 2 (?)
Beers at home between Twilight Crit and Susan H.'s birthday party: 1
Gimlets at Susan's birthday party: approximately 2. Who the hell really knows for sure.

Between 3:30 and 12:30 I ate a half a bowl of rice and beans and a piece of pie. This puts my rough and unscientific booze to food consumption ratio during that time at about 308:1. Which also means that at about 12:30am, I more or less fell off of the side of the mountain that I had been climbing steadily and loudly for the prior seven hours.

I remember (1) D and I giving a friend a lift home, and (2) brushing my teeth. And that was about it until about 11:00 the next morning. I think the last time I was that drunk was at Susan's wedding (a wedding in which I ended up in the pool twice: once wearing a bridesmaid dress and once wearing absolutely nothing at all). Damn Susan and her damn gimlets.

Saturday was interesting. Until around 3, I alternated periods of laying face down on D's bed trying not to puke while he worked on his TT bike with periods of laying face up trying not to puke. Against my will, we took the TT bikes out for a 20ish mile spin in the late afternoon. Can't say that was the most enjoyable ride of my life, but at least it allowed me to sweat out a bit of my misery. And I did feel better afterwards, but I think that had more to do with the post-ride Haagen Das than the ride itself.

Sunday morning came a bit to early for my liking, but I was over the worst of the hangover and was looking forward to taking the Kuota out and getting her up to speed. The TT was held in Peoria, a few miles east of Corvallis, OR. The course is a smooth and flat out-and-back that notorious for the headwind in the last 20K.

Colleen, D and I carpooled down together. I have a sneaking suspicion that Colleen will never ride in a car again if we have complete control over the stereo. Personally, I really don't have a problem with Paula Abdul remixes at 7:45am, so i have no idea what her issue was. To each their own, I guess.

I was scheduled to start around 9:37 and got in a pretty decent 40 minute warm-up on the trainer beforehand. I don't have a set warm-up, but tend to favor a few sets of 30, 60, 90 second ladders at 90% and at least one 5 minute set at about 80%.

The race didn't really start the way I had planned. My rear race wheel is really finicky and if the skewer isn't tightened exactly right, the wheel will either (1) fly out of the horizontal dropouts as soon as i put any major force on the pedals or (2) refuse to spin. Fifteen seconds in, I realized that I was dealing with the latter problem. So I had to pull over and fiddle with the skewer for about 20-25 seconds. Then went back to business.

I didn't realize until the turnaround that the headwind was coming from the opposite direction as it had in years past. So I spent the first 20K feeling like total crap...I couldn't sustain over 22 MPH for more than a few minutes and had to settle into a gear that I didn't particularly feel comfortable racing in. I just tucked in as much as I could (which limited road visibility and led to me riding straight through some serious roadkill) and tried not to think too much about how much the final 20K was going to suck.

The turnaround brought some serious relief. Tailwinds. I think I spent most of the last 20K at around 25 MPH and got up to 27 for a few minutes while pushing some gears that I usually only used on downhill grades.

Came through the finish at 1:04.50. Almost six minutes faster than my 2006 time. Good enough for first (out of two) in the Womens' Masters 30-34 division and...a new course record for that division. Not bad for someone who hasn't done intervals in months and, 24 hours ago, had been laying face down in a miserable heap of her own trouble-making.

Mt. Tabor is the turf for the skinny gals with light bikes. Flat, powerful riding is my turf. Granted, nothing about the race is particularly fun. Both of my piriformis muscles cramped as soon as I sat up and my feet and undercarriage were so numb I refuse to ride the Kuota again until I find a new saddle and better road shoes.

That being said...there is something totally bad-ass about TTs. There is no place to hide, spin or coast in a TT. No rest for your legs and no distraction from your inner monologue. Your team and your competitors have nothing to do with your results...its just you, the bike and the road. Gotta love the simplicity of it.

(Colorado Adventure Recap Coming Later Today!)

1 comment:

Kristin said...

"no distraction from your inner monologue"

I think this is why TTs are especially challenging; I just can't turn off the constant dribble flowing forth from my thoughts. Although that's how I know if I'm doing well--if I start thinking about the clouds or the trees or the weather or some other inane thing (estacada), then I know I'm not doing too well. I have to just stare at my HRM and think "PEDAL!"