Saturday, September 1, 2007

Aug 14, 2007. Scheduled ride 107 Miles; 7000 ft of climbing. Completed 70 miles; 3200 feet of climbing.

Happily, today involved just one turn so even Genny and I could not screw it up. A left out of the parking lot onto Route 1 down the California coast. The weather varied in the morning. The fog started to burn off early but we rode into and out of it throughout the morning and early afternoon.

The day was full of coastal “rollers,” that is consistent ups and downs throughout the day rather than yesterday where we faced two large climbs. Genny and I found them particularly difficult. They seemed to take more out of me than yesterday’s two major climbs.

Over the past few days, my rides have developed into a psychological pattern. First, the warm up. Basically, this is where the advil has yet to kick in, my knees try to tell my brain that they don’t want to ride until they get the picture that my brain is going to ignore them. Then, the scheming. With my knees getting the message and feeling strong as the advil takes hold, I feel bold and try to figure out how I can add 10 or 20 extra miles on the ride to make back some of what I gave up and make the full 1000. Then, riding. Not particularly strong or weak, just enjoying the day and working my way through the ride. Then, advil worn off, I’ve had a full day of biking with thirty or more miles to go, and I just want to be done!

We pulled into Point Arena for lunch and stopped at a place with “organic” burritos (mine had a spinach tortilla) and even “natural” soda. It seemed to do the trick.

Genny asked me what was the toughest day of the ride. There were two. The first was day 3, going up a 1000 ft climb, I had just had it. Psychologically, I did not think I could continue. And really, the hill was not that bad. A little shot of gu, a short term energy concoction, got me up the hill and by and large, so ended my psychological concerns during the trip. Jim Fitch predicted day 3 would be the toughest for me psychologically and it was. With respect to the most physically demanding day, I think today was it. I have no explanation as to why. Certainly, I’d had days with more climbing, but the pounding impact of the rollers was exhausting.

And so it was, having realized that I now had a goal of 900 miles instead of the 1000 miles, I was totally fine with stopping at mile 70 realizing that with one more day to go, 900 miles was all but assured. I pulled up at our rest stop and was quite happy to see Genny waiting. She described the exploits of Jim “Fly Boy” Fitch who had set a personal speed record of 50 mph that day. Understand that this is not easy to do. I do not believe I have ever broken forty! It involves a lot of things: the right hill, the right road (well paved, fairly straight); the right traffic pattern (light); good positioning; and pedaling as fast as possible while going down hill and, frankly guts. A blow out at that speed likely involves an injury crash (and I have friends who have had blow outs in the 30-35 mph range and now refuse to go over 25 mph downhill). Jim was so far ahead of me that the very real possibility existed that he would arrive at the hotel before we did (though he didn't)!

The restaurant had a great view of Bodega Bay. We had martinis (or at least I did—right now I don’t remember what Genny and Jim had since I am finishing this in September, two weeks later). I had oysters as an appetizer (as an aficionado, I enjoyed being on the coast, but it became so frequent, that they became routine.

What a great treat for our last dinner on the ride!

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