Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Afterthoughts

Date: June 26
Mileage: 13.2
June mileage: 539.7
Temperature upon departure: 66

Today was a downer day for sports fans. Three guys dropped out of the Great Divide Race, including the only two I've actually met - Dave Nice and Pete Basinger. I know this kind of thing is a given in a race as difficult as this, but now I feel like I have nothing left to look forward to in the GDR. I guess the way in which that superhuman JayP is calmly chipping away at the record is pretty exciting. Still, I'm a bit bummed. Le sigh.

This morning I felt fairly strong, so I thought I'd head out for the obligatory "recovery" ride to see how all the parts held up. I was thinking back to the 24 Hours of Light and how that ride couldn't have gone more perfectly for me. The highs were many and the lows were nonexistent. If there had been any low points during the event, I know I would have instantly used my bum knee as a reason to drop out. But the low points never came. No muscle fatigue. No saddle sores. No stomach pain. Not even a decent enough crash to give me some writhing time on the ground to think of all the better things I could be doing to burn up an afternoon. There was nothing to even stop me beyond a vague idea of an injury caused by overuse that could likely be re-injured by overuse. But at at what point in the healing process does conservative become over-conservative? When does nurturing become babying? When do reckless leaps of faith become necessary steps forward?

In the day following the ride, I spent some time considering that precarious line. Because at some point, I'm going to want to be competitive, and I'm going to have to make a decision to ride long and push hard. After Sunday, I became convinced that I was ready to take that plunge. But today's recovery ride has me backpedalling again. After 13 easy road miles, I have a lot more soreness now that I ever had during, before, or after the 95 miles of Saturday. Maybe those 13 miles were the proverbial straw on the mountain biker's back? Or maybe this is just my body's way of saying that I wasn't quite ready for 12 continuous hours of Light. Something to think about as I hobble to bed tonight. Like I said, kind of a downer day for sports fans ... at least, for this sports fan.

But an e-mail full of random photos from Whitehorse definitely perked me up. Here's a few, in no particular order, courtesy of Jen:

The Vomit Comet. If you rode this spray-painted single-speed beauty with a blow-up doll mounted on back, your lap counted as two.

Anthony and Ben model their ultra racing gear.

Anthony sports his homemade hydration helmet.

Geoff and Brian head out for the last lap of the day.

The illustrious cowbell.

The downhill free-riders prep for some sunset madness.

Antonio was gunning for the combo best shirt/heaviest bike award.

Geoff scarfs down some midnight pizza. Ben becomes tired just looking at him.

Me and Chuck after our respective "last" laps (although I technically rode one more.) These are the 1 a.m. faces of people who know the pain is over and now it's time to really let loose.

Brian from Anchorage passes off the baton to Whitehorse Ben and his noble steed, Donkey.

6 comments:

  1. Definitely a bummer about Dave, Pete and John. Everyone sounds exhausted, and rightfully so of course. I wouldn't worry about your soreness today though. Body just needs to recover. Back on the bike in no time. Keep on truckin'. Logan

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  2. Wonders how many times the phrase..."gotta have more cowbell"
    was said ????

    Congrats again

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  3. I am suffering the same commitment phobes. I love cycling long, unstressful rides but today the muscles were up for trying.

    About time.

    It's taken me three days to recover from a hangover.

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  4. The mileage you rode in Whitehorse was totally in your range. What was probably not was the 12,000 feet of climbing, which was probably ten times what you have climbed since February. It seems like your knee acts up when you add tension - riding with weight (Susitna) and now climbing.

    Maybe that's where you should focus your training. Perhaps an approach where you do less miles, but add some climbing would really give your knee a chance to show where it's at. 80 miles sounds good, but I've always found 1,000 feet of climbing equates to 20 road miles, even if the distance and time out there is much smaller. It also seems like climbing is a true measure of fitness, whereas one can kind of fake it on flat roads. Maybe try to climb 500 feet one day. Then the next week, do a ride with 1,000 feet of climbing. The next, 1,500, 2,000, etc. Bump it up weekly as long as the knee is OK. If it's not ok, back down.

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  5. Recovery is going well. I think you're right. I definitely have only ridden easy lately. My body definitely isn't used to stress. Even if I didn't ride hard in Whitehorse, I still had to do those climbs.

    Must start small with the climbing. Thanks for the advice.

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  6. Talking to a lot of endurance riders around here. It takes them all a few days (2-3) to recover, sometimes longer from these long efforts. And they aren't bugged by a weak knee.
    dv8 is probably right, that you are ready now for some hill work, but take it in with recovery days.

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