Saturday, April 25, 2015

99.9, Wind and The Warbird


"You are  not getting any faster sitting there looking at me", he said.  "You should go" he reiterated.   That's how my husband was trying to get me out of the house to do a one hour spin class.  He had rotator cuff surgery on Monday and I wasn't sure if I should be leaving him yet, it didn't feel right.  Jim convinced me he would be fine and shooed me out the door.  On the short drive to class I thought maybe I should give up my spot for the DK.  I should be taking care of my husband, not riding my bike.  Jim needs me, right?

 Just ten days later the doc informs us that Jim's healing is going very well and to sit tight for another month until we start physical therapy. Oh JOY!  I am grateful that his pain is minimal and he is getting up and around more each day, we did a short hike 5 days post op.  Jim has been enjoying some great hikes, mushroom hunts, and is currently working from home.  Since he is doing so

On Sunday night I asked him if I could get in a long ride the following day, Monday.  I asked if he would be able to take care of himself and keep up on his meds while I was gone.  He convinced me that he would be fine and before he changed his mind I planned for a century. Riding 100 miles on a whim, why not?  I had to get this party started already.... It would be my first of the year.

Made my rice cakes too big, learning experience.

  While getting my gear/bike together I prepared some rice cakes to try as a fuel source. Jim checked  the weather and informed me that it was supposed to be high 40's to low 60's, not awful, just that difficult temp window for me to dress properly.  Is that temp with or without sun? LOL   Jim then belly laughed and told me that the wind was predicted to be 20mph gusting to 40mph, basically all day.  I went to bed thinking I could be a pansy and scale back the ride if it was too windy. I would need to remember to delete all my posts about it off FaceBook.

That's my "lets get down game face"

After putting my 3rd grader on the bus I loaded my bike, gear and made Jim breakfast.  I asked again if it was okay for me to be gone all day and he said yes, so I jetted.  Pulling into the Research Park parking lot I see one car, that's odd, it's usually full.  As I get my bike and gear ready I notice the wind.  Damn, the weatherman was right this time, it's windy, maybe it will stop.   I head west to Hermann, it's just under 49 miles.  I plan a quick stop at the gas station just a few blocks from the Katy to re-water, re- Butt'r, and refuel.  I didn't have a time finishing goal in mind, but had an idea of where I wanted to be. (Should have factored the wind)  My main focus was to stay on the bike and just get the miles done.  Little did I know, what kind of mental fortitude was going to be necessary to complete this.  I had no idea the actual effort that was going to be required, physical or mental.  My mind tried to screw me so many times.... It repeated awful things to try to get me to stop and give up.  Over and over I heard "just turn around", "go home and do anything but this", and "you suck, why are you still pedaling". It's a good thing I am stubborn and can let such things roll off my back.

My first hour ticked off relatively quickly.  I was able to maintain a 13.7 mph into the nasty headwind.  I felt like I could maintain that pace all day.  Then something happend, I stopped.  I didn't even have time to get all full of myself,  I was only able to maintain that speed for an hour.  As I reached Dutzow I stopped to take a photo and check in with Jim.  He gave me props and told me to get back out there.  I remember mentioning I may cut it short and just do laps of Busch Wildlife to make up the difference.  This is where my mind starting playing tricks with me.  By this point I had only seen two people.  My attention was drawn to watching the huge black birds/vultures circling me.  Was I going so slow that I looked like injured prey?  Why did they keep following me?  Would they attack if I stopped?  The mind throws a LOT of questions at me when I am alone. Can you imagine how loud my mind is?  Ummm, no, you can't.

Good spot to refuel

At several points during this ride I channeled my favorite Spinning instructor, Kelly.  She says stuff like "You feel good, you look good", "you are fast, you are pedaling smooth", and "you are strong, you can do this".  Normally I would love to hear these things, but all I could manage was yelling "SHUT UP KELLY" into the wind.  I did not feel good, I was pedaling like I was stuck in cement, and I felt like I had the strength of a wet over-cooked noodle.  Ugh!

I have to say that the Warbird handles the wind a lot better than my Kona.  I can't quite put it into words yet, but think of a hot knife a butter. The geometry of this bike is different so maybe that's it.  I also love the way the handlebars flare out.  Being in the drops is quite comfortable and gives me different hand positions, that seem to take the pressure off my shoulders also, if that makes sense. 

I came up with several alternatives to cut my ride short. My first idea was to ride to Marthasville, 25 miles, turn around and pick up the extra 50 miles riding the Hamburg and Busch Wildlife.  When I got to the  Marthasville trailhead my legs kept pedaling past it. Wait!  I thought I was stopping here?  My mind was screaming at me  "WHAT!?! YOU THINK THIS IS HARD, THIS IS BORING, YOUR LONELY, YOUR LEGS HURT...."  And then it was "Geez, if you can't handle this how are you going to fare at the Dirty Kanza" ?  So, I  pedaled onward.  

My mind was going to torture me, I should have turned around when I could.  Things went from bad to worse as I pedaled.  I saw only two people out walking this stretch, I was starting to really feel lonely when my husband texted me to ask me if I had turned around yet.  I was immediately pissed because I was still about two miles out.  Doesn't he know how hard I am working here????  Who the hell is he to think I am quicker than I am?  I dial his number immediately.

I called to make him listen to my heavy breathing, to make him understand how freaking hard this was.  He had no idea how  I was working my ass off.  I also tried to sound like I was having a good time.  He knows me well and saw right through my charade.   He knew I was having a rough day, he knew I was suffering.  I was alone, a little chilly, and just not wanting to pedal anymore.  My mind chuckled "you better have enough ass to get yourself back home".   

After reaching McKitrick I ride off the Katy to the BP for water and some fresh Butt'r.  Jim informed me that I should have a tailwind out of Hermann, which I did for about five miles.  I hate when he says "you are going to have a great flight home" because it never happens. The winds seem to turn on me, every time.  By the time I hit Trelor I had some serious wind in the face and gusting crosswinds. I was blown from one side of the trail to the other side, over and over again. I was tired and developing a bad attitude by this point.  Music always helps so I hit play.  First song was For Those About to Rock by AC/DC.  I immediately feel better and my spirit is lifted. My focus drifts from being alone, hurting and miserable to staying upright, drinking, and eating.  I was pleasantly surprised that the rice cakes were so awesome and sustained me.  Here is the recipe.  I will be adding a desert rice cake to my next ride.  I will be trying this recipe also. 

I used music for the last two hours, I hadn't seen anyone for several hours and needed to hear voices. The beat of the music helped me pedal faster and the time seem to pass quicker.   I couldn't believe how long this 100 miler was taking me, I figured I would have been home by now eating dinner. Damn, I add hungry to the list.  My mind takes this opportunity to let me know how slow I am, like I need a reminder.  I allow my mind to beat me up as I am too tired to fight it.  Yes, I am slower than most but I will get there, eventually I will cross the line.  My inner vice starts yelling at me "PICK UP THE PACE, PEDAL, PEDAL FASTER, PEDAL HARDER".  I look down at my Garmin and see I have 15 miles left.  YES!  Finally, I am almost done, well in about an hour.  

I was never so happy to see my 1998 Jeep Wrangler. I rode into the empty parking lot and felt broken, yet accomplished.  Even though I had many moments of self doubt I finished, I got it done.  I can only hope that this ride makes me stronger, mentally and physically.  I did learn a few critical bits of information that will be handy for the Dirty Kanza.  Plus, I got to ride the Warbird!  Damn, that bike is fun, even when it's not fun.

This beautiful hunk of FRESH salmon was waiting for me when I got home.  Than you Scott Nelson for the hook up.  I didn't even mind cooking it, it was absolutely delicious.  I am not ashamed to admit I ate like a savage right off the foil and not using a plate.  Hell, I'm not sure if a fork was involved.  

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