Sunday, May 24, 2015

Hairy Hundred 2015

The Hairy Hundred is neatly placed two weeks before the Dirty Kanza.  It is the final chance for me to see where I am at training and nutrition wise.  Having only two races under my belt before DK makes me a little nervous, but it's the same amount I had last year so.... Not actually 100 miles but 93 dam miles with about 6,000 ft of elevation. The course is nothing crazy until you add the weather. Hey, it's Missouri, anything can happen and usually does.

I met Hunter in the dark parking lot at 5:15am.  Sheeit, that is early, especially after getting about 4 hours sleep.  Within minutes our chariot pulled up, complete with driver. Steve seemed to be in good spirits and Derek said he feared he was still drunk.  The drive started innocent enough, we are chatting away and then the weather comes.  Rain!  What the heck?  I squirmed in my seat.  I became uncomfortable immediately and wished that I had a tarp to cover my Warbird.  He's gettin' wet!

I will apologize now for the lack of pictures.  My phone stopped ringing two weeks ago and didn't like me taking photos a few days after. As of now, the camera issue has been solved however it still does not notify/ring  when I receive a text or phone call.  Go figure.

We arrive in plenty of time to check in and get in uniform. I put on my Extreme Electrical kit and butt'r up.  It was still drizzling on and off,  I pulled out my rain jacket, put it on and then decided I didn't want to wear it.  If it rains then I will get wet, don't care.  There were about 70 of us lined up.  I look to my right and told Steve "if you guys get done before me and need to leave just toss my stuff in Nathan's truck".  The rain stops completely while Michelle says a few words about the course.  She was given major props for this event since she put a lot of time and effort into it.  Thanks Michelle, we appreciate it! Shortly after  I hear, "It's a little after 8, so GO" so we went. The mass of cyclists picks up speed and has me start out faster than normal.  My plan is simple.... ride with the group as long as I can and then ball it out on my own.  

It was just a few miles in on the Katy Trail and a downed tree put me off the back end of the group. Damn, hadn't planned on being on my own so quickly.  Suck it up!  The wind has made it's presence known, it's going to be a long day. I survived last year, I will survive this year. Hope I find someone to ride with. By 'with' I mean next to, to talk to and keep me company. I have several things to figure out during this ride.  Such as:  Am I happy with my tires?  Is my mental game on?  Is my fuel going to work? 

I try not to think about riding the wet gravel.  I can feel it coating my legs, hitting my elbows, spraying straight up onto my butt, inbetween the seat and smashing it firmly into my shammy.  Mmmmm, gravel goodness. I hear the pings of the rocks as they ting off my new bike.  Sorry buddy.  These are just battle scars, you will get used to it.  There were a couple places that had flooded, not too much though as we were able to pedal through it.  My feet were soaked early on but my shoes dry relatively quick.

A couple hours in you could really notice the temperature change.  Yay, it's starting to heat up and add just a twinge of humidity.  Nice!  And wouldn't you know it, that wind hasn't let up, not one bit. Super!  Around mile 25 or so I spot Steve and make it a goal to stay with him, insuring my ride home.  My plan was just to keep him in sight.  I roll up next to him and after a few words realize that he did a 100 mile road ride the day before and he is on a singlespeed.  My good feeling about my riding quickly deflates as I realize that this is the only way I can keep up with him, but I will take it.  The bike is good, I feel good, fuel is good, wind still sucks.

Steve and I ride side by side for hours. Those of you who know Steve know he can be inappropriate, cantankerous, and sometimes highly offending.  We chat about our spouses, bikes, jobs, etc..  He spots a lone chica ahead of us and he mentions I should step up the pace and catch her.  Steve is very entertaining and must have been on his best behavior.  I think he said the word 'dick' about 7 times but that was it. We each said our share of F words so those don't count. 

The wind was unrelenting, we got a 1 1/2 minute break when we turned a corner into town, that was it. Steve's company kept me talking and pedaling, he laughed when I screamed at the wind to STOP.  It didn't work but it was worth trying.  Within the last ten miles we spot the Walt's girl, she has been back and forth with us several times.   She pushes her bell as she passes us, kind of salt in the wound if you ask me, LOL.  She makes a wrong turn before she hits the Katy back, we have no idea where she is going.  Sooner than later, with about 5 miles to go I hear that f*cking bell again.  She passes us seemingly effortlessly.  I figure I have about 20 years on her, oh to be young again.  
Steve says "grab my wheel, I think I can close the gap".  I pedal and start to really 'get on it' and then back off.  I tell him "nah, if I catch her I want it to be by my own power.  I won't let you drag me to her".  My goals in this race have been met, I did this on my own, under my own power. I try my best to catch her, it's not happening.  I watch her fade off into the distance.  (Way to push Annette!)  

As we pull through the tunnel I see Steve hit his brakes and track stand.  We had a deal to finish together and here he goes pulling this kind of sh!t.  He bumps me over the line.  Whatadick!
We finished in just over 7 hours and I 'm pleased with that.  What is exceptionally cool is the fact that I still had a lot of fight left in me.  Wind be damned, I could have gone another 100.  Having been one of the 1/3 of the riders to finish DK in 2013 (only 331 out of  1000 finished)  I know what it takes to get through the wind.  Strong mental game and a good sense of humor.

Next up... THE DIRTY KANZA!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Fifty Shades of Frustration

Is writing about being frustrated going to frustrate me further?  Let's find out.

  1. the feeling of being upset or annoyed, especially because of inability to change or achieve something.

Today I turned myself inside out, or at the very least that is what it felt like.   I hit the Katy Trail at 930am, a full hour later than I had wanted.  I HAD some work to do and it couldn't wait. (frustration)
To add to it, I  stayed up too late last night and shared a couple of awesome beers with my hubby. (only 1/2 frustration)
 Six freaking days have passed since I have ridden my bike, due to various reasons that will be revealed later. (frustration)  As I began pedaling I wasn't feeling it... (frustration) and then something my husband said to me clicked in my brain. He said that most, if not all training rides should be uncomfortable in one form or another.  That being uncomfortable is what will prepare me for the Big Show.  Training rides are basically mini wars with the mind and body.  All you have to do is survive.  These are moments that build up your mental game and you can also find out what works and what doesn't.  If you don't practice 'in the darkness' how are you going to deal with it?

Just like a lot of you reading this..... I am frustrated.  Bike frustration!  Before you get too carried away thinking this post is going to be one long bitch session I can assure you it is not.  I take full responsibility for every decision.  I haven't figured out how to be in two places at once yet so I have had to make some frustrating choices.  I know I am not alone in this.   I received a text today that read "I'm just so tired of having to be responsible for so many things and not doing what I want to be doing.  It's starting to wear on me bad".  I texted back  that he was preaching to the choir.  I know full well of what he speaks.  Being responsible includes being a good human and doing the right thing in spite of what you really want to do. Don't misunderstand.  I do not regret any of my choices of family over the bike.   I missed Maises Pride in Kansas because my Mother in law only turns 65 once (and I like her) plus Jim has not been cleared to drive.  It was the correct choice to make but still frustrating. Another example, I had a longish ride scheduled for yesterday until I received a phone call from my son's girlfriend.  She was in desperate need of a sitter for the exact time block of my ride. It was a no brainer.   I really like her and one day that little boy may be my grandson. Still frustrating.

I have witnessed frustration in my own home.   I'm sure that Jim, five weeks post-op, would really like to ride his bike. I know he misses it.  At the Brommelseik race I watched a friend limp across the park from having  knee surgery.  He's frustrated. However, he has most likely been given clearance to ride the trainer by now.  (frustration)  I know a few cyclists fighting a nasty neck twinge. (frustration) With just weeks to go until DK this type of nagging pain is worrisome.  Makes one question if they can survive the mileage with such an issue.  I can't imagine enduring constant neck pain while riding gravel for 200 miles. (beyond frustration)   I know injuries suck. I've been there, several times, and  I get it.  However, I wonder which is worse; being injured and not being able to ride or being able bodied and not being able to ride because something constantly comes up. It's a balancing act either way I look at it.

Can a certain amount of frustration actually be good for any athlete? Possibly.   Not getting what you want, when and how you want it is all part of the master plan.  It's good mental training for shit to go sideways and rides not to go exactly your way.  Good training rides that boost your confidence through the roof are just as necessary as those bad rides that make you question why you even ride a bike at all. Mental training is a necessary evil so it's good to have some experience with it.  Frustration is definitely mental training.  

 After giving it some thought, could all of these frustrations actually be days of recovery?  Days that were  not factored in to rest and recover during the week?  Or possibly these choices are karma building opportunities, chances to be a good human.  Perhaps the moment to be the most awesomest wife or Mother.  My daughter is nine and has quite a bit going on in her world.  I want/need to be present at her stuff. I don't want to miss a soccer game, gymnastics, or after school activities.  She is growing up so quick and I don't want to miss anything.


Although my pedal had started out miserably I was able to set and meet the two goals I had made for the ride.  AC/DC's "For Those About To Rock"  was the first song to come on my Ipod.   It had to be a sign, a sign to get serious and really push.  So, that is what I did, I pushed, as hard as I could.  I wanted to see how fast I could go and how long I could maintain it for 50 miles. I also wanted to hit 16mph and maintain it for as long as possible.  The wind howled in my ears as the music flooded my brain.  I tired to keep tempo to the beat of the music, gear up or gear down as necessary.  It was windy and only 74 degrees. Why was I sweating?  Possibly the beers?

Long story short I managed to average 15.8 for 22 miles.  I kicked it up a notch over the next eight miles and brought my average to 16.2.  My average ended up settling at 15.3 for 53 miles.  The good news is that last year I did the exact same 50 miles and it took me 10 minutes longer, so I beat my time by 3 miles and 10 minutes or about 20 minutes faster!  Yay for progress!! Or is it the Warbird?

I tried a new fuel source also, CarboRocket 333, raspberry flavor.  Momentum Cycles carries it for a reasonable price and it comes highly recommended so I thought I would give it a whirl.  I mixed 3 scoops in each water bottle as directed and it was the perfect blend.  I do not care for sugary or sweet drinks, it was not sugary/sweet at all.  Just a faint hint of raspberry flavor, just the right amount in my opinion.  I sipped on the bottles regularly throughout the morning and can say it was a success.  No stomach problems, no jitters from the caffeine, and the taste was good.  I will use it at the Hairy Hundred this weekend and see how it performs.  I hope to have found my nutritional piece of the puzzle.

Keep on graveling,
Wendy and the Warbird