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