Sunday, March 09, 2014
Yesterday's long ride was not like last week's long ride. That's why we do these long training runs and rides. Not just training the body, but looking for potential weak spots and finding how to fix them, or just deal with them.
I had a learning another experience yesterday. It's not always the body or mind. It just might be equipment or environmental trouble. I learned how the environment could mess with your long runs. I'd find myself getting tired then recovering only to feel near exhaustion soon after. In that case, it was due to hills or 'false flats' where you think the surface is flat and smooth, but it's really a long slow uphill. They drain you physically and play tricks with your mind. I suppose even more when you're a senior citizen and a middle of the pack athlete.
So, back to my ride yesterday. I was feeling disheartened around the 20 mile mark. I kept wondering why I'm feeling so tired, why my legs aren't working like they did last week. Last week I felt great! Got in the zone and finished 47 mile with considerable energy the entire ride. I wasn't feeling it yesterday. Maybe I should have rested more the day before? Maybe 2 long rides in 2 weeks is too much? Am I eating and drinking enough?
So I got tough, embraced the pain and pushed on. I used my best positive thinking and decided nothing was going to stop me. If I am tired, so be it. I have to do this, so let's just get on with it.
The miles passed and it was time to go refill my Gatorade bottles with H2o - I pedaled on to the park with the water fountain. I was hurting, I needed a rest, too. I checked my watch, 27 plus miles. Only 23 more to go. I filled my bottles, stretched and hopped on the bike, stuck my feet in the cages. What's this? Each time I push down the bike stutters. Like I could feel it braking each push of the left pedal. I hopped off, spun the rear tire. Nice and smooth, no rubbing. Then I wiggled the wheel. It wobbled freely back and forth. Check the hub wheel releases and yes, they were loose. I realigned the wheel, tightened the wheel, and jumped back on.
Off I went. Oh man, this feels great. I felt like I was riding on air, and my pedaling was effortless. It was then I thought about how poorly I had been feeling all this time, all the energy I had 'wasted' during the last several miles as the wheel friction worked to slow me down. Veteran riders surely already know about stuff like this, and surely would have checked the wheels much sooner. But, I'm a newbie and still learning. Today I learned.
With renewed vigor I got moving, I felt like I was flying - my mood elevated instantly, realizing I might not be so weak, tired and old. But rather the victim of equipment failure.
So I finished my last 23 miles, even did a couple more. I won't say I was completed invigorated the entire ride, but I sure felt a lot better. I finished and felt fine. I stretched and did not sit right away. I ate, and did a few little chores around the house. Then sat and relaxed.
I learned I could still tough it out, if I needed to. But, I was able to 'fix' my problem this time and didn't have to rely on pure guts and grit to finish. I did okay and was almost pain free for the last part of this ride.
Thanks for reading and have a great day.