Tuesday, July 14, 2009


Sunday was my last long ride on the last day of a three week build cycle with a bike focus.

Tony and I decided to ride out toward Searchlight and back. Tony suggested this route for variety and because there aren't really that many hills out that way. Except that going out, after sailing down past the dry lake bed (30+ mph), it's pretty much a grinding incline the rest of the way. Nothing bad though.

When you start riding at 5:45am, the first couple of hours are actually pleasant. Plus most of the trucks on the road were extremely courteous, going into the far left lane when they passed us. Nice! We also got a "way to go" honk from some guy driving a Ryder truck and towing a car behind.

The way out was uneventful.

On the way back I got a flat. First flat since Silverman. Woot! Almost eight months with no flatting -- I'll take it!

Glenn chastised me a couple of weeks ago for not paying enough attention to how my bike handles. He was NOT impressed that I rode for four hours with the front tire rubbing against the fork. I should have noticed it pulling to the left, stopped, and fixed it.

Of course, Glenn is totally right! Pay attention to the damn bike, especially during long rides!

So, when I noticed that something felt a little "off" while cruising at a nice 18-20 mph in aero, I stopped. Sure enough the front tire was spongy. Slow leak. It pays to pay attention.

Tony changed the tire for me. He's so nice. By this time it was really HOT out and getting off the bike I experienced just a HINT of nausea. Oh God! I don't do well when nauseous. I looked around for a bush just in case but there really wasn't one large enough for me to hide behind. I silently cursed the desert.

Thankfully once I started riding again it disappeared and I had no problem drinking my hot Gatorade, hot Perepeteum and hot water. Sounds yummy right!! It WAS.


Only the Luna bars tasted normal. But dry. Had to wash them down with warm water.

This ride was good overall and I was feeling strong until we got to the dry lake bed and had to grind up the hill we had sailed down about three hours earlier.

By this time it's about 95 degrees out and on that hill there was no breeze. No breeze at all. Not even a whisper. It reminded me of sailing downwind. When you sail downwind any breeze that exists is directly behind you and when it's hot out it feels even hotter. Like 10 times hotter and the air feels thick and still.

That hill was by no means the steepest or longest hill I'd climbed. But it seemed to NEVER END. I felt oppressed by the heat. A wave of heat moved through me, then another. You know how you can "see" the heat on blacktop if you look? It felt like THAT. I seriously got scared that I would need to stop and if I stopped there was no way I would start again and someone would have to come and rescue my ass. I couldn't let that happen.

It finally became unbearable and I screamed "FUCK," at the top of my lungs, started blubbering, whining, and breathing really hard. I was very VERY angry!!! At the heat, at the hill, at myself, at Tony, at everything. All rational thought flew out the window and I became worried about things like my brain melting, suffocation, and lying on the side of the road being beat upon by the sun with no one to rescue me in time.

Not my proudest moments. In fact I was a little ashamed. The only thing I kept doing that made any sense at all was taking in my nutrition. YUP. I'm just that paranoid that without enough calories, salt and water I will surely die out there.

When we finally reached the top of the hill the breeze reappeared, the road flattened out and everything got much easier. The breeze was there all along it just didn't reach us in that little pocket of hell.

I wasn't done though. I told Tony "I love you man" and proceeded to let out another string of curse words and obscenities. This time though they were chased by maniacal laughter, rather than desperation, fear and shame.

Tony asked me if I still wanted to run after the ride and I said hell yes. Liz will ream my ASS if I don't run after.

The run was a mixed bag. On the one hand, my nutrition had settled really well, my legs were there and I had energy. On the other hand it was terribly slow, and I still felt oppressed by the heat. This is how all of my longer runs off the long rides have been. I'm seriously concerned with how my run will go up in Utah.

It will come down to a choice of how hard I push myself. I struggle with that all the time and it frustrates me. This workout gave me confidence that I can certainly handle Utah. I can do the distance. The high up there should only be 90 or so and the race is billed as "flat and fast." It is approaching 110 here and will climb higher in the next few weeks. And here it is hard to find flats to practice on that are long enough to do any real distance.

What this means is I've been working hard. Some days harder than others but I've been getting all of the workouts in. I want to do better than just getting the workouts in, but some days my mind just doesn't like to cooperate. I'm also afraid I will be DFL in Utah and I don't want that. Though realistically I think that if that happens I probably wouldn't feel too badly about it in the moment.

This is only my second 70.3. I'm sure these thoughts and feelings are somewhat normal. They are certainly normal for ME. But still I feel like there are flaws in my approach that I want to correct. I guess it's a question of how badly I want to correct them.


Wes said...

I love this. This is the type of determination and perseverance that will serve you well. and next time, you change your own damn tire...

Wes said...

:-) lurve ya!! :-D

Molly said...

You're a superstar for putting up with all of that! I'm a baby for getting out early when it's only going to be 95 here. I think it's completely normal to go through that kind of meltdown in those conditions but you stuck it out and got your nutrition in and everything. Definitely a good workout to put in your bank for your upcoming race!

Formulaic said...

Dude! I am so sorry I missed the ride with you


Sounds like a sufferfest but you made it through. And that is huge. Yo are gonna rock Utah. You will have the strength to get through it. It's indside of you.

Lisa Slow-n-Steady said...

Not a fun experience, but you got through it and you didn't quit. I believe it was an exercise in Mental Toughness as much as anything. And you passed with flying colors. :-)

Alisa said...

You got through it that's what counts! I love that you screamed at the top of your lungs mid-hill...I've so wanted to do that on long runs but never had the courage.

I LOVE the heat, I'm a wuss in the cold...however, going running after a long bike ride in 95+ degrees is even a little much for me. Way to git 'er DONE!!

Stefanie said...

Great job on the ride. I have soooooo been there with the cursing and crying. It is a cross between despiration and anger.

Great job pulling through and then running too. You Rock!!!

Sarah said...

My training buddies have seen me at my worst. Man, oh man. I still think about a day I had just like yours - I was actually out riding with Wes in Cartersville. I didn't have enough fluid with me and it was hot enough to sizzle myself on the pavement. I just wanted to curl up and cry. But I got through it. And seeing the bad days and how you overcome them is so empowering.

I so wish we lived closer to train together.

Congrats on pushing through it and running. So proud of you!

KodaFit said...

The benefit of practicing on hills is that it makes the flat seem that much easier, and the heat that much cooler.

Way to tough it out though, in spite of the heat! You're going to rock the half.

Oh - and I was talking to someone who did it last year, and he thinks he remembers the last half of the run being in the shade, which I'll take!!

Keep up the good work!

WADDLER26.2 said...

WOW - way to hang in there on the hill. I am so impressed especially in the heat! You rock!

Kelly said...

Oh Stef, you are going to do great in Utah! And enjoy the rewards of all this hard, hot training on a fast, flat course.

I've always wanted to ride out thay way. Maybe in the fall. you didn't sell it that well though ;-)

SWTrigal said...

OH good..I am so glad I am not the only one that throws tantrums while riding!

Jade Lady said...

Thanks for sharing! It sounded like a really tough workout. U keep pushing though! You are amazing. You inspire me! Have a great week!

ShirleyPerly said...

Stef, the way I see it, you did a lot of things just right. You did a bike check when things didn't seem right, you kept up your nutrition, you knew why that awful section felt so hot, you did your run after that ride, YOU DID NOT QUIT.

So what if you broke down and had a mini-tantrum? The important thing is that you pulled yourself together and held yourself together. Just like you will do on race day if you happen to experience extraordinarily difficult conditions (but I doubt you will) because you did it in training. Good job being there and getting it done!!!