Hells Yeah Five!


Alternate Title: Endorphins – My Anti-drug

I showed up for hill repeats tonight expecting to either have to quit early or walk at least once. See, I’ve been slowly cutting back my 3-espresso-shots-per-day-minimum coffee habit as part of my training regimen. It’s likely a worthy endeavor (drink more water! less caffeine!), but has the side effect of giving me some pretty nasty headaches. If you believe random stats that I read somewhere on the web, apparently something like 13% of people suffer extreme migraine-style headaches if they go off caffeine cold turkey. I am so in that minority.

Anyway, I got to repeats still fighting back the remnants of a headache really just hoping for the best. Between stress over the new saddle positioning and the incessant deep-brain throbbing, my “bring on the hill” face was probably suffering a bit. I managed to grab two faux-Advil at work, but they really didn’t seem to be helping. Still, I knew I needed the workout and set out to if not tame, then survive the hill. Besides – if I didn’t go up at least once, I couldn’t really justify my free Chipotle dinner!

Round 1:
As always, we started with a moderate exertion, easy pace for the first time. This round was actually my personal best as far as progress up the hill. I made it passed the weird bear thing, almost to the wooden fence before turning back down. Best part? By the time I got back to the start line, those lil’ endorphins (I think) were flowing, and my headache was pretty well gone!

Round 2:
Spin baby spin! OK – I seriously didn’t have a lower gear in which to drop, but I did make an effort for at least 1/3 of the way to spin more than I had the time before. I didn’t get as far this time, but was feeling really good by the time I got back. What headache?

Round 3:
Coach Don had us jump up a couple gears and focus on a push-pull motion in the clipless pedals. I set out for this one convinced that I wouldn’t be able to make it. I mean seriously, if I can’t hit the top consistently in the lowest gear, how on earth would I do it in a higher one?!
Surprisingly enough, this round went really well! I could feel a HUGE difference in the amount of forward motion I was able to get when I concentrated on what my feet were doing. Granted, I wasn’t able to do it the entire way up (had to do a squish bit of high gear spinning), but wow – what a change.

Round 4:
Stand up to the top. Mwahahaha…right! Actually, this went better than last week. I made it all the way to what I refer to as the “worst part of the damn hill” out of the saddle (curve to the left…sharper bank than the rest…grrrrr). Giant improvement over last time. And then I sat down and couldn’t get back up. I burned a TON of energy and was feeling pretty rough by the time I hit the top. But hit the top I did!

Round 5:
Get the heck to the top, however you can. Basically? I made it! There was some huffing, a lot of puffing, silly amounts of mental reminders to forcibly reeeelaaaax (seems like an oxymoron…no?), a good bit of coughing, and not enough breathing…but I made it up. Woohoo!

Also, big thanks to Ruth (from the winter team, I think) for helping me adjust the new seat a bit. My knees were feeling a LOT better on the ride home…just gotta figure out how to keep the rest of the pieces happy. 😉

I rode back down feeling pretty darn proud of myself. It’s exciting to see myself and my teammates improve week over week – keeps me motivated. There will be bad training days to come (I mean seriously…that’s just how life works), but the good days are definitely worth it!

OK – that’s all for now. The happy-brain-chemicals must be wearing off, ’cause the head is kinda pounding. Time to watch some Green Wing and have a recovery …water, I guess. Drink more water! Check back tomorrow for more food reviews; I’ve found a couple that are promising!

Distance: 14.8mi

Time: gah – forgot to grab this one

Avg MPH: 10.3

Max MPH: 30.9

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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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