My Muscles are Revolting

Originally drafted 11/25 and magically not posted until now

No, I am not freakishly deformed (although the elbow is not particularly pleasant to view)…I just came back from a week off to do hill repeats with…dundundun…no cold weather gear! I know, some of you are reading this from the North East snowstorms thinking “what do these California people know about cold anyway?” Well, I think it is precisely that prejudice that made me think I could do yet another ride in sub 50 degree weather with nothing more than a pair of bike shorts and a long sleeved jersey…which, in turn, contributed to my leg muscles having a full on revolt after about an hour of riding. California isn’t supposed to be cold dangit! I am not a “winter jacket at 60 degrees” wimp yet!

Overall, hill repeats went well. Rather than doing our typical trips up and down Mt. Eden, Coach Don had us venture out the other direction and do a longer, rolling climb instead. I think it was intended to be a reward for showing up on a holiday weekend! The ride was nice; rolling hills, a stream, wildlife. Scenic. The kind of route that makes me wish I rode with a camera (but heck, if I can’t buy leg warmers…what are the chances I’ll bring a camera?). We did have to brave 5 wooden bridges, which were especially torturous on the elbow (10 really, since the route was an out-and-back), but other than that it was an enjoyable – albeit cold – trip.

I did have a bit of a scare on the return. Keep in mind that I am still pretty shaky on descents. My accident was on a downgrade, and this ride was the first real trip downhill I’ve had to do since then. Things started well. I got into the drops OK, and was pretty comfortable supporting my body weight on the crappy shoulder. I think I topped out somewhere around 25 mph (I know…I used to be such the speed demon…give it time), when I hit a giant seed pod from one of the trees in the middle of the road. Now, these pods are pretty large – probably 6 inches around – and are bright orange to boot…but my reaction time was slow and my front tire plowed into the thing. The bike shimmied and fishtailed, and I had a vision of flying over the guardrail (I was right next to a silver traffic railing over the stream), but ultimately I was able to stay in control. Woohoo!

And that was what put my muscles into full-on revolt mode. The cold weather plus that little shot of adrenaline, and I just couldn’t stop shaking. My legs started vibrating and no amount of long, deep breaths, counting, or logically explaining to myself that these things happen would make them stop. I managed to pull into the parking lot at the park and unclipped without issue. After a quick chat with Ron, I decided that I am probably not genetically deficient at biking and the cycling gods probably don’t really hate me. And the best way to prove that would definitely be to take the optional trip up Mt. Eden. Avoiding things doesn’t make them less scary, and there aren’t many bike trails that don’t have some kind of hills.

Only half the team set out to do the last (only) repeat (hey – Coach Don did make it optional), and I’m proud to say I was able to do the entire trip up without stopping. We recouped at the top and were chatting about spin class when we spotted the rest of the team rounding the last bend. It was definitely cool to see everyone voluntarily challenge themselves – even after initially planning to opt-out. One of those “Go team!” moments, for sure.

An uneventful descent, one dropped chain, and 4 miles later I was back at the truck and en route to Chipotle. Mmmmm Mexican food that I can honestly say I earned. Guess the season really has started! Gear clinic on Thursday, I promise to have all the winter pieces for the next ride.

FYI – The Garmin did make the trip. Distances and times to be updated once I get the darn thing outta the truck!

Update 12/11 – Woot for Data!
MotionBased Data: Hill Repeats 11/25

Total Time (h:m:s) 2:06:45 8:11 pace
Moving Time (h:m:s) 1:33:48 6:04 pace
Distance (mi ) 15.45
Moving Speed (mph) 9.9 avg. 34.9 max.
Elevation Gain (ft) +1,517/ -1,519

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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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