Re-memory


It’s weird the things that you forget with just a little time off. Like downshifting before a stoplight (see, I’m working to drill that one in Don!). Or eating bananas before rides. Or putting on both gloves before rolling (that one only happened once… so far). Or how much false flats absolutely suck. Especially false flats that you’ve ridden at least a dozen times before… the other way (and at least twice in the correct, terribly deceiving direction). Well, I can tell you for certain that I’ll remember one of those things… for at least the next week or so.

The team met up for our time trial (er… ummm… “timed ride” — don’t want to unduly threaten the new folks) last Saturday. We were quickly divided into ride groups by expected speed, and lined up along the parking lot awaiting the signal from our benevolent (or at least pretty patient) Time Mistress. As there were seven sets of cyclists, we opted for number designators rather than multiple iterations of the “fasterererers.” I requested a middle group, and ended up riding out with a small team of Fours.

The loop was a quick 11.5 mile run around Portola Valley. I made a fast start down Portola Road and (surprisingly) climbed the “easy side” of Sand Hill at a reasonable clip. Seriously! I’m pretty proud of climbing anything in the middle ring at 10mph! I managed to pass my fair share of early groups (slower riders start first so that we all end around the same time), but was quickly eclipsed by the Sixes… and probably some of the Fives on our descent. What can I say, I still play those downgrades pretty cautiously — although I’m *starting* to feel more confident.

I very nearly took a spill just before our turn onto Santa Cruz. I was buzzing along, chasing someone’s tail when a car full of rabidly raving hounds (or, more accurately, a pair of woofing fuzzballs) pulled along side of me. The noise pretty much terrified me and I swerved a bit… just enough to clip my front wheel on a good sized orange rock. I managed to keep the bike upright, but the rock did fly into my chin, leaving a nice little nick on my left leg. Jamie’s first injury of the season? Done.

And then… the devil’s road (aka Alpine). It looks flat. Heck, I’d swear to you that parts of it look to be downhill. But it absolutely is not. In fact, the stupid route is steadily climbing, teeny tiny bits at a time. Your paces starts to drop 16… 14… 12… 11. Eleven?! I start giving myself crap (in my own head of course). I’ve been flying the whole way! It’s only eight miles in! How is it possible that my legs are so blown that I can’t stay above a freakin’ ELEVEN on FLATS?? And just for extra bonus fun, my new bike absolutely refuses to shift into the gear I want. I can go one up or one down… but the middle front ring, 3rd-ish biggest back one pops and clicks and sounds something like Chittychittybangbang every time I drop in. So I grind the Alpine miles out in too large of a gear (and at too low of a speed), kicking my own ass (in my mind) the whole way.

I hit Portola Road again, and the world realigns. My legs can once again spin. I pick up the pace and roll into the parking lot after about 43 minutes all told, irritated with my performance. I toss the clicky bike into the car and recap my ride with Coach Keith. I complain about how much I slowed on Alpine, only to have him remind me that the road is uphill in that direction. Light dawns. Oh. Right. I’ve only done this route three times now. And I ride it super fast the other way every Sunday. I knew that! DOH!  Of course, I still think I could/should have done a bit better – but I’m a lot more calm after that (hey, at least I wasn’t actually utterly burnt in eight frikkin’ miles!). As for the bike, she’s probably due for her 30 day tune up; a newly stretched cable is probably futzing with the gears a bit.

With evil hill memories quickly fading, I spend some time directing the participants to our various bike skills clinics. Our coaches are drilling riders on braking, core control, bike lifting and slalom stations. I lend a hand mainly by taking pictures and cheering, and was glad to see that a lot of people seemed to learn at least a little something new.

Riding the lines

Weaving through the cones

Lifting the bike

Once people finished their clinics, we all headed to our team breakfast at Mike’s cafe. Despite our best “staggered arrival” efforts, I’m pretty sure we overwhelmed the waitstaff instantaneously. I went with a well deserved repeat of my last meal here – belgian waffle and bacon – and enjoyed the opportunity to get to know even more of the folks on our team.

As for the Garmin data, let’s go ahead and declare a Giant Failboat right now. The darn system was definitely working when I rolled out of the parking lot, but somewhere around my first stop light I must have just barely nudged the sensor. We lose rpms somewhere around 15 minutes in… and I can guarantee you that I didn’t do the last 30 minutes as a no-pedaling descent! I was so confident in my installation skills from the night before that I never rechecked the monitor after the first couple miles (I even sent Don a celebratory email… only to find out on the online player that the signal dropped). Oh well, everything else is still there!

TNT RIde #2 Timed Ride

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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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