Saturday, September 27, 2008

An Educational Ride

I will admit it. I lost a mental battle on our ride today. I guess it was about time I had a bad one - all my training rides have gone so well lately. Thankfully it's easy to simply admit things did not go well and to identify what went wrong. I can chalk this one up as a learning experience and hopefully move on.

So, what exactly happened? Well, firstly the weather. Today delivered colder than expected temperatures and gale Northerlies. The wind got to me, badly, right from the start. We all met up at Freyberg as usual and several people remarked on how badly I was shivering as we waited to leave.

Dee had divided us into a slow and a fast group and the slow group had already left. Our pack rode through the city and up Aro Valley. I did RPM yesterday and was expecting my legs to be toast, but I didn't notice any particular soreness. I cruised up the valley reasonably easily and overtook most of the group on the way up. When I got to the top though I had to battle a little nausea which was the first indicator something wasn't right.

We rode through Karori and I got overtaken by most of the pack. This happened to me at the Pass of Branda last week as well. Very frustrating! It was at about this point I realised I wasn't firing on all cylinders.

Up the Makara hill and I managed to overtake people again. The wind was seriously playing games with me however. By the time we headed down into the valley I was starting to cave. I really lost it when Dee had us ride up South Makara Rd. All the undulations did a number on me and I was barely hanging on to the back of the pack. I folded about a kilometre past the golf club. The other Pip and I turned back and everyone else went on. Rounding a corner the wind caught me and sent me wobbling across the road. By the time I got back to the main road I was completely over it and just wanted to get home.

While we were waiting I had some Leppin and drank some more of my Replace drink. I didn't have any solid food on me as our cupboards were bare and I'd forgotten to stock up yesterday. I thought that the sugar would be enough but I should have known better. When I'm low on fuel I don't necessarily feel it physically, at least at first. Rather, I start feeling either grumpy or weepy. Today I took the weepy option. For much of the ride back up towards Johnsonville I just wanted to curl up and cry.

In retrospect of course the ride wasn't as bad as I felt it to be at the time. I was hanging on to the back of the pack and if I'd been feeling better I would have kept up easily. The wind was my primary issue. It was blowing me all over the place and I couldn't overcome the mental image of me flying across the road on my side.

The climb up to Johnsonville was a relief once it finally arrived, because I knew it meant the ride was nearly over. I climbed the hill comfortably and did a little overtaking again. At the top we stopped briefly at Concord Street. I took up Angela's offer of a banana, something I should have done at South Makara Rd. The food was exactly what I needed. Not only did I have more energy but I got over the whole wanting to cry thing.

Unfortunately fate had more in store for me. Just before we turned to go down Ngaio Gorge I dropped my chain shifting onto the large chain ring. I was annoyed because I was having a bit of fun trying to keep up with the more confident downhill riders and didn't want to stop. Vanessa helped me get the chain back on again and the two of us were off. I flew down Ngaio Gorge (well, for me anyway - I probably wasn't going that fast) and we caught the pack at the lights at the intersection with the old Hutt Rd.

So far, so good, until, shifting onto the large chain ring again, clang! Aaaahhhhhhhhh! So once again Vanessa and I stopped, got the chain back on and chased off after the pack. Rounding the corner on Thorndon Quay the wind hit and we both struggled to stay upright, ending up in the middle of the lane and thankful there were no cars around. I let out a startled yelp! The same thing happened at Waitangi Park and I was incredibly relieved to finally be able to turn into the Freyberg carpark.

So I was back - frustrated and a bit dejected. Writing it up though it doesn't sound as bad as I felt it to be at the time. I'm not actually physically tired, I just got knocked around by the wind and got into the wrong headspace. I also needed to EAT! I also have to remember - I'm riding with the FAST people. Last time I was the second-to-last rider in the pack. I can't be too hard on myself for having to work a bit harder to keep up!

I took Cleo off to Penny's and got a bit of a lecture about not changing chain rings when the chain is crossed. It wasn't something I ever had to worry about on Lola and, to be honest, when I'm changing I generally don't have any idea where the chain is! I guess riding this bike is a little like riding a sports car - they can both be a bit tempermental. I will just have to educate myself and treat Cleo with some respect.

That wind was frightening today though! This ride will I'm sure prove to be excellent Taupo training. I fought the battle today and I didn't quit and I didn't actually cry, even if I wanted to. I think I deserve an afternoon on the sofa.


Kate said...

From someone who DID cry today, and was punished with two hours on the horrid trainer, good on you. I am SO impressed with that ride and wish I could achieve half of that!

Pip said...

Oh, but you could! I will be at Freyberg at 8.15 tomorrow morning if you want to come for a ride. I'm aiming to be out for a couple of hours but the route will depend on who else turns up and how awful the weather is.

So two hours on the trainer reduced you to tears? I'm assuming the tears were incidental to the trainer.

Marshmallow said...

Oh Pip, reading that post had ME crying! Sounds like an ordeal of a ride, though you got through it, and undoubtedly it'll be one of the more valuable rides leading up to Taupo *HUGS*

Kate said...

Would love to Pip, but am running another Xterra tomorrow (red rocks, so should be insane). Riding down the Crescent in the cross wind, throwing a paddy around Te Papa, and arguing with Phil reduced me to tears, so we slunk off beastly trainer. Absolutely gutted- we were planning a fabulous mish out to the Haywards. Grr.

Pip said...

Marshy: Thanks for the hugs. Another learning experience! I am flying up to Auckland tonight but probably won't get to catch up. I'm planning a couple of early morning missions to LM Victoria Street but probably won't have time for anything else.

Kate: I can completely understand your meltdown and very nearly did the same myself. That wind was terrifying. If I had a wind trainer I probably would have been on it as well.

I haven't been out again yet today. Daylight savings meant I would have been up at what would have been 6am the day before and I just couldn't face it after yesterday. I'm digesting lunch and I'll probably head out in an hour or so. I'm going to do some hill repeats near home so I can practice changing chain rings without dropping my chain. Yesterday's technical issues knocked my confidence and I need to address them!

I hope the Tip Track treated you well. A bunch of my gym running buddies were planning on doing the same run. I would have loved to have been there but, you know, it's all about the bike!