Monday, September 08, 2008

Quick Update

First thing's first. Go to Steve Stenzel's blog and watch one of the funniest videos you will ever see involving a guy dressed up as the Grim Reaper.

Right, stopped laughing? On to the second big news item of the day. My student loan is paid off! Well, technically I have a $17.59 balance, but I've paid $33 in interest this tax year which will be written off, so actually the IRD owes me money. It's taken me nearly ten years to rid myself of the thing. Oh how sweet all that extra disposable income is going to be! How happy was I? So happy I opened a bottle of cider after my easy six km run tonight and drank it from a champagne glass. Never let it be said this girl doesn't know how to party. The run wasn't too bad either. For various reasons I was expecting to feel awful but in fact I felt great. It helped that the pouring rain stopped just long enough for me to get out around the Bays and back again and the lack of wind was an added bonus.

Rolling back in time - on Thursday I caved in, decided the weather was too awful, and bussed into town instead of riding Cleo. I did a circuit workout then after work I did an RPM class. Unfortunately Steven was teaching and the last track involved a series of very intense 15 minute power intervals. For the next few days I had tight little knots in my hamstrings just above my knees, and insanely tight quads in the same area above the front of my knees. I should have known better, but when it's only 15 seconds I figure I can ride through the pain, right? Mad Dog will be my downfall ...

My hip didn't like me either, though Margaret's Balance class on Friday seemed to help a bit. The latest release is, well, ok. The hip track is good but the sun salutation track is odd. I did quite like the strength track but I was supposed to be taking it easy. Huh ...

On Friday night the weather forecast for Saturday was for intermittent showers clearing. It poured overnight and the wind got up and by 7am the weather forecast had morphed into rain, with snow on the Rimutakas. Gearshifters was meeting up for our first training ride at 8.30. I felt a sense of doom. This could not be happening!

I wore my full-fingered gloves, my arm and leg warmers, a polyprop, my windbreaker and two pairs of socks. As an afterthought I threw on Hamish's lightweight raincoat. I think the raincoat may have saved me. I parked in the Freyberg carpark and somehow managed to park next to a huge drain into which the Nile appeared to be flowing. Standing at the back of my car to unload Cleo there was nothing for it but to stand in the middle of the deluge. It was a joke trying to put on gloves and shoes. Everything was soaked within seconds.

A small group of cyclists was huddled around the entrance to Freyberg. I joined them and was shivering with cold within seconds. The lifeguards took pity and we were allowed to gather inside the reception area where it was so warm and humid that I momentarily considered going home for my togs and swimming instead, but it was not to be.

In the end the ride turned out to be a bit of a fizzer. One of the trainers, Vanessa, organised four of us into our own little pack and we took turns drafting around the Bays. Vanessa charged me with chasing down a solitary cyclist up ahead and it turned out to be Carrie, the fastest cyclist of the last squad. I took that as a sign that I really am faster on Cleo.

As if the rain weren't bad enough the wind was insane. There was enough of a head wind to make things unpleasant but it was the crosswinds that were causing the biggest problem for me. On a bike that was a couple of kilos lighter than I'm used to and with my fancy American Classic wheel set crosswinds were not my friend. Riding around Pt Jerningham it took all I had just to stay upright. I was, quite frankly, terrified. I've ridden in much stronger winds, but this was something else.

As previously arranged we pulled into the Evans Bay marina car park to regroup. A very nervous group of cyclists looked around at each other. A collective decision was made. We were turning back. It was just too dangerous and many of the cyclists were too inexperienced to be out there. One woman in particular had only just bought her bike, having not ridden before, and had in all seriousness fallen off three times on her way to Evans Bay.

A small group of hardy types decided to press on through Kilbirnie, thereby missing the worst of the wind. My feet were killing me from the cold though and I was more than happy to be heading back to Freyberg. We gathered together dripping water all over the floor of the Parade Cafe and it took a good fifteen minutes for my feet to start to feel normal.

Ironically it cleared up that afternoon to reveal a huge dump of snow on the Orongarongas. Julia and I arranged to meet up at 9am on Sunday morning, again at Freyberg. I'd managed to wash and dry my cycle gear but my shoes and helmet were both still wet and I had to swap to my half-finger gloves. At least it was a gorgeous morning, if somewhat cold. We had two rides to combine into one, a 10-10-10 time trial and a one and a half hour ride. My legs were feeling like toast and I wasn't really sure how fast or how far I would be going, but there was no backing out.

We cycled easily round to Shelly Bay then it was all on. Cleo was complaining about having been taken out in the shoddy conditions of the day before. She seemed to have a heap of gunge in her brake pads so I stopped briefly to try to wipe them out a bit then chased off after Julia. It was a gorgeous day but I barely noticed as it was head down and full steam ahead. My dead legs were screaming at me and I felt like I was going nowhere. It seemed to take an age to creep closer to my riding buddy ahead. I was getting really frustrated. I should have been flying past her!

In the end I caught her in time for the ten minute rest interval. We hit the end of the rest at the top of the pass of Branda and I took off again. This time my legs were REALLY complaining. I only made it as far as the first round about in Lyall Bay, then got to stop for a few minutes until Julia caught up.

I had no idea why my legs were feeling so nasty. Well, I suspected it was the after effects of Thursday's ride and the accumulation of a few hard weeks in general. I was happy to take it reasonably easy until I left Julia on the climb up to Brooklyn, waiting again at the top and taking the opportunity to eat half of a Sculpt chocolate and cranberry bar. On the plus side, I rode up almost the whole way on my large cog. I love Cleo's gear ratio!

When Julia caught up we took off down the city side of Brooklyn hill and I faced my fear of death all over again. Boy can that bike fly downhill! It was all I could do to hold on and pray. I don't have a cycle computer on her yet but let's just say that I wasn't getting overtaken by anyone! I faced my fear of death multiple times on our ride back through town, down Taranaki Street and back around to Freyberg. The traffic was crazy. Alongside Waitangi Park I nearly got taken out by a woman running from the supermarket across the road to the farmer's market. I think she had seen a break in traffic but not seen Julia, managed to avoid Julia but then nearly ran into me instead. The look on her face was priceless!

So yes, after my weekend my hip was really complaining today and the pain was transferring down the front o fmy quad. Not good. I skipped a weights session, figuring I needed rest more than anything but couldn't let myself get away with doing nothing at all, so chose the flat, easy option for a run tonight. Of course I didn't feel anywhere near as bad as I should have done on the run and came away feeling really pleased. I probably only enjoyed myself that much though because I let myself take it easy. If I'd tried to keep up with Sally it might have been a different story. It appears I'm learning to pace myself, even if I forget sometimes!

Two RPM classes and hopefully Balance tomorrow, and I plan to fit in some upper body weights before spin to make up for the workout I didn't do today. Hopefully another run on Wednesday and, weather permitting, a ride into town on Thursday with a 15-10-15 interval session after work. Rest on Friday (perhaps Balance) then it's riding both days this weekend. Our homework ride on Sunday will be 2.5 hours.

I had a realisation yesterday that the next three months will see me pretty much tied to my bike each weekend. Until daylight savings kicks in my homework will have to be done on a Sunday with mid-week options a bit limited. It's a bit daunting in all honesty. Thankfully I have Cleo.

The reserve has been met on my Trademe auction so Lola is sold. There are 23 people watching the auction so I'm hoping there will be a bidding war near the end. Some people really can't read though. What is the point of asking what the courier price is to send a bike to Christchurch when the ad clearly states 'pick up only'? Duh ...

Oh well, if someone is stupid enough to buy and then need poor Lola transported they can jolly well pay the $40 to have her properly boxed as well.


Marshmallow said...

It appears I'm learning to pace myself

*falls over*

Who are you and what have you done with Pip?


Sass said...

Hm that link didn't seem to work:/

Pip said...

Oh, really? Darn. I'll go hunt it down again.