Sunday, August 31, 2008

We're almost there!

Hello my fellow followers of my infrequently updated blog.

So I missed training rides for two weekends in a row. Not only did I not ride on the weekends, I pretty much didn't ride AT ALL for two weeks. That last update when I said I was going to ride with my coach on Sunday? Yeah, I didn't go. I woke up with some gastrointestinal issues and that is something you do not want to be riding with. During that next week my mom was in the hospital for a knee replacement surgery so immediately after work I'd head to the hospital. Yeah, I could have ridden but when you have to get to work early and don't get home until 8 or 9, it makes for a long day. All whining aside... The next weekend mom got discharged on Saturday so I had to be here to make sure she was settled okay, etc. The next week was craziness at work and I just didn't have the energy.

So along comes Saturday the 30th. 80 miles scheduled. Starting on Marine Drive (at 33rd) out past Multnomah Falls and back. Epic. Here is my story.

I woke up tired and grumpy with a bit of a headache. It was a cloudy and cool morning which was perfect riding weather. We headed out on Marine Drive for a fast and flat first 14 miles. We hit Troutdale and then started our gradual climb up the Historic Columbia River Highway.

It was totally gorgeous of course and the climbing while a bit long was not too bad. This guy who was traveling by bike (4 panniers and looked rugged) was doing the route. I'd pass him then have to stop. He'd pass me. It was kind of funny. He was just plugging along. I told Ellen - he's going to make to the falls before me!

We get to the Portland Women's Forum for the first SAG vehicle stop.
I replenish water, whine a bit and eat something. My head wasn't feeling any better and I just felt crappy all over. Yet it was nice to be on the bike again.

We then started a descent down towards Multnomah Falls for MILES. It was so much fun. I topped out on speed at 29.2 but it was pretty curvy so you didn't want to get going too fast. Of course the entire time I was descending I was thinking "uh, there is no way in hell I'm riding back up this!!"

I make it to Multnomah Falls, break for a bit, whine some more and take two Tylenol Noreen offered. We then had to head out a little further (mostly flat) past Horsetail Falls and then back to Multnomah for lunch. We're riding along and we get to signs for I-84. Reading the directions it sounded like where we were supposed to turn around but the mileage didn't match up. So we turned around anyway. Apparently we were supposed to keep going for about 4 more miles. Whoops. We eat lunch at Multnomah and I whine some more about the upcoming hills. Everyone was calling it "a hill". No, the appropriate description is "one long ass mother fucking hill"

So we take off pedaling. It was sort of up and down for a bit then we started the climb. Slow and steady. There was 3 of us riding together. Heidi took off a head of us and Erin was hot on our trail. We probably averaged 5-6 mph going up that long climb but we did it. Stopped a couple times but not every 100 ft as I thought I might. But dang, was that long. After we hit the Women's Forum again, it was some great descents back into Troutdale.

Then it was Marine Drive again. THAT is when the ride sucked even more. MD is always great riding up but sucks ass going back because there is always that headwind going up the Columbia River. It was only 14 miles but the longest 14 miles ever. We did some pace lining to give breaks to people facing the headwind. Eventually it was just Heidi and I and she was a doll who did much of the pulling because I just couldn't. When we finally saw our stopping point we both got this burst of energy and went from battling the wind at 11-12 mph to 16mph because we just wanted to be done!

Our final mileage was 70.7 and my total ride time was 5:53. Yes, my ass was on that saddle for almost 6 freaking hours. It was such a long ride and the going was so slow. I thought the fast descents would make up the slow ascents as far as time went but apparently not. We left that morning at 8:30 and didn't get back to the cars until 4:30. oy.

When i did get back to the car and got off my bike, my entire body HURT. I sat down on the car seat. My butt hurt. I leaned back into the seat and every muscle that touched the seat back HURT. I've never been so pained from a ride before. I'm sure a lot of it was from the tensing up during the headwinds and ascents. I took a couple of mom's arthritis strength Tylenol last night and two more this morning. Seems okay when that's working. I just need to make sure I keep moving today so I don't stiffen up that much.

As always, to see more picture check out my Flickr collection:

Michele Cycling Pics

These are the elevation changes. Unfortunately you can't see the mileages on here:

I had to paste in the elevation scale on the first one since it was only on the end so it looks a little funky. These two pics only display the ride from Troutdale to Horsetail falls. The rest of it was relatively flat.

Click on the graph to see the full length. We took the HCRH so follow the purple line.

If you want to see the document about riding the Columbia River Gorge (most of you probably don't) it's here:

Next weekend is 85 miles which is where we stop increasing mileage. Then it's 80 and 50 as we taper to get ready for the big event on Sept 28th!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Quickie update

Hot, hot, hot!! We are currently working on our THIRD 100+ day in a row here in Portland. It's freaking ridiculous. I decided to think of my health and skip our 68 mile ride today. I know me and I know my body - it shuts down in heat. Yes, it would have "only" been about 91 degrees by the time I finished but that's too hot for me. I would have ended up with heat stroke. Afterall, on our last 100+ day of riding I couldn't even finish 45. You think I could last for 68? No.

But don't worry by dear supporters... I'll still get my ride in this weekend. Tomorrow should top out around 92. Still hot, but more doable for me. My coach gave us the option of riding with her tomorrow when she scopes out our ride for next weekend - a 70 miler which will include our 50 miles up to Estacada with a 20 mile extension along the way. According to the hour-by-hour forecast it will only be 78 at 1pm tomorrow vs the 91 at 1pm today.

Since my last update we had another 50 mile ride around the Hagg Lake area and a 62 miler last weekend down in Salem. Each week my average speed is increasing and I'm feeling stronger and stronger. I really think I can do this!! I've had time when I had my doubts but lately those have been dwindling.

If you want to see some pics from the last two rides check them out on Flickr.