Jan 17, 2010

Long Straightaways, Headwinds, and Shitty Drivers

Yesterdays long ride seemed to never end. It was one of those rides where each mile clicks away a little slower than the next. Even though I dread these days, they are perfect for building mental strength if you tough them out... as long as you don't heave yourself in front of an approaching vehicle... I may have done both.

The fatigue of training started to slowly seep in this week. After climbing Mt. Lemmon, all of my workouts seemed a bit labored. It would take a long time to get warmed up and each workout was a little tougher than the last. After riding just under 300 miles in the first 7 days here, my body was starting to slow down. I've been sleeping more than ever, and I've been eating everything in site. I figured if I could get through this weekend, I'd take an easy recovery week.

We planned Saturday's ride to be long and flat. After climbing 6,400ft (more than a vertical mile) on Tuesday and Thursday's out and back over Gates Pass, my climbing muscles were pretty spent. Instead of heading out for another solo ride, I road with a semi pro downhiller and mountain biker. He was a strong rider and made this effort a little less suicidal.

We headed out on Old Spanish Trial, a very rolling road that heads south east of Tucson. After a quick climb up Pistol Hill, we headed due south on Houghton Rd. That's when the fun and pain really started. We were only 25 miles into the 75 mile ride, and my legs were already toast. Houghton Road was a 9 miles false flat into a brutal headwind. The mountains in the distance were our destination, but they never seemed to get any closer. By the time we hit E Sahuarita Rd, I needed a little liquid energy. My usual bonk killer, Red Bull was substituted for BAWLS... seemed like cocaine in a soda can. The next 11 miles to Nogales Hwy, were equally as brutal. We had a decent downhill but the headwind was incredibly strong. We got into a really good rhythm, taking several minute 25mph pulls... the wind was relentless. This ride couldn't be over soon enough. Eventually, my sugar/caffeine buzz wasted away and I was near bonk again. The jelly beans and snickers bar I had stashed away helped for awhile. The last straightaway into town was equally as long, boring and brutal as the rest. The wind wasn't as strong, but we never got that tailwind.

 After 68 miles of torture, I stopped at an intersection on Broadway... there was a red mini van to my left. The light changed and we both started pulling away. The lady driver sped in front of me by 15 ft, then made an immediate right into the gas station. I slammed on my brakes but this collision was inevitable. I crashed into the side of her car like a hockey player bouncing off the glass. She slammed on her brakes and I took off her mirror with my shoulder. This lady may have been the worst driver of all time. She freaked out because she thought she killed me... I didn't even fall down. My first reaction was to freak out on her, but she was so apologetic and scared that I had to calm her down. I was fine and there was no damage... except for her missing mirror and scratched up car. The next 7 miles home were a little more cautious. Drivers need to get there heads out of there asses... and stop texting while driving!!! Maybe next time, I'll take the bike path the long way home.

This ride was seriously tough. I recovered with an entire pizza and a nice tall soda. That evenings ice bath was the highlight. A few beers and some lounging around followed. A couple hours later, I couldn't help but take a run to Subway... I was already starving again.

Since I've been here I've ridden about 550 miles, ran 55 miles and knocked out 30,000 yards in the pool. Everything is aerobic, but I still need a little rest before I can get into any real mileage. Life is simple right now, and I am loving it. Money is tight, but I haven't spent much in the last two weeks. I've used a quarter tank of gas, and have only been out one night. Eat, sleep, train... repeat.


1 comment:

  1. Hi A.J.

    Ok, you scared me...lol...I had no idea you got side swiped! I know you are always careful, but I can't just drive over anymore in case you get injured!! :(
    Sounds like things are tough but good. Keep up all the hard work, you know better than anyone that it will pay off in the end.

    Take care of yourself, okay?
    I love you & miss you!