Sunday, June 24, 2007

Long Leaf Trail

Left early Saturday morning - about 5:45 for the 1.5 mile drive to Prentiss by myself. No one wanted to go and I wanted to ride the Trail. I have it set up as a perm and no one has ridden it yet. I was surprised to find the gas station I intended on using as a control was boarded up. I then went to the bathrooms at the Long Leaf and they were locked due to excessive vandalism. Great! I need to go and there is no where to do it that I wouldn't be booked for public indecency. I drove back towards the main street and the gas station on the corner looked pretty scary. There were several people hanging out there and I was not comfortable going in. I drove further down the road to another gas station and there were only three people hanging out. I walked in and asked to use the bathroom. The cashier was not eager to say yes, no, or kiss my butt. When I could tell she was about to say no, I informed her that the ones at Long Leaf were locked. She sullenly gave me a key a pointed to the hallway where the restrooms were located. Both the men's and women's restrooms had large signs on them indicating that they were out of order. Opening the women's restroom, revealed a clean toilet that was in good working order. I drove back to the parking lot knowing my mileage would be off by a mile and got started. I wondered since the Prentiss rest rooms were closed if any of the depots along the way would be open. I also wondered if my car would be there when I got back. I started at 7:41 - 11 minutes late. The weather was cool and humid. I knew that it would be getting really hot before the ride was over. It was probably in the high 60s at that point.

Within the first mile, I saw a rabbit scampering off of the trail. Remembering the number of rabbits I had seen on the trail last time, I decided to count rabbits today. 1,2,3 before the 10 mile mark! So far the new Body Geometry seat was working - but boy it was ugly. I hiked out of Prentiss knowing I would be climbing all the way to Bassfield. I thought the majority of the route was uphill to Hattisburg, but I apparently was wrong. I really try to push it as much as possible. I wanted to finish with a 15 mph rolling average. 4,5 more rabbits darting across the trail.

I stop in Sumerall to get water, stretch, and go. I walk across from the Depot to look at the cafe to see if they would have any V-8 - it was closed. The knee was stiff, so I stretched it some more. 6,7 rabbits to Jefferson Street. I stopped again to stretch. There were two black girls resting on a bench at this depot. One in jeans and the other in long pants. They apparently were on bikes and had come from Hattiesburg. They had no idea how far they had come and did not have helmets or water. One asked if I could look at her bike seat as it was rotating on her as she rode. It had a quick release lever on it and I tightened it for her. I made it into Hattiesburg at 10:45. I was up 1.75 hours. At the depot, I realized the signs were wrong and that the final two miles were not complete. I would end up 5 miles off. I bought a powerade and a water and started back out at 11:05. 20 minute stop...

Passed Jefferson Street depot, the two young ladies were still there. I wondered if they would make it back. Apparently, I had a cross wind with a slight push on the way down and now had a cross wind angling toward a headwind. I really wanted to find a place to stop to get a v-8. I knew Sumerall was not that far ahead. I pulled into one of the gas stations in Sumrall and bought a V-8. I filled up with ice and water from a drink machine. The water looked like it was coming from the machine pretty fast, but I really did not think much about it. Stretched, finished the V-8 and got back on the bike only to realize that the water I had in my camel back was carbonated water - blech! I rode over to the Sumerall depot and poured out the water trying to save the ice and refilled it from the water fountain. My speed and stamina had definitely dropped off. I did the first half in 15.3 mph. I was having trouble maintaining 13 mph now. The time off the bike really hurt my cardiovascular system and endurance. I am beginning to think that there is no way to attempt the 600. If I could finish the Long Leaf at a 15 mph average, then I think the 600 attempt would be feasible, but I am struggling. I feel tired - not bonked - but just physically tired. I stop to stretch in Bassfield. A little girl is at the depot which is just up from a park. She is probably only 2 or 3 and is enthralled with my camelbak. She asks what it is and I told her it is for my water. She really wants to try to drink out of it. I leave quickly. I haven't seen any rabbits on the way back from Hattiesburg, but I now see what in the distance looks like a large rat. It ends up being a baby armadillo. He was not scared of me at all - that is probably why they are dead on the side of the road all the time! Not long after that, I see a doe running on the horse trail just in front of me. We ride/run together for 1/4 mile or so as the deer looks as curious at me as I am of it. The doe finally stops and we look each other eye to eye as I continue to ride off.

I make it back into Prentiss at 2:30. My speed has fallen to 14.3 mph. So I was definitely slower on the way back. I ended up 2 full hours thought. I go to the gas station that I skipped over this morning. I did not need to use the restroom, so I don't know how it looked, but the cashier was pleasant. The seat preformed well - no complaints. I will see how it does in New Orleans next week. Hopefully, my cardio and endurance will miraculously appear and we can average at least 15 on the 200k. If so, then I may still try the 600 - if not, the pursuit will be over...

Recovery Rides

My knee seems to be healing pretty good. However, it has taken longer than the two week healing time that I was hoping for. I have lost a lot of my endurance and what little speed I had. My 600 attempt is in grave danger.

I started Physical Therapy with Mark Ware the Tuesday after Memorial Day. He did some ultrasound treatment and got me started on some stretches. I have been going twice a week ever since.

June 2nd - did not ride at all. My knee still hurt pretty badly. It really was stoving up at night. Drove up to Mom & Dads for the day. Sucked not being on the bike. I really wanted to be back on it.

Mark added some exercises to my stretches during PT. They also message the heck out of it.

June 9th - Dianne and I rode 12 miles from my house down the South Trace to the bridge before 49. Basically 5 miles out and back on the Trace and mile back to the house. I was trying out David's Fizik Alliante instead of my Selle an-atomica. I really lost confidence in it on the 400 k. Hated the Alliante. I felt like I was sitting on my girly bits. We stopped a couple times for me to adjust the saddle. All in all it was a good ride and my knee did not hurt.

After the ride, Dianne and I cleaned up and rode to Jeff Busby Park on the Natchez Trace to develop a 300 k route. We found a 600 ft climb over .8 miles inside the park. I can't wait to do this ride. We listened to the State Game on the radio the whole time. We stopped in French Camp for lunch and it was great. French Camp is an older looking town that has a few old buildings to look at along with a cute craft shop and cafe. We had the best BLT I have ever eaten.

June 16th - Drove to Magnolia for Fathers Day to see Pal. I got up early and rode out to Logoly State Park (nothing there) and then out to Waldo and Stamps. The North/South portion of the route was hillier than the East/West portion. The total route was 57 miles. The weather was overcast and humid. The temps were probably in the 60s to start and 80s by noon. I saw three deer on the route. The dogs behaved themselves - most acted like they have never seen anyone on a bike before. There probably aren't many cyclists in Southern Arkansas. I really can tell my cardiovascular system has been compromised during this layoff with my knee. I changed my saddle back to the new Selle An-atomica. It was slick and I probably need to adjust the nose down slightly. It wasn't perfectly comfortable, but I guess it needs to be broken in now.

The roads were pretty decent for the most part - various degrees of chip seal with some smooth or old pavement mixed in. Normally the road surface changed at the county lines. I was on 79 and 82 some. The shoulders were pretty wide in most places. Just past Waldo however, the shoulder on 82 was very rough chip seal and the road was pristine black top. I fixed my mirror to see the traffic behind me and rode directly on 82 only getting on the shoulder when cars were approaching from behind. When I entered the next county, the shoulder changed to smooth pavement and made the trip much easier and safer.

I started back to spin class on Tuesday and on Wednesday I tried out the spin bikes at Northeast. I liked them, but the women's locker room is still disgusting. I will stick with the crappy bikes at Lakeland instead. I also rode the South Trace on Wednesday night. I switched saddles to the Lady Gel Flow from Selle Italia. It is the newer version of my old saddle that had worn out before I got the Selle An-atomica. I hated it to. It felt like I was sitting on a brick.

My knee and quads felt very fatigued. I probably over did it doing 2 spin classes and riding the trace within 2 days. Mark looked at the knee and pronounced it okay. He said as it starts showing up on rides to get off the bike and stretch.

Went in to see Josh on Friday to get re-fit on the bike. Sammy helped me instead. He was really good. I told him how uncomfortable the Selle Italia was and that I thought my sit bones were coming off of the seat. He suggested the ugliest bike seat I have ever laid my eyes on. It is much wider that the others I have tried and has more cushion. Within 2 seconds, the seat felt comfortable.