Well this weekend is coming to a close. I am tired and hope to be in bed by 9.
I have been really short on sleep so Thursday night I decided to sleep in an extra hour before getting up Friday morning and driving to Vicksburg. This meant I would only have time for 3 loops in the park. None of the laps were stellar. I was tired on the first lap, had the best results on the second lap and felt the best on the third lap, but by then there was more traffic in the park and I did not get the benefit of any of the fast downhills. This is good training though as it is harder to start the climbs with a dead start to a rolling start. My legs felt good, but I am just generally tired - not getting enough sleep. The temps hit 91 on the third lap and I remembered how tough it is to climb in heat. Since the weather is so whack right now, it will be interesting to see if it is hot on the Transcon or not. I should be heat acclimated better than most.
I drove down to NOLA at 3 pm. I was really excited as I haven't ridden with my NOLA bent buds, Pat, Steve and Dennis since February. I was really excited about showing them how strong and fast I had gotten. The route was Franklinton our 4500 ft 200k that I have done several times. It is one of my favorites, but also one of my most challenging. Why it gives me problems, I don't know. We rode the route in reverse for the first time and I liked it, but with all my training I expected to kick butt. My expectations were to ride with Pat, and push the pace. All 4 of us wanted to do the route in less than 10 hours and I really thought if the conditions were right, we could possibly pull off a sub 9 hour ride. I really thought I would be so fast and so strong.
Well, I fell off the pace in the first 5 miles. I just did not have a lot of energy. I think it was more from lack of sleep (4-6 hr) a night for the last week than from my ride on Friday. I really rode bad. I stayed mental for the first 70 miles. I would try to snap out of it, but it would not last for very long. I doubt that I am truly fast enough for this tour! I am afraid Susan will want to sag me every day! It was awful. I would go over all my positive sayings that normally motivate me - but nothing was working. Plus, the temperatures were climbing into the 90s. It takes a bit to get used to how your body feels in the heat. I really don't know what is worse, the cold or the heat. Probably the cold as I will still ride no matter how hot it gets. We finally stopped for lunch at mile 70 and I decided to eat (I normally stick with Hammer all day). I had jambalaya (we were in LA and I can't pass it up) probably only 1/2 a cup but it was delicious! That was the kick in the pants I needed. I rode very well for the rest of the day. I hung on in the paceline on the 8 mile flat but windy section and stayed in decent range on some of the longer rollers. At the last control,at mile 106, I bought a payday and ate it instead of sipping on the SE and it gave me another spark. The guys weren't ready to leave when I was, so I got to play rabbit which is my favorite thing to do on a ride. I held them off for only 5 or 6 miles, but it felt good. I even charged a hill so they would not pass me until the top. I paid for the sprint, but my mind was back where it needed to be. I was having fun again! We did the route in 10 hr 28 min. This was the first time we did it in reverse, so we have no true comparison, but we did it 20 minutes faster than our best time on the original route.
I know I will have bad days on tour. I know I will have to sag - hopefully not too much. I just want to go out and have fun. Yesterday was a good day as it was the first of two rides with climbing of 4300 and 4900 ft back to back in a while (I don't think our climbing was that bad back to back at camp). I did deal with mental for the first time in a while. I rode two days in temps that reached 90+ and remembered all the things you have to adjust and deal with in the heat. I got in 126 miles and ended up with a positive memory of the day!
I guess I will have a lot of mental days between now and the Transcon. I guess I will just have to deal with it when it comes up. It is too late now to back out as I have paid for it in full and my travel insurance won't cover cold feet!
One of the things I keep in the back of my mind is an interview of one of the contestants on Biggest Loser. She was a 300 lb 20ish year old talking to her mother before she started the show. She turned to her mother and asked, "What if I can't do it?" Her mother paused and then answered, "What if you can?" That has really stuck with me.
We don't know what we are capable of if we don't reach for our dream.