Monday, June 19, 2006

Expectations and Reality

On Friday, my wonderful wife said: "You'll have to go on a long ride tomorrow. I haven't wrapped any of your Fathers Day presents." I was ecstatic.

Immediately, I began to think of potential rides to go on. I decided I wanted to do miles, not climbs, so I planned out a ride that would head south and west--out to the farming communities near west mountain. My goal was 80 miles, so I figured I'd ride 40, and then turn around. Even in it's remoteness, I knew of at least one park, at the 25 mile mark, with drinking water, so I was certain I'd be fine. (Am I making it too obvious?)

On Saturday, I started getting ready around 11 (by eating and drinking) and was heading out around noon. As I left, I told her I planned on only being gone 4 hours. At that point, my incredible wife said, "I won't expect you before 5, but call if you're going to be late so I don't worry." As far as I was concerned, that could well have been my Fathers Day present.

My perspective of rides has certainly changed this year. 80 miles? That's far, right? With LOTOJA always in the back of my mind while riding, somehow it doesn't seem that far.

That is, until I'm near the end. Then it seems really far. The weird thing is that later that day, I felt fine--except my back.

Side Note: My Back
Because of some saddle situations I notice on long rides, I started shifting things around on this ride. First, I tilted the saddle nose-down. Then, I really felt too close to the bars, so I slid the saddle back a bit.

I left it there.

Until about mile 65.

At that point, I really started to notice that my back was hurting. A lot. Then, I slid my seat forward to the original position, though I tried to maintain the angle. I'm not sure if accomplished this. My back really hurt the rest of the ride due to my weird riding position for the previous half. In fact, when I got home, ONLY my back hurt. The next day, when my legs are often a little stiff after a long ride: fantastic. My back: Well, actually my back started to feel better. You're missing the point, though. The point is that it hurt A LOT for about 20 miles, and 3 hours after the ride.

Where was I? Oh yeah:

This morning, I got the special treat to ride because my wife wasn't getting up in the morning to exercise (her friend bailed on her). (I normally take Tues., Thurs, Sat.) I decided to do Squaw Peak. This isn't a long ride, but the climb itself is steep. It isn't a long climb, in fact, but it is quite steep. Normally, I cry out in pain the whole way, and curse those that paved the road for the last 1/4 mile (which is even steeper).

Today, however, I felt fantastic.

Honestly, I did. My pace was faster than normal, and I kept my heart-rate down. Normally, I can't pause breathing long enough to swallow water, but this morning, I managed to finish off the rest of my bottle on the climb.

The last 1/4 mile, the bad part, wasn't bad. I just stood up and powered up it. I really felt awesome. In fact, by the time I got home, I really felt like I ought to keep going. I probably would have done a lot better on Saturday if I had eaten more than a couple energy bars and a bottle of Cytomax. Or, if I hadn't run completely out of water at about mile 50.


James Sharp said...

I'm not sure I want to ride with you any more. I keep reading these posts about how you should be hurting, but aren't. Well, buddy, some of us are still hurting!

On a side note, don't use saddle position to adjust reach. Get your sweet wife to measure from your knee to your pedal and adjust your saddle so that your knee is over your pedal spindle, or thereabouts.

Also, make small changes. If you need your saddle back 1/2-inch, move it back in smaller chunks every other ride or so until you reach where you want to be.

Jon Sharp said...

Yeah, my reach was perfect to begin with, but I adjusted the saddle to make the ride a little more comfortable. After that, I think I felt like I was sliding off the front--which led to me sliding the saddle back.

In all honestly, this goes back to my problem with normal single-bolt seatposts. (Or, ratcheting seatposts, as I like to call them.) I can't really fine-tune the saddle pitch like I'd like to.

Today's ride probably felt so good just because I got the saddle back to where it should be.