Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Death Ride Training - Update

While I thought I'd ride 30 miles yesterday, I ended up with just 20. However, that included 3,000+ feet of some serious uphill. The ride left me seriously exhausted. I can't remember when I've been as tired at the end of the day.

A little before the end of baseball game between the Dodgers and the Marlins, I fell into a deep sleep for a few hours on the couch (just as well, the Dodgers lost 6-5). I woke to the sound of my little dog, Beau, whimpering, wanting me to go to bed. My wife had given up long before.

Today was supposed to be my one, grand day of riding: 70 miles and 7,000 feet. Instead, I've stayed indoors, my body still worn out from the past several days of riding. In the past week, I've ridden uphill some 15,000 feet. That seems like it's a lot climbing, but the Death Ride, if I want to ride the entire course will include 15,000 feet of climbing in one day. And while I've ridden 185 miles in a week, the Death Ride will ask me for 130 in one day. (Luckily, the Death Ride has several bail-out points along the way.)

Yesterday, I put my bike into it's lowest gears, and just ground away, hill after hill, among them the hills on:

- Doheny Drive, named for Edward Doheny, he of the Teapot Dome Scandal fame; the top gave my first 1,000 feet of elevation gain, with the grade reaching about 15% in places.

- Blue Jay Way, where the Beatles hung out for a few foggy days, and where George Harrison penned the song that's the name of the street. That took me over 2,000 feet, with more grades at about 15%.

- Rising Glen, where Brittany Murphy, the actress, was found dead in her home last year; 12% grades.

- Marmont Avenue, with a 20%+ grade for a short distance.

Perhaps my age has something to do with my ennui; how could I expect my body to respond as it did the last time I trained for a strenuous ride, eight years ago? For, although I haven't done more than one reasonably long ride - 65 miles a month ago - I've banged out many steep rides like the one I did yesterday. Perhaps it's taken a toll on me, rather than strengthened me.

On the plus side, the bike I'll use this time out weighs at least four pounds less than the bike I rode in 2002, and I've managed to weigh in today at about four pounds less than I did in eight years ago. That should help, although I'm not sure what "help" means in the context of a long day in the saddle. Maybe it would be more helpful to be out of shape and on a heavy bike, which would benefit me by making me stop riding sooner.

Tomorrow will be my last day for a significant ride.

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