Monday, June 21, 2010

Friday and Sunday

We have four seasons in Nebraska: Blizzard, Flood, Drought and Football. We're currently at the tail end of Flood. Kinda puts a damper on things, I didn't ride my bike today (Monday) because I had a sinking sensation in my gut that the ride was gonna be a messy one.


Friday wasn't a bad ride in to work, save for the dark clouds forming to the north. The weather poured out a little and then cleared up nicely.

I went outside after work and found my front tire had gone flat. I turned down three offers for rides home just because I wanted to use my patch kit. And then I found the hole.

I started worrying I wasn't going to make it home.

The hole was inside the tube, where it meets against the rim. My tube has 32 little pimples where the spoke nuts go. My Crosstrail Sport's rims have a somewhat deep section and there's quite a bit of room for the tube to grow into the holes where the spokes connect to the rim. My "rim strips" are nothing more than inner tube rubber, and there's a neat perforation in that particular rim strip that matches up perfectly with the hole in my tube. If I patch this one, which of those 31 other pimples will become the new hole?

I patched it up and made it home. I checked it out after dinner and found that the front tire was flat again. I need some strapping tape. Might as well put the "twentyniner wannabe" 700x45 tires back on it while I'm at it. Then it's gravel time.

14.08 miles.


I got up Sunday morning and made some pancakes for Father's day. I love pancakes so much I'll even make them on Father's day, even though I'm dad and could take the attitude that it's Father's day and I ain't doin shiat. Nah. I wanted pancakes. I wanted coffee. I wanted them now.

After consuming two pancakes with a liberal application of peanut butter and syrup while making funny faces at my kids, I took off for 30 fast miles to prep for next weekend's Cornhusker State Games.

The sun was shining when I was left, wind out of the southeast. I had a gentle breeze help me out for the first leg, then I turned south.

My goal on the in-town trails was to keep the heart rate at or below 75%. The wind was trying my patience.

I got to the highway and the game plan was some 6 minute intervals on the highway for my "out" portion, kick the heart rate up to 85% for six minutes (the last two minutes were going to be attempts at pushing 90%), let it drop down to 70% and then kick it back up again. I made it from Warlick to Roca Road (roughly 6 and a half miles with a very slight uphill gain) in 26 minutes with the wind in my face. I'll take it: half of it was at 9mph.

I turned around on the Roca Road overpass and saw the lightning. The dark ominous clouds. The possibility of cold rain, tornados, hail and other such nonsense I don't want to deal with made me say fuck it: start breathing and just go.

Breathing. I remembered how to breathe deeply on the bike. I didn't realize it until about 3 minutes into it, the large volumes of air coming out of my mouth was HOT.

Hot air coming from my mouth is not all that unusual, except the hot air coming out of my mouth Sunday morning was not accompanied by words. Heck, that volume of air coming from my mouth and nose was something I thought would never come back after more than a decade of applying nicotine and tar to the insides of my lungs.

All it took was the thought that perhaps I should have worn some ruby slippers with some black and white striped socks to make me breathe deeply again.
Fear of ending up like this is a great motivator to hurry the fuck up.

I had glanced down at my HRM and cyclecomputer and realized I had a rhythm between my legs and lungs that put a giant smile on my face.

It was like I had Locomotive Breath.

The Train Kept a Rollin all ride long.

I wasn't yet going off the rails of this Crazy Train.

I was on the Night Train, I guess I guess I guess I never learned...

I think you get the idea.

I got to the edge of town and the cold reality set in: it's not the steady application of power and gradual decline of precious glycogen that does you in during competition: it's the spikes of power and the subsequent sudden dips in blood glycogen levels that absolutely decimates you.

Bike trails are not conducive to putting down steady power at the levels I need to put them down at for time trial prep, that much is certain. I waste incredible amounts of energy trying to get in the zone only to have to hit the brakes. 

The clouds seemed to part a bit when I got back to town, but the lightning was starting to pick up. I got to Rock Island and Calvert Street and about crapped my pants at how close that lightning strike must have been: there was a flash off to my right and the crack of thunder came about half a second later. It left my ears ringing.

And then came the rain. Big old fat rain. And it was cold.

I had taken shelter with three other folks under the zoo entrance bridge, just south of 27th and Capitol Parkway. There was a fourth, but he hooked up some lights and took off ahead of us. 

Two of the remaining were runners who ditched the Cornhusker State Games triathlon because of the early morning rain leaving the streets wet and another was a cyclist slowly working his way back to where he was since his bypass. 

We had a chit chat for about 15 minutes about why the riding in the Cornhusker State Games triathlon that morning would have meant the possibility of a hospital visit and cholesterol medication before the rain slowed enough for me to venture out in it again.

A puddle on the trail just past the zoo bridge was deep enough where my feet spent a good portion of the pedal stroke under water. I was soaked before, but not like that!

Force of habit sent me down the Antelope Creek underpass at 27th and Capitol parkway, only to find the bike path was covered in several inches of rushing water. I backed up and took the "pedestrian" route over the surface streets. 

I took the Antelope creek trail back to Y street and noticed there were folks huddled under bridges all along the bike path back home. Some with pets on leashes, others with bicycles, all meeting new friends.

30.3 awesome miles.

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