Saturday, April 18, 2009

Saturday bike-run

It was a very good excursion, though I was mentally defeated at two points - in both cases by the same hill! I do not feel bad about it - the second was avoidable but minor, I just didn't have the mental focus and I didn't care enough to push through - the first was more significant, probably avoidable also, and I will have thoughts on how not to have it happen again...

So we drove out again to the Palisades Interstate Park - did the same ride as last week (which I regret to report is really only 15 v. hilly miles, not 20 as we wishfully imagined!), except we parked in a different lot.

This lot (it is by the police station - convenient toilets!) means starting out at the top of a long hill, which is bad for my nerves - still v. nervous the first 5 miles or so - but the middle part of the ride was super-enjoyable, I build up confidence.

Riding on the way back next to a PRECIPICE for instance did not seem so horrifying to me this time, except suddenly and intensely near the end of the ride - it is about a mile-long hill, medium gradient, leading up to where we'd left the car, and I just started really freaking out about halfway up.

I think that once I'm breathing hard from effort, my body is a lot more likely to tip over into panic mode - one moment I was trying not to look in the direction of the edge and thinking (I should have paid more attention!) "Hmmm, my body is strongly telling me that the only safe place to be on this hill is lying face down and clutching the ground so that I don't fall over, but I cannot do that, because other cyclists will be very alarmed if they see me lying face down on the ground!" Then it was a few minutes later, and suddenly my breathing had switched over to full panic mode.

I got off and walked the rest of the way - I knew it was only about a quarter of a mile from the top and that it wouldn't take too long. I think I should have just stayed on (I was pretty shaky, but it is a very safe road, other than irrational mental conviction of being too close to the edge and about to fall over), but in any case next time the thing to do will be to go onto the small chainring - I have a triple on my bike, really out of laziness I am always riding in the middle ring (the easiest gear on the middle ring gives you something pretty reasonable for riding up even a fairly steep hill), but I think that on a long steepish hill next to a PRECIPICE I will just have to ride slower and in an insanely easier gear and keep the breathing very steady...

Then we ran 4, only I will say I ran 3 and walked 1 - in fact walked up the (same!) hill. I can't even say I was that knackered - I was thirsty, but my legs weren't tired - and I just didn't have it in me.

(I always, fatally, in this sort of situation find myself thinking a bit too much about how I am a brisk walker and can get good cardio benefits from marching up a hill at 15:00 pace rather than staggering up it at a jogging pace of 13:00. Wasn't wearing a HR monitor, due to chafing from wearing it on my long run yesterday, but I would guess my HR was probably as high walking up the hill at the end of that workout - and the temps are mid-70s, we were under-hydrated! - as it was on the whole of my long run yesterday, i.e. upper 140s!)

Anyway it was a very solid workout, and we had some good thoughts about planning for future ones too - nothing this coming weekend, because I will be elsewhere (swimming in the sea!), but we will try for something fairly regular after that.

Hmmmmm, it must be said that in the spring a young(ish) woman's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of Ironman. But there are many factors to take into account, and I am not sure it will be wise to try for one in 2010 as opposed to 2011 - we will see how things go with the bike this summer, and with various life/work stuff as it begins to sort itself out...

In personal news: I am not sure this link will work permanently (I have pasted in the picture below, just case not), but the Big Bend Sentinel reports on the opening last weekend of my sister-in-law Michelle's store, JM Dry Goods (source of lovely housewares and vintage Western wear), in Marfa, TX! Go on in and say hello to her from me if you are passing that way...

1 comment:

Wendy said...

Yes, the other cyclists would have been alarmed!

I really think you should do some visualization of the difficult portion, envisioning yourself in the small chain ring, breathing easily, cycling along with confidence. You know the terrain, and can conquer it mentally before doing so physically.