Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Bloody Sunday

No. Nothing as dramatic as that.

So - This past Sunday I did a 81 mile bike ride, on a great day, through the southern tier of NY. It was a beautiful course, not super difficult, not too easy..  When I am riding any distance, I figure a decent ride is 50 feet of climbing per mile travelled. If it's 100 feet a mile, which we used to shoot for in our race training, I would consider that a serious amount of climbing.  This was 81 miles, and over 4200 feet according to RideWithGPS.. Addison 80 is the ride we did.

Four of us left from the Acorn parking lot in Addison on Sunday morning. Bill Fischer, Mark Sheehan, Mark Hogan, and myself. The first 25 miles of the course are a very subtle climb, not really noticeable to speak of. There was a little headwind, and I kept looking at my tires to see if one was going flat. They were fine, but my legs were just having trouble pushing me. 35 miles into the ride, while talking with Bill, I mentioned giving blood the prior Friday, just 2 days earlier. He asked me what the hell I was thinking, and the truth is, I wasn't.. I figured that 36 hours would be plenty of time to recover. Bill said "do you know why you can't give blood more than every 56 days? because it takes 30 to recover the blood you gave!"

Hindsight is hindsight, and I struggled on a ride that wasn't that hard.  Sure, we had some climbs, and a headwind, but neither of them were anything I hadn't been up against before. Research after the fact between reading and talking to friends says it can take anywhere from a few days for sprint recovery, to multiple days to a week for distance or competition recovery. I believe it. One of my friends jokingly mentioned - "you know, blood doping is ADDING blood".  It was funny, but honestly, yeah, that makes sense.. When you donate blood you give 10% of your blood. Think about this... 10% of the blood that carries oxygen and glycogen to your muscles..  So yeah, it's going to affect performance, DUH! The following is from the Red Cross site :  "The plasma from your donation is replaced within about 24 hours. Red cells need about four to six weeks for complete replacement. That's why at least eight weeks are required between whole blood donations." Yeah, that's right, red cells, the one's that carry oxygen. Oops!

So - basically, this whole blog post is about one great big lesson learned.

Well, Maybe two lessons, I may have also learned something about the stomach issues I am having riding also, but I am not positive. I think it's conditioning. The fact that I am not in as good of shape as I need to be, and I push right near my limit. Keeping my heart rate just high enough to push, but those times when I go over that limit, long or steep climbs, it pushes me over that edge. Sunday this happened exactly at 3:15 into the ride. I remember looking at my watch and thinking damn! It just happened! It's going to be a rough second half of the ride. I was only a little over 3 hours in, suffering, but still keeping an OK pace, considering.

It was probably one of my all time worst rides. The kind of ride that makes you want to quit riding forever. You finish ready to give it all up. Then you wake up the next morning, look at your bike in the back of the car, and start planning for the next ride. Even to go as far as to book a bike rental for your business trip to Seattle in late April, so that you can get a 200K in on Saturday and a 100K on Sunday of the weekend, before the course starts.

The important thing is to learn from your mistakes. I need to condition more, follow my rules, and work on Obeying the Rules. I need to drop 15 lbs, and work on my diet (not dieting, food intake).  I need to stick with a workout program, and ignore my loving wife when she tells me to "skip the workout this morning and get some rest". She means well, but it's not doing me any good.. I know how to pace myself during my workouts, I need to keep pushing.

Weather is supposed to be decent this coming Friday, so I think I'll be riding in from Bath in the morning. That'll give me about a 45 miles day. Time to get cracking! I have a half marathon to run in about 4 weeks! Got to get running those roads also.

Take care..   Obey the Rules.

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