Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rhymes with Honk

Km 13 – Riding up the hill towards prospect point, I start to laugh with Facundo that my legs are still stiff from last nights Seymore adventure and that I need to loosen up for the rest of my ride. The weather is perfect and my spirits are high.


An uneventful trip out towards Horseshoe bay where Kevin surges up a few hills, but I am content with sitting on his wheel and just following, realizing that this is going to be a long day in the saddle, pacing my effort is going to be my key to success.


My growing impatience with taking it easy starts to wear on me. I accelerate out of a long sweeping descent arriving at the marina before the final 2km climb up to our turnaround. Deciding to keep the sustained effort up the hill I plod along, Facundo catapults himself by with ease and I try and respond. Kevin who was riding a fair bit behind after the descent slowly climbs his way back to me and passes. I’m thinking to myself Kevin is having a good day. We have a fairly quick first hour on the bike, however, due to city and park traffic it still takes an hour and ten minutes to get to Horseshoe bay, 34km of my day finished.


The plan to the day was survival, to do this nutrition was a must, I have packed with me a plethora of  energy foods, Cliff bars, Powergels and a handful of chocolate chip peanut butter cookies Lilia made me. While waiting for the guys to take a nature break is mow down on some food.


Riding back from Horseshoe bay is always fun, it’s a net downhill, and although there are two long accents, they are followed by really long gradual descents where you can carry some great speed.


Riding between the two, I plan poorly for a climb and am in a heavy gear. I always forget about this climb. Kevin passes me and I joke about my stupidity. I give them some distance figuring I will simply make it up over the next few km. A fellow cyclist passes me on the flat and I click onto his wheel with the hope he will pull me back to my friends. Man both Facundo and Kevin are riding strong today. After about 5km they still have 15-20 seconds on me and I can’t close it down. I finally catch up as we reach the town at a light. Gulping down water I fiddle with my speedometer – 45km, I hope they don’t try and up the pace, I’m struggling. Last nights ride is beginning to take its toll.


Passing under the Lions Gate bridge I have my first Powergel, Vanilla YUM, I’m leading out until Lonsdale, where once again they pull away on a steady hill, taking advantage of congestion on the road I’m able to make up ground once more. I’m regretting my 90k Seymore ride last night.


I am stealing time whenever I can, noticing that Kevin and Facundo are sitting up and chatting behind me, I don’t waste the effort, head down, constant motion, I pull 200 then 500 meters ahead of them, not hard just, trying to bank time for when they start to motor. This may not have been to my advantage. The two close in on me fairly quickly once they start up again.


Determined not to slow them down I  jump between them and aggressively draft off Facundo, not letting this Argentinean motor pull away from me. Realizing that he has a train following him, he decides this is a good time to open up, 41kph, 43kph, 45kph, our speed keeps creeping up on the flat. Never ceasing,  riding steady 4% inclines at 38-40kph. Its taking all my effort just to hold on. Usually we do pulls like this for 1-3km. I keep on eye on the speedometer, 4km, he’s still holding strong, he must let up soon, arriving on Dollarton Road, we hit a rough patch of pavement, his speed is steady, mine slows drastically, my spinning isn’t sufficient to hold the power, I think to myself how difficult it must be for the pros when they hit the cobbled sections during the Paris-Roubaix. I apply the same strategy to my modest ride, heaving gearing low cadence over rough patches for better stability and power transfer. I crawl back to the Argentineans wheel, my eyes focused on only one thing, maintaining that 3-4 inches between wheels so as to not have to expend any more energy than required. 7km, he still hasn’t let up, staring down at his wheel in a trance, I should watching the road, BAM pothole, that one hurt a little bit, but no accident, this wakes me up a little. I look back at my wheel, Kevin is also holding on, looking strong but later confessing that he agrees the Argentinean bastard is a monster for putting us through such paces. Kevin has staying power, 1 hour, 4 hours, 6 hours, he hold steady, more than I can say for myself.


We reach the end of the big hill on Dollarton, I’ve survived, its downhill to Deep Cove. The Argentinean Monster takes off, and I decide to sit up and initiate conversation with Kevin, offering an excuse for myself to slow down. Getting to Deep Cove my legs are spent. I’ve finished both water bottles and eat my second Cliff Bar, no more cookies left, those I finished early. A very lengthy bathroom break to recover, I refill my bottles. For anyone interested, there is a culture center in Deep Cove, has a great public bathroom, not concern of sneaking into Starbucks or restaurants.


68km – I’ve realized my long ride isn’t going to happen, 180km is unlikely, and getting home is going to be a struggle. I confess at the cost of my ego to the guys that I can no longer hold the pace we came out in (the devastation, my pride, oh God!).


Kevin and Facundo are leading me home, they’re helping me on my way. I no longer have to refer to them by nicknames, that Argentinean bastard is once more Facundo. The ride back is uneventful. Not all to much talking on my behalf, Kevin and Facundo ride ahead of me breaking the wind (hehehe, but really now, I was drafting well).


Passing through Stanley Park I decide that since I am not riding the Richmond loop, that maybe I will go for a run instead. Derek was eager to exercise today, writing an essay has that effect on people, so I agreed compromised the ride for a run. This probably wasn’t the best idea. I’m now passing through Vancouver and I’m fading fast, sucking back Power gels so close to home, I’ve never done this before. But this time wasn’t for pleasure, it was necessity, without them I was going to bonk hard. Facundo turns off at his house and Kevin rides back with me up Dunbar. I’m at 97km. Almost there.

Riding up Dunbar I am holding a measly 12kph, my normal pace is to big gear it up at 25-30kph. This hurts. I crawl back to my place and consume as much sugars and fats as I can. Lilia, I ate 11 of your cookies, delicious!


20-minute recuperation and I was feeling good. I know I had avoided catastrophy. I hop back on my bike and ride out to meet Derek at UBC. This was going to be an epic brick workout.


Now before I describe my run, WHAT WAS I THINKING? GOING FOR A RUN WITH A GOOD RUNNER ON FRESH LEGS. I’m an idiot.


The run was really good actually, it was 1:30 PM and the sun was at its strongest, running into the woods we take refuge from the sun. I’m feeling good, we are holding a steady pace. And roughly 45 minutes and 10k later we arrive back at Dereks. Day complete. I stumble back onto my bike and make my way home to spend the rest of the day eating and Napping.


Thanks for reading.


elspeth said...

that's hilarious. great post

Tanis Lavallee said...

You're a much better writer than I thought you were. It's like reading an epic! You come out strong, face adversity, but triumph in the end. All you're missing is a lady love. I'm going to start reading more. I've added you to my faves. Miss you!

(Did mom tell you I cried when I walked out of the cottage because I was sad not to see you again for months... I'm a sucker. Love you brother!)