Sunday, May 11, 2008

Reality: TT is not so bad

...when this is your tt bike. Comfy.


Yesterday I somewhat grumpily got on my Fuji and set out for a 3+ hour tour of Central Oregon. In my jersey pockets were CO2 tire inflator, tube, 3 Clif Shot gels, cell phone, a small multi tool, and a credit card. It was just warm enough that I decided to wear the bib shorts instead of the bib knickers. I did put on some Elite Ozone Thermogel (which rocks for cooler weather) just in case the weather stayed cool or turned bad. I started with arm warmers but about a third of the way through they were also jammed into the rear pockets of my jersey.

This is the road about 5 miles in.

No signals, just one stop sign on my out and back. This is about as close to a real TT or Tri condition as I will ever get without racing.

Here is another part of my route, this time in Black Butte Ranch.

I rode a total of 63.2 miles and my pace was 19.4 mph. The first 5 to 8 miles where not comfortable at all. Everything just felt weird. My legs weren't working and to put it bluntly, my junk was feeling a bit like it was being mangled by the saddle. Then oddly enough from about the 10 mile mark on the junk was just a non issue--at least as far as comfort goes. From mile 10 through 45 everything was great. I realized that I didn't bring enough gels with me. I ended up buying some Shot Bloks at Eurosport in Sisters. Water was fine--I had some Gu electrolyte orange flavored stuff that tasted nasty, but worked well. I was able ration the 48 oz of water I had with me pretty easily. The wind picked up for the last 10 or so miles when I was heading back to Black Butte Ranch. This also happened to be the same time that my lower back started to really give out. Those last 10 miles pretty much sucked; a head wind and a lower back that would not allow me to put much power into my pedalling. Every couple of miles I had to get out of the aero position either to climb a hill or to relieve pain.

This is Black Butte and seeing this means I am almost there.

This was not a part of my route, just a couple of miles further west on Route 20. Weird, snow on the side of road in May

So, I was on the bike for over 3 hours and that is a long time to be alone with ones thoughts. Maybe not as long as some poor sap in prison, but still TT is a very solitary activity. My legs were just endless doing revolutions and my head looking about 30 to 50 feet down the road except for about every 30 seconds when I would glance further down the road for obstructions. Oh yeah, and the constant looking at my aero bar where my computer is located. It is like that stupid cateye was a magnet and my eyes were made of iron.

Some of my thoughts delved into such deep subjects as:

"Why did they decided to make the chainrings 39 and 53? [Seemingly random numbers. One is a prime number and one is not. Is that the perfect ratio when mated with an 11/23 or 12/25 cassette? Why not a 39T and 54T? At least then they are both divisible by the number 3 (53 is a prime number and not divisible by anything other than itself and one)]

How long would it take me to learn the ins and outs of ERISA? [I have a lead on a job where they are looking for someone to deal with a significant amount of ERISA work]

Should I sell this bike and get a normal road bike? [I swear this is my first AND last half-ironman distance triathlon. Would I enjoy another bike more? Should I sell one of my two cross bikes instead?, was a closely related question. I ended up in the negative on these bike questions. I have nice bikes and don't have a desire for any of the bikes I could afford or get any deals on.]

How long is it going to take me to finish the Vikingman? [I figure 6 hours 15 minutes is realistic]

What are we going to name this latest boy we have coming at the end of summer? [We have no idea and I couldn't come up with anything on the ride either]

Anyway, there were lots of other thoughts. I passed a wreck involving a guy and a motorcycle. There were paramedics working on him on a stretcher. I was sort of afraid to look because I get a little ill when I see gore that is real. Luckily for both of us he appeared to be whole and pretty much unscathed.

I am pretty good at finding things to think about. At least until the pain starts--which is why those last 10 miles sucked so bad, I couldn't think about much else by that time.

I will try and get in at least another long ride on the Fuji before the Vikingman. One of my two remaining long road rides before the Vikingman (friday is a 3.5 hour ride and the following friday is a 4 hour ride) will be on the Fuji again. The other may be on the Lapierre if I can figure out how to bring enough water on a bike that has no bottle mounts (hey, it is a cyclocross race bike, what does it need bottle mounts for?).

I think I will be ready for Vikingman. I realize this is not the most positive attitude. I should say, "I know I will be ready." But that wouldn't be honest. I have bad memories of my last triathlon in Idaho. I was truly miserable for that one last summer. I am just not real excited about 6+ hours out there in Idaho being either miserable or almost miserable. Yeah, but when I am done I will always be able to say I did it. That is something, surely.

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