Saturday, August 27, 2011

Biking with the Mikes

Greetings peeps!!  So, yesterday (8/26) was my century ride, as many of you know if you follow my obnoxious posting on Facebook (Yes, I AM a FB whore!). I had this planned, and was lucky to talk Mike Rosenberg into joining me, for what would be his first century ride! The promise of "time in the saddle" versus a hammerfest (me? Hammerfest?? Never!) I think was what made Mike more confident tackling this. I've ridden with Mike over the past few years, and I've got to say, he's really becoming what I'd say is a "strong cyclist"!  He rides up every single hill ... while I dismount and walk (of shame!). 

I've done this route in the past and am familiar with 3/4 of the area. The region from 6 o'clock to 3 o'clock is my unfamiliar territory. Couple that with exhaustion and fatigue and I'm usually a whiney, sobbing mess by the time I arrive there. I had decided to reverse the course, tackling the unfamiliar part first, when I felt stronger. But when Mike Mayer wanted to join, I was happy to go back to doing the loop counterclockwise so we could connect in Lakewood.

Mike R. and I met at North Chagrin, although we parked .75 miles away from each other. We connected and head north at 9:15 am. It wasn't too long before I was in familiar territory and heading west on Lakeshore, into downtown. I'll say it again: N. Marginal Road BLOWS!!! Maybe next time I'll try S. Marginal road. Anyone know if it's any better??  Ugh, headache from the rough road set in. Anyway, we got to the Browns stadium in 1:15, not bad given the traffic and lights. I was feeling AMAZING and, as always, thinking to myself: why don't I do this more often? I really enjoy it! (pretty much up to 60 miles, at which point I quickly deteriorate into a wuss!)

At the stadium we texted Mike M. and we weren't too far away, so another 10 min heading west, and we were all together. A leisurely pace to Edgewater to use the bathroom, then head out to Sweetwater and hit the Metropark Parkway. By this time, I was more "ebb" than "flow" and we all kind of spread out a bit, collecting at various points.  The first of the "darkness" set in around Strongsville. We had planned to stop at Seneca Golf Course, where Mike Mayer would turn around and ride back to Sweetwater, and Mike R. and I would continue on with the loop.

I had totally "forgotten"-  or had selective amnesia - the climbs through that area.  OMG was that hard!! I dismounted for one long climb and walked, the walk of shame. Some leg cramping was starting. :(  I was in a pretty bad place physically and emotionally. Oh, and I should mention that on my way out to start the ride, my insulin pump became "occluded" - first time ever, OF COURSE!! Was this a sign of things to come?  I literally cycled the whole day -10.5 hrs - without insulin or a CGM. I had a glucometer with me, but I opted to bury my head in the sand and "just ride". I was taking in gels and Amino Vital, so I was likely running "high", and not low, but we'll never know.  So, back to the darkest hours: the 10 miles before Seneca Golf Course.  I got dropped - no surprise. They knew where we were going, I knew where we were going, so it wasn't an issue for me at all.  The Mikes are stronger cyclists, and as I've said, I'm okay with that!! After the worst of the climbs, after Bennet Rd, and before Ridge Rd., I had the single, most painful experience of my life!!!.  My quads started to seize. BOTH of them!  And not mere "cramping" but ROCK HARD, spastic seizure. Enough to pull my left knee cap off track. I got off the bike as soon as it started. I was in the middle of the car lane, there was NO BERM. I leaned on my bike and screamed with the most guttural scream ever - the kind you hear women doing while giving birth.  I've had 3 kids, and passed 6 or so kidney stones ... this was worse.  I could not lay down the bike, it was all that was holding me up. I was FROZEN.  This lasted for a good 60 seconds, which felt like 5 min. I actually prayed for a car to come and hit me!!  Or maybe just HELP me.  My group was long gone, and I was totally, utterly "stuck".  I heard a car approaching ... I looked back: It was a park ranger!!! THANK YOU DEAR GOD!!!  He parks and starts calling into dispatch and I'm screaming "can you come take the bike??"  (Along with some other choice words, which clearly were not meant for him!). He came up and I just said "please, just take the bike". He did. I reached down, flipped my kneecap back on the groove and collapsed with my legs folding under me. Sweet relief, instantly. Did that just really happen, or was it a nightmare???   Within a minute I was able to get up and take the bike back. I thanked him profusely, and assured him I had a phone, money (for a cab he said! Ha!) and some peeps ahead. He let me go on, and I walked for about 1/4 mile, and ultimately, climbed back on my bike. I got into granny gear and spun as fast as I could. My thought process was to flush out the lactate and spin out the cramping in a low gear. I took water, salt tabs and finally, at the top of the next hill, collected with the Mikes. My first words: "you will not believe what just happened to me!!"    Ugh.  Onward....

Finally we arrived at Seneca golf course and we went in, and snarfed down tons of calories and fluids. My order? A coke, a poweraid and a water.  I WANTED a muffin, but I could just visualize it sitting in my gut, and ultimately being thrown up!! So I passed on the muffin.  We took our time, chatted,  and started to feel better. It was probably a full hour before we got back on the road, Mike M. heading back to Lakewood, and us continuing the Emerald Necklace loop.

We came to our first closed road, which meant getting out the iphone and re-routing. I had some idea of where we were, but we needed to get back on track. It wasn't too long before we found Chaffee Rd. and were back to the route.  Finally, entering Bedford reservation, we stopped to use the bathroom and check in with our respective peeps. It was 4:30pm and we were supposed to be done, but, we literally had 30 miles to go :(   The iphone helped a lot along the way and we - or rather "I" - ebbed and flowed with energy again. Mike was holding strong, and had already determined he was going to run afterward!! Me? NO. WAY.  We caught some good rollers - I love those!!  But then there were some great descents, that were so, so fun!  As we stopped to check the route, I was commenting on how fun that descent was. Mike says "you know what that means, don't you?"  Ha! Yes. I. do.  More climbing!!!  So, we get down to Chagrin River Road - I'm finally starting to get excited b/c we are almost home! Until ... THE DETOUR.  Yes, Old Mill was out at the bridge, heading east, and there was no way to get out of the valley without climbing the long, steep Old Mill up.  Mike was off! I just tried talking to myself, to remain calm, and try to get as far up as I could.  I think made 1/4 of a mile, tops. The rest was a long, lonely, dark haul up the road. Mike was at the top sitting down.  He later said he wanted to descend it, and ride it a second time, but was afraid I'd be mad! No way!!! - if you are feeling the energy to repeat that, HAVE AT IT!!  I know my physical weaknesses and I'm okay with them! Next time he wants to do that, he's got my full blessing. I would not in any way feel like he's showing me up! First off, he's a humble guy. Secondly, I'm really at peace with my lack of cycling strength, and especially climbs! He's significantly younger, and stronger than me - and getting stronger with each ride!  I'm fine with doing whatever you need to do to make your ride fulfilling for you! I'm just happy to have some company!

At the top, we were ALMOST there. Mileage: 94 miles.  We got to Mayfield Rd., and while Mike wanted to avoid traffic, I just wanted to be DONE.  It's after 7pm by this time!!!  So Mike conceded, and we went Mayfield Rd. to SOM Center Rd., and back to North Chagrin. Ending mileage at my car: 99.94 ... no way was I ending on that number! Little bit more to flip the odometer, and we ended up with 100.11. And I was DONE!!

Home, shower, coma while watching the Tribe play, ejecting in the 8th inning for bed. I slept like a rock and, surprisingly, woke up to very little soreness at all! How is that possible???

Glad to have it done. Off to do a run today.  Had to bail on John Mack and riding 60 miles today ... way too ambitious for me! Plus, me and Felicity need time away from each other. And she needs a bath!!

I'm struggling. Rev3 ... do the full? Drop to the half? Defer to next year.  I think today is the last day I can change it. We'll see how the run goes. I'm not near where I was last year :( I need another 6 weeks!! But, it is what it is, and I'll just need to decide and go with it. I suppose the answer will be clear for me here soon. I hope so!

Peace out!

1 comment:

  1. If you just did that 100 mile ride you could AT LEAST do the half!I totally understand the uncertainty, though. I think you'll be sad if you don't race at all...just do the half! Wish I was going to be there....... :(