Saturday, April 10, 2010

A Sense of Scale

 SCALE (N): 

  • a proportion between two sets of dimensions (as between those of a drawing and its original) 
  • a distinctive relative size, extent, or degree 
  • a graded series of tests or of performances used in rating individual intelligence or achievement

I've scaled up. I think it happened at Davis, or possibly on the long drive home. Time was, a 24-hour race was a Major Event - I'd spend the week - sometimes longer - afterward being sore, famished, legarthic, and generally not able to do much. 

I've gotten past that. True - I didn't race Davis as hard as I normally race a 24, but it was still a 24, and I did put in a series of hard laps. After a nap at Lee's Bike Hostel, we got home around midnight Sunday night/Monday AM. I took Monday off, but I felt pretty danged good. Legs felt good-heavy, like I'd done a long run, but not painful.  I did some light spinning at the gym on Tuesday, and - since we got a rare weather break - a hilly century on Wednesday. Back to the gym to spin on Thursday, 60 miles on Friday, and a really wonderful 150-mile training ride today. 

In other words, business as usual. Except that the different part is, it doesn't seem long - or hard - any more. It just IS. Today, I rode up to the Mid Valley Bicycle Club ride in Corvallis. It's 42 miles to get there. If you remember some of my earlier posts, it used to be a struggle to get up early and ride all the way there. I didn't even really have to think about it this morning. I did hit the snooze button a couple of times, and I ended up leaving about a half an hour later than I had wanted to - but it never crossed my mind that I should drive partway, or that it was too far, or...that it was 32 degrees outside, with a nasty headwind which hadn't been figured into my speed calculations when I hit the second time, much less the third...Cripes!

OK. Just keep on top of the time, and keep pedalling. From the turn onto Coburg Road - a mile from my house - to the intersection of Hwy 34 and Peoria Road - about 38 miles total - I didn't put a foot down. I stopped pedalling and coasted precisely once - making a turn in Harrisburg. Other than that - crank city. I also spent much of the ride working on one-handed steering; I was needing to keep one hand in an armpit to stay warm. 

I got to the ride at 9:05. This is a 9AM ride with a 9:15 "procrastination special" start, so in reality I'm nowhere near late. I have time to hit the Beanery for two(!) seven layer bars, which I'm pretty sure will come in handy. They look like the most, um, energy-dense offering, and my legs are telling me that, even though they're good to ride, the previous weeks' activities have left them without much in the bank. (Good. Good RAAM simulation...add "Seven Layer Bars" to the food arsenal). Torched one of them immediately, stuffed the other in the race bag for later. 

The ride is one of my favorites - Alsea Falls. I had a pretty good run of early on, then hung back to ride with  Joe and Tim and Steve a bit. Tim and Steve talk beer. Tim rides faster when Tim and Steve talk beer, a fact I file away with some amusement. It's great to see Lindy, and also great to grab a fig bar or two for the journey ahead. 

We all reconvened at the Marys Peak Road turnoff; it's rolling downhill to the hamlet of Alsea. I started near the back of the pack. This meant that by the time I worked my way to the front, Steve had some warning. He wasn't able to catch my wheel, but was clearly ramping up. I had a nice game of cat-and-mouse the rest of the way in to town. He'd enlisted one helper and they were clearly riding like men possessed - tongues out, hammer and tongs. I'd pick up the pace when I could pick out two helmets by color in my rear view mirror, otherwise I was loafin' - the bike LOVES that kind of terrain. The guys were exhausted, but happy with their effort, when we got to Alsea. Reminded me of a couple of dogs chasing chance to catch one, just love having an excuse to run fast and pretend. 

Corn dog at the Alsea store. Stick Food ROCKS!! The lady asked me whether I wanted "regular or jalapeno". I figured that this was akin to asking me whether I was just plain crazy, or crazy with a side order of stupid. Went for the regular. "They're not that bad. Really", she replied...maybe next time. 

Slowed down a bit after that - did the climb to the Alsea summit in "tourist" mode, just barely aerobic. Still avoided visiting Granny, except for a couple of steep pitches. Pretty similar pace to my Davis 24 effort - kicked back and loving life. No snow on top; we thought there might be a bit, but - nope. 

After the descent into Alpine, we climbed back up Bellfountain Road to the Midge Cramer Coastdown site. With the still-stiff headwinds, it was clear that we weren't going to be setting any outright records, but relative fame and glory was there to be had. The Carbent carried the day, coasting past  the marks set by  faired recumbents and a tandem, in addition to the usual array of DFs. Considering that I'd never done a true coast-down test before, not a bad outing. At the very least, I was dressed for it: my Castelli jacket is extremely aero - nothing flapping. I could've battened down the front vents for another foot or two, I suppose. 

Rolled in, chatting a bit, then off toward Eugene. This time with a tailwind, at least most of the way. Another 42 miles just clicked away. In a way it was effortless, just keeping pedalling, doing what I love and loving what I do. Somewhere past Monroe it came to me that things have taken a turn - that I'm racking up big miles (good) without much effort (better) and that it's not mentally difficult and I'm recovering quickly (best). 

RAAM is a huge undertaking. It was time to scale up. I'm feeling good. 

1 comment:

  1. good job Sandy, looks like you are on track!
    Ron J