Hot Hot Heat

The line between training hard and being stupid is a fine one.  I think I walked it a little today. It wasn't supposed to go that way.  After touring the sun-splashed and wind-swept Santa Ynez Valley yesterday, Stephanie and crashed out pretty hard last night around 9:45 p.m.  Nearly 11 hours later, we awoke.  I suppose my body was trying to tell me something.

I eventually rallied this morning and drove to the Starbucks at Las Virgenes and Agoura Road for my brick workout -- which was a solo affair.  No sooner had I arrived than I had to turn around.  I left my helmet at home!  Arrrgh!  I did have that moment where I considered riding without it.  But I knew that was not a fine line between training and being stupid.  Plus, if I survived, Steph would have killed me anyways!

Once I eventually got started on my brick, it was 10:30 a.m.  In the span of driving home and returning to Agoura, the temperature went up five degrees to 80.  I was going to complete my brick during the hottest part of the day, from 10:30 through 2:30 p.m.

Wise or stupid?

On one hand, I'm a big believer in training in multiple weather conditions, especially with Vineman 70.3 looming.  It gets hot in Napa Valley in the middle of summer!  And my initial outing in heat, a week ago in Arizona, didn't go so great during the run.  I wanted to keep working at it.

On the other hand...dude, it's 93 degrees!  At least!  Coach Gerardo didn't say to train in the heat of the day, so why put myself through that?  Why not just do the workouts prescribed at the typical early hour?

Where's the fun in that?!

So, I trudged onward today.  Alone.  In the heat.  Talk about a mental exercise.  No music.  No conversation...just me, my thoughts, and beautiful scenery.  The highlights weren't even on the bike or the run, but the car rally fundraiser for the LA Sheriffs Department.  There were 100 exotic cars all revving up on Agoura Road, just waiting to blast and whine through the canyon roads.  Nice!

My pace on the bike and the run wasn't special.  However, I did see some progress on the run compared to Arizona.  I didn't lose as many calories, my average heart-rate was lower and my pace was only .1 mph off.  Yet I climbed 200 more feet.  The credit goes to better hydration -- I scheduled water refill stops at Peter Strauss Ranch and at the Sherwood fire station.  On the bike, I climbed Rock Store in just under 20 minutes while remaining largely in heart-rate zones 2-3 and not over-exerting except on a few steep grade turns.  I never really hammered on the ride, but it was still a respectable workout.

Following the full brick, after sitting in a heat-induced stupor at Sharkey's (top photo), I high-tailed it to Helen's Cycles in Santa Monica to pick up my new cleats and to quickly adjust the seat on my Colnago. Once again, Pete took great care of me.  With some very minor adjustments, like actually making my seat flat, I felt an immediate difference in comfort on the trainer.  I'm eager to see how Monica will feel back on the road for my next ride.  And seriously, people, if you need a new bike or a great place to get quality service, I can't recommend Helen's (and Pete) enough.  I've tried my luck at several bike shops and while I've had good results at others, Helen's is the best I've been to.  Hands down.  Simply a cut above the rest.  Like the advertisements say, ask for Pete, and tell him I sent ya!

Before signing off, I wanted to briefly reflect on the significance of today's date, June 6.  I believe it was 66 years ago when Allied Forces stormed the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, Zero Hour.  This was the most pivotal moment of the 20th Century for America.  Had this battle been turned back, I fear the course of World, US and Jewish history would have taken a far worse turn.  I visited Normandy nine years ago today, and I can tell you that what those men fought through to get ashore is astounding and miraculous. And the rows upon rows of grave markers is something that sticks in my head and heart.  During my visit, I went out into the water at what would have approximately been Dog Sector and looked to the beach at the views and bluffs the Americans, Canadians and British had to scale.  I'm in awe of what those men accomplished that day, and when I compare my completely inane blog and its musings with the miraculous actions of that day...I am speechless and beyond humbled.

We are lucky to be free and alive, in good health no less.  We owe that at least partially to the veterans who fought on our behalf for generations, wherever duty called.  No matter how hot or cold it got.  Or wet.  Or worse.

164 days and counting.