I haven't done a lot of cycling where the temperature matches and exceeds my cadence...when I'm pedaling flat or downhill. But that's what happened when LA Tri Clubber Cheryl pointed out that her computer watch indicated 104 degrees around 11:30 a.m. this morning on our approximately 60-mile ride from Agoura to Newbury Park and back.
Picture having a blow-driver blast you with hot air for 3.5 hours. That's how our ride felt. Shade was definitely our friend today during every rest stop -- which there were more of than usual.
Fortunately, we had none other than our dog-bark impersonating, recently USAT-certified coach, Ray, saving the day. He drove a badly needed sag vehicle all over the Conejo Valley, keeping us hydrated with drinks paid for from his own pocket and entertained, as always. Of course, Ray being the nice guy that he is, wouldn't even accept the contributions cup we offered him in return for going so far out of his way. On top of all that, Ray even found time to shoot some video of us in our various forms of agony or glory, depending on the time of day and the level of fluid in our water bottles. (You'll have to be Ray's buddy on Facebook to see them though!)
I fared well on the ride, especially since I had my road bike to everyone else's tri bikes. I started to cramp around the last mile of the ride, using my elbows to power my legs up a final climb so I wouldn't over-exert with my hamstrings and quads. I made it back to basecamp off Agoura Road and Las Virgenes without incident.
Perhaps the best part about today's ride is that I can finally put to bed my bonk-fest with Christina last month riding the Colnago. Clearly that was a fluke. We rode longer today, in much hotter conditions, and still managed some decent climbing.
Following the ride and a much-needed refueling session with the Fortius gang, I drew a cold bath at home and soaked with Epsom salt after icing my legs with frozen vegetable bags. Then, it was nap time for nearly 1.5 hours.
Now that's what I recall a nice recovery. My legs feel fairly fresh and I have no dehydration-related headache to report. Which is good, because tomorrow morning Ray will be leading us on a 12-14 mile run through the Bulldog trail at Malibu Creek State Park -- near where the TV show M.A.S.H. was filmed many years ago.
There are days when I'm torn between being thrilled at having the opportunity to train to peak physical condition, and wondering what the hell I'm doing to myself. Do you ever feel the same way? Seriously, it's Labor Day Weekend. I should be sleeping in, lounging around at the beach, and sipping cocktails watching the sunset. Instead, I'm getting up at 6, on the road or trail by 7 and training into the heat of the day.
This Ironman stuff sure feels nuts sometimes.
76 days and counting.