Tuesday, February 26, 2008

cadence camp day 5, Tour of California

Saturday am the plan was to get up and ride to Moorpark, to watch the final major climb of the Tour of California at the VIP tent. First we met at a grassy field and played some bike handling drills.

Those were my favorite. We had to stay in a small square and try to knock each other off our bikes, keeping our hands on the bars and feet on pedals. The second time around I ended up winning. I guess this weekend it was all about the small triumphs.

Anyway, for the actual ride we met up with a large group leaving from Sundance Cycles down the road from the hotel, 2 vans with a change of clothes in tow. The sun came out and the scenery was beautiful, but the group was a little shaky and slow. We did separate from them towards the end and put in some hard efforts, one long hill and some speed work on the flats. My legs felt OK, I was keeping up pretty well but I knew I was in the hole and was just buying time.

When we got to the Amgen VIP area I changed into jeans and rode on my bike up this really steep climb with sneakers on , that was a bitch, I almost had to get off the bike and walk. A $25 donation to cancer later we were watching the tour from way up on the hill: check out this scenery:

The only problem was that is was cold up on the ridge and I was not dressed properly. After the barbecue a bunch of us walked down to the road to get closer to the action as the pros went by. That part was awesome!
the race leaders flanked by BigHairSuperFan

Afterwards we we changed back and headed home. Now the adventure begun. We were no longer riding with a local club, so we had to figure out a route back. Colin mapped something out, but we ended up missing a turn and doing an extra 6 miles or so. The sun wend behind a cloud and the wind blew harder, and it would start to rain on and off. We had 2 flats. We were getting cold and tired. I was off the back of the first group somehow, but way ahead of the second and third group, and suddenly I realized I had been riding alone for awhile, 3000 miles from any roads that I knew; my legs felt like lead and I was getting cold and tired. And I had heard a rumor that the people behind me were going to get home via van. Where did that leave me? I could not see the first group and I was getting tired of pulling into the headwind by myself. I was riding past beautiful pastures framed by a backdrop of verdant mountains but all I kept thinking of was a hot shower and some food that had once had a pulse. Meat that is. I felt like I could not choke down another bar or gel.

Finally all that pushing paid off because I managed to catch the lead group on Agoura Road a few miles before the hotel. I downed some yogurt, berries, granola, and a rice cake with peanut butter , took a shower followed by a stint in the hot tub with Laurel, Colin and Ken. We went back and forth from the pool to the hot tub in an attempt to get some circulation in the muscles. Then another hot shower. I knew I was not going to be good for much on Sunday, but it seemed a lot of the camp participants felt the same way, and the forecast for Sunday was rain rain rain, so there was a chance the ride would not go off on time anyway. good, more sleep.

Afterwards Ken, Colin, Laurel and I went to Padri for some Italian food and wine. I was dog tired, wondering how the hell I would ever make it up the Yerba Buena climb on Sunday. 9 miles of winding mountain road straight up into the clouds. I was in bed with the laptop, updating my training peaks and screwing around on my email. I was also trying to figure out why Max was so pissed off at me, but realizing finally that the web was offering me absolutely nothing to help solve this mystery, I finally put out the light.

Cyclingwise, today had not been bad. Actually taking into account watching the Tour, it was pretty awesome, but I have to say the ride home was something of a deathmarch at the end. It was only 72 miles all in all, but it felt like 120.

cycling fans are a bit odd . . .

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