I want you 2 skip coffee. Much more important for you to sleep an extra 45 to 60
min than get caffeinated.
I don't want to go on and on about the ride today. Basically my legs were not recovered, and it was tough for me to keep up in the warm-up, but since it was my warm-up dammit, I took it easy and made them wait. But once we hit the first rollers it was just brutal, and I feared that I would not break through it. I tried though. Mike talked to me, Holden talked to me, but I was falling farther behind on the hills and I was pushing until my legs were numb. They were getting tighter two hours into it, not looser. I wanted to scream and get the hell off my bike. Why was I spending so much time on my road bike anyway?
So I told Holden that I wanted to head back to the hotel. We stopped at a rest stop where this picture was taken, and Mike and Holden tried to figure out how to get me back to the hotel without getting me lost or hit by a car. It turned out that I had to do one more 5 mile climb with the group to get me to a road where I could safely get back. It was a death march. An absolutely beautiful road and the perfect climb for me, long and windy with a gradual grade, but today it was Mount Misery. When I got to the top I bid them farewell and started a long descent. When I got to the bottom, I felt relieved. I could pedal the 10 miles back and just enjoy the scenery and not worry about keeping up or slowing anyone else down. So I stopped and took some great pictures :
really cool old abandoned gypsum(?) factory
and meandered my way back to campus, through campus, and back to the Marriott. It was a stunningly beautiful day and I was lucky to be able to enjoy it in good health. I was going to get back, shower, stretch, and find myself a coffee shop in town and do some writing. There was this great coffeehouse called “Saints”—the very same joint where I stood up Ryan this morning, and I set up camp there.
(By the way Ry, I am truly sorry that due to self-absorption brought on my by my bitter dissapointment I assumed that Kuhn had called you and told you we would not be meeting you, that was truly lame and I would have been pissed if a friend did it to me, I owe you a beer, even tho by the next time I see you you will have forgotten about it)
It was nice to have some time alone to coax the cacophony of negative thoughts in my head into an epiphany of sorts. My life had turned from a honeymoon at the end of 2007 into an extremely stressful uphill battle in terms of my career, my athletic pursuits and my financial and personal life. Maybe uphill was too linear a term; really in all of these pursuits, especially my emotional life, it was more like a rollercoaster, and the uncertainty was making me crazy.
Annie interrupted these thoughts with a phone call asking if I was okay. Yes, of course, I would come back to the hotel and meet them all for dinner at 5:30. That was not completely true. I wanted to get into my car and go back to Philadelphia and see Max. I had heard via email from Chris that Max had hurt his back mountain biking, and I wanted nothing better than to spend my Saturday evening with him and Gryphon, Madison, Chloe and Diesel, our little pack of hounds.
When we got into the lobby, the choice was to go out to dinner or order in so we could take advantage of coaching on power file analysis and a demonstration of some basic bike maintenance. Everyone wanted to eat in except me-- outvoted. We ordered from Ruby Tuesdays, Annie and I got a bottle of red wine and a six-pack of Harp for the group, and we sat in the room and watched Mike messing around with that sweet new Cannondale SuperSix he got for being the fearless leader of VisitPA. I finally got an idea of how to adjust a derailleur; might come in handy when I don’t have a mechanic anymore.
Holden talked about the importance of ignoring the PT and learning to really cultivate your ability to perform by perceived effort. This is something I struggle with, and I said that I felt like I treated my body more like a child that needed to be disciplined rather than a highly trained vessel with emotional, intellectual and physical needs. In other words, these needs require that I shut up and listen once in a while, rather than try and control. I really feel that I need to develop that trust and innate understanding of my body’s needs and this was the key to becoming a successful athlete rather than merely a recreational rider.
We then looked at the setup in TrainingPeaks and the various charts and graphs pertaining to power & performance. Mike had analyzed our power data from Friday and Saturday and pointed out some interesting things, although I found it valuable, any talk or comparison of my power data was conspicuously absent, since my numbers were so much lower than they should have been.
It was getting late, and everyone headed off to bed. Mike and I discussed my baffling underperformance this weekend and tried to piece it all together. I had rested before the camp, taking off Monday and Tuesday. I had eaten plenty during the camp. My TSS scores on Wednesday and Thursday were not off the charts. I had been sleeping well, although probably not quite enough.
“What about your sudden weight loss?” he asked.
“yeah, well I did lose 5 pound in 3 days, but I have gained a couple back. I don’t think it was the weight loss itself so much,” no, I was thinking, just the extreme distress and despair that came when the only person I have ever really loved in my entire life decided that he needed to cut me loose. I think those three days were some of the worst of my life, and I have not been right since, even though Max and I have since patched things up. “I have not had one good workout since then . . . ” I said wistfully, biting my lip.
“Didn’t you go on some extreme workout the next day, when you weren’t eating?”
Yeah, I did, a 3.5 hour hard mountain bike ride when all I had eaten all day was a bar and some coffee. I killed one-brake Jake at Belmont, and by the time it was getting dark and we did half the Wiss, he made me stop and turn around since I was so upset. “Go home and live to ride another day Andrea” he had said. But I did not want to stop riding, as exhausted as I was, because I knew once I got home my mind would go into overdrive. I’ll never forget those words.
“There has to be something else though,” Mike said. It still just did not add up.
I told them I would not be riding with them in the am. It was supposed to rain, and I knew it would be more of the same if I tried to do the 50-miler. Everyone else was hurting as well, except maybe Annie the Giant, who was bitterly disappointed this afternoon when she got back form the 87 mile ride and Holden was too tired to take her swimming. Mike told her she was nuts and to get some rest.
So that was Saturday. I was hoping I would feel well enough to take the mountain bike out Sunday, but knew it would probably not happen. So it as off the bed with heavy legs and an even heavier heart.