|Can you tell I registered for the race April 30?|
"No," he answered, "In fact, I want you to go ride. I don't want you dying in Kansas."
Perfect answer. It did not, however, make it any easier for me to get going Friday morning after reading until 3:30 a.m. (damn you, Fifty Shades of Grey). I dropped Nathan off at graduation practice and then spent an hour contemplating a return to bed. I finally left with just enough time to get in a pretty desultory 22 miles. Better than nothing.
Saturday was taken up by Nathan's graduation. He made it interesting, for sure, but he graduated.
|He had to put the robe back on for pictures. Note the sock feet. :)|
Sunday I was back on the bike...but on singletrack rather than roads. My blog friend Anne came to town and needed a guide for our trails. Even with the awesome maps GORC has online, the trails are still confusing. It's taken me more than a year of running and riding out there to sort of know where I am out there...most of the time.
I was a little nervous since Anne and I had never ridden together and I was riding the Monster bike rather than my regular mountain bike. It's actually a mountain frame, but it's set up with a rigid front shock. I wasn't sure how I'd do without front suspension (seeing as the first time I tried it didn't go so well), but the trails aren't technical and I've gotten a lot more experience since my ill-fated beginner outing.
It turned out that Anne and I are fairly similar speeds (at least on new-to-her terrain), and the bike did great. There were two spots I walked (and once where I almost ran into a tree). I'm pretty sure the bike would have been fine, but I really don't want to chance hurting someone else's bike or myself right before Dirty Kanza. I rode everything else, and it all just felt so much better on the Monster bike. I'm not sure if the difference is the weight or the better components or what, but I felt like I was floating up the climbs. I've really enjoyed the opportunity to be spoiled for a while. :)
Anne and I rode about 8 miles, getting to talk racing and blogging and friends in common. I'm pretty sure she'll be back, and I'm looking forward to riding together again!
|This must be "post unflattering pictures of yourself" day. But Anne looks cute.|
We spent Sunday playing sand volleyball at my father-in-law's. It's kind of a Memorial Day weekend tradition, though it's gotten harder and harder to get enough players. This year, however, was fantastic. We actually had three teams rotating for a while, and even though I'm pretty sure my team lost every single game we played, I had a blast.
By 4:00 or so, though, I was ready to head home because I was meeting friends at Klondike Park in Augusta. My friend Patrick was on the last leg of his latest installment of the 100+ Project fundraising for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America's St. Louis chapter. Basically, he's completing various 100+ mile journeys using different modes of transportation. This was Bike 100+, a through-ride of the Katy Trail. I'd have loved to take part in the whole thing, but things like graduation and traditions come first. Still, my family was kind enough to do without me for the last day of the weekend so I could share in the victory lap.
Hanging out away from the campfire (because with temps in the 90's, who wants to be around it?) with some of my adventure friends (and their kids) was a lot of fun, and since I woke up at 5:30 a.m., I didn't have any problem being ready for our planned 7:30 departure time. In fact, we left almost 15 minutes early.
|Brian, Cheri, me, Pat, Robin, Chuck, Lori, Gary|
|Riding down the Katy towards St. Charles|
|Patrick and Chuck make like Lewis and Clark...or Clark and Lewis...|
|Hello sun, hello 90 degree temperatures.|
Chuck even offered me a ride back to St. Charles with him, Lori, and their boys. That would allow me to skip the most exposed section of the ride and leave me with just 26 or so miles back to my car. As little as I was looking forward to the heat and the wind, I'm going to be riding in just those conditions (or worse)for Dirty Kanza. Might as well get in some tougher training miles instead of the cool weather biking I've been enjoying.
|I've now ridden all of the Katy Trail (just not at the same time)|
The nicest surprise was that Chuck decided to ride back with me to St. Charles and then have Lori pick him up there. Having company for that 11-mile stretch was huge. The wind was pretty bad, but one nice surprise was that the headwind provided a nice distraction from my increasingly raw behind. Maybe my positioning was different, too? Chuck started off pulling so I could draft behind him, but before long he realized he hadn't eaten and stopped to have a bagel. The couple bites he managed weren't kind to his stomach, and he looked miserable.
After a few minutes we took off again at a slower pace so that Chuck's stomach could settle. I'm sure it was awful for him, but worrying about how he was feeling was another helpful distraction for me, and it forced me to deal with the wind more instead of hiding behind a stronger rider.
|Just a little windy|
It was hot, but primarily shaded, so I had good conditions for the last 27 miles or so of the ride. Good trail and weather conditions, anyway. I know I keep saying it, but I just can't even tell you how sore I was. It hurt so much to sit. It was really an act of will to keep going. I let myself stop to give my butt a break every five miles or so, so this is how the pace went for most of that time: 12 mph, 12 mph, 13 mph, 14 mph, 6 mph (stopped for a break); 15, 14, 15, 7 (break); 14, 13, 13, 13, 6 (break); etc. My back was getting a little sore, but everything else on my body felt great. It was really frustrating to feel so strong and yet so terrible.
I was thrilled to reach the turnoff to Klondike Park, but I waited to long to downshift and ended up walking my bike up the hill. I reached my car at exactly 3:00 and was done. 76.3 miles, my longest and most demoralizing ride this year. It's hard to imagine being able to gut out another 125+ miles feeling like that.
I woke up today feeling like someone had beaten me in my sleep, but after I got up and moved around (and took some Tylenol), I felt fine. I hit the bike shop and picked up a new saddle, and I'm borrowing another from a friend to try out. With 3 days til I'm in Kansas, it's mighty late to be making changes; on the other hand, I can't imagine finishing feeling the way I did yesterday. Hopefully this helps.
Wish me luck!