Pain is weakness leaving the body. ~Anonymous

Pain was their body's way of letting them know they'd pushed themselves to their limits--which was exactly where they were supposed to be. ~Richard Marcinko

Pain don't hurt. ~Dalton (Road House)

There are lots of quotes about pain. The most thought-provoking one that I've read, though, is a bit longer than the ones above. I found it in a book by Marla Streb on training for a century ride. I bought it last year, read it cover to cover, and didn't really do a thing it suggested other than ride, ride, ride. Which is not to say it wasn't a good book; it was.

Naturally, I can't find the quote that I'm looking for, but she said something to the effect that, what we typically perceive as pain is the experience of exertion. One way that she talked about handling it was telling yourself, This is how my legs feel when I ride 45 miles. This is how my butt feels when I sit on a bike seat for 4 hours. Because we're (on the whole) so unaccustomed to discomfort and exertion, we experience it as pain. It was a very useful mindset for me last year as I trained for my century. Not so much today, though.

Today's ride started out great (after my normal struggle to drag myself out of bed). The two longest routes were 38 and 53 miles. I was hoping to ride 53 but had left it open to ride 38 because Big J was wanting to play volleyball this afternoon. I started out behind a local triathlon club's paceline and was able to hang with the road bikes until they hit about 20 mph. We were cruising. It was a blast. I was feeling really strong. Even after I dropped off the paceline, I was still keeping my speed around 16+ mph.

Note: pictures, except where obvious, have no real relation to the narration other than being taken on the ride. And breaking up all this blather.

Mascoutah ride
"Ahhh, another of Kate's pictures of corn. How lovely. How interesting." Look, I live in Southern Illinois. We've got corn and soybeans. Not much else. If you're looking for beautiful and interesting run pics, check out RBR.

At one point, I was chasing after a small group ahead of me. I rode behind them for a bit, then wasn't able to keep up (on an incline, maybe?). I caught up eventually and they invited me to draft them. I did for a bit, but we were going around 15 mph and I started feeling antsy after I got my second wind, so I took off. I felt like I was flying, going around 18-19 mph. I stopped at one of the rest stops to fill my water bottles and have a granola bar. They pulled in as I was leaving. I waved, and one of the guys said, "What happened? First you couldn't keep up and then you dropped us lot hot potatoes!"

Mascoutah ride
Horses. I love horses.

The split came sooner than I'd have liked, but I decided to go for the 53 because I was making good time. I was feeling great as I got to the rest stop at the midpoint. I was averagine 15.8 mph, and my body felt just fine. Things went a little sour after that, though. After leaving that stop, everything seemed a lot harder. There were several hills--not bad ones, but I'm not a good climber--and I felt like the wind was pushing me more. My speed dropped quite a bit and I was hurting a little, but I was still doing ok until after the 38-mile stop.

Mascoutah ride
A barn. Instead of a cornfield. Because variety is a good thing.

At that point I started feeling positive. Only 15 miles left! I could ride that in an hour! But then my legs started being hateful. Independent of me, they consulted each other and determined that, no matter how badly I wanted to finish the ride with a 15 mph average, they couldn't care less. Traitors. I don't know, maybe they were pissed bc they somehow got the idea we were only riding 38 miles, but they made the remainder of the ride miserable.

Traitor legs
Traitorous bitches

I got the worst leg cramps. Not sure why. I stayed hydrated, at a couple snacks, drank my Gatorade...but moving my legs hurt did holding them still. I wanted badly to stop riding. I practically did. For a while there, I was riding more slowly that I can run! I broke my own rule about looking at the odometer except for at rest stops about 100 times. 47 miles...49 miles...50 miles...still 50 miles???...51 get the idea. The only thing that got me out of the single-digit, granny gear hell I was enmeshed in was the thought that, if there was only 1 mile left, I could get back to my car in 5 minutes at a 12 mph pace.

Mascoutah ride
I was soooo thrilled to see this sign...almost there!

I limped my way back to my car, hating every single cyclist I saw driving a way with their bike on their car. Lucky bastards! It was all I could do to load up my bike when I got to the car. Then I just sat for a few minutes in the a/c wondering if I was going to be sick. Once I started feeling better, I started looking for a Dairy Queen! My bike computer said I burned 2000+ calories, and I was going to eat a Blizzard with NO guilt!

Mascoutah ride
And I did. And it was good. :)

As for my legs, well, I didn't mention it at the time, but they had to play two hours of sand volleyball this afternoon! That'll teach 'em.

Ride stats:
53.8 miles
Time: 3:49
Pace: 14.1 mph

Weekly stats:
Bike: 53.8 miles
Run: 0


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