Today's post could also have been called, "Team (of one) Ride" or, "Squak, Squak, Cougar, Cougar, Uncle"; take your pick.
It was wet, it was cold, I was alone, there was snow on the top of Cougar and my hands - in spite of me utilizing a super secret warming technique - suffered.
The plan was to meet Dave Hecht and RC Rogers in Issaquah for some hills. RC was going to drive there which sounded intelligent as I did not want to spend any more time in the cold and rain than necessary to get this workout done. On the other hand I have been quite the fair-weather rider lately and after hemming and hawing all morning I finally decided to HTFU and ride from home.
Now I had to scramble…!
As I threw on my clothes I did two things differently from my usual routine; I used some embrocation on my legs and I put on some examination gloves between my liners and my OR Gripper gloves. In the process I learned/re-learned a few things.
First of all regarding embrocation.
- In addition to always applying chamois cream before you apply embrocation, you should always apply the embrocation after you apply your shorts. I got the first part right but because I was wearing knickers today I was not able to comply with the second. And it almost bit me. I got a little of that warm feeling 'below the belt' if you get my drift but thank goodness it was not too severe. Until later that is.
- The 'later' bit was when I took a shower after my ride. I was frozen and so turned up the heat and the instant the hot water touched any skin that had embrocation on it I felt like someone had just poured burning napalm on me. It was amazingly uncomfortable. That was when I discovered there was just a little of the warming cream down there where it doesn't belong. Ouch. I had to wash myself with soap and cool water before I could turn up the temperature.
- This shit lasts for ever! I had forgotten how tenacious it is and believe you me, it's still as strong after four hours as it is after one.
Secondly regarding wearing examination gloves as liners to keep warm.
- It does not work for shit. My hands froze just as much (perhaps more?) than when I just wear my gloves. Why is this? I figured these things would be great; they'd trap the heat, keep me toasty, all that. Well no dice. It's not like my hands got soaked from sweat or anything, I'm assuming it was just the convection from my soaking wet and freezing cold out gloves and the rubber simply conducts the cold better. Whatever, it's a dumb idea.
So I get on my bike and head east. And I totally misjudged the amount of time it takes to get to Issaquah… For some reason I thought I gout jet over there in about 30 minutes. Nope. It takes about 50. As this realization began to dawn on my I rode faster and faster but I still arrived about 15 minutes after the ride was supposed to start. Not surprisingly, no one was there and I don't blame them. My iPod? Oh yeah, it was at home. Oh well.
The first time up Squak was great. Sure it was wet and I was alone but I got into a good rhythm and kept the power on.
The second time up Squak was also pretty good. I took a slightly different route for the lower section just to mix it up and passed a woman running up these wicked steep hills. Nice.
Next up was Cougar - zoo style. By now my hands were getting pretty cold. So cold that on the previous hills I had to stop riding at the top in order to fish my gel flask out of my jersey pocket. Always a bad sign. Still, as I climbed I found a good pace which was not slow and I was still able to shift up on all the flatter sections. Still being able to shift probably gave me a false sense of security. :) As I got to the saddle/bus stop and turned left for the final bit I rounded the first corner and saw snow on the ground. Really? Do we still need this? By the time I got to the top there was an inch of slush on the road where car tires had not displaced it.
The last hill was Montreux. This hill always kills me - even if I'm fresh which I was not. from the bottom of Cougar to the bottom of Montreux I rode super slow and swung both arms to try and get some blood back into my hands. It helped a little but it's only a few blocks between the two hills so a little was all I got.
Right away I felt pretty tired. Now my pace was pretty tame and was by no stretch of the imagination 'fast'. The first steep section put me in the granny and I did not shift out of that gear until it leveled off. To my credit I did not die or get off or slow down but all I could do was maintain my plodding pace.
Originally I had hoped to do maybe five or six hills but today that was not happening. First off all my fitness is probably not up for that many and secondly my hands were now hating life. Interestingly, my chest was also getting chilled on the descents in spite of my raincoat. So I headed home.
When I was riding east the wind was howling and thankfully it had let up a lot on the way back. Nothing like whitecaps whipping up and over the floating bridge railing to make you feel super confident on the bike.
Those last five miles I just wanted off the bike and into someplace warm…
Looking at my data file below it seems the altimeter was not working so hot. My second peak in elevation should be exactly as high as my first and where is my fourth climb? You can see it if you look at my heart rate and speed graphs at least. Sure wish I had power on this bike…
I was surprised by how little I ate and drank but I had consumed a super solid breakfast and I was very hydrated so I suppose when it's wet (which makes you less thirsty) and cold (which makes it hard to eat) you can survive this long on fewer calories.
|5:00 AM - 2 bananas, apple sauce, 1 scoop protein powder, 2 scoops Perpetuem, walnuts
|large bottle w/1 tablet Nuun and 2 scoops HEED, flask of gel
|Time of Day
|40, rain, wind
|Sugoi shoe covers, Roubaix knickers, Craft long sleeve undershirt, heavy long sleeve jersey, Louis Garneau raincoat, Polypropylene gloves, OR Gripper gloves, cap