Monday, March 23, 2009

first day of spring

winter rides are all about making sure i'm ready come spring - and this yr it worked-out great - sat was mar 21st, spring came rolling-in at 744a and i was ready for a big one. had to carry some extra supplies - a small backpack (empty camelback) for extra clothes and tools, a 6hr ride across roads w/infrequent cell coverage and limited traffic isn't the smartest idea.

sat was a perfect bluebird day, 14 degrees at 7a, but worked its way over freezing by noon. i waited on it to warm-up a bit, got a late start, found myself pushing the early climbs hard, by mile 40-50 was headed into a deep bonk, but sunny skies kept me from completely hating my bike (or myself) once the pain set in. i certainly spent a lot of time thinking about why i do this stupid stuff, why i put myself out in the cold on a beautiful early spring day. i could be soaking-up the sun w/jenn and seneca, instead i was out pushing endless climbs to what end, for what goal?, then i remembered the goal... the feeling of accomplishment that courses through racers not like a drug, but as a drug - earning the right to stand on the top step. hopefully. maybe. if i train hard enough, if the bike holds together, if the body holds together... but i'm getting ahead of myself, it's only the first day of spring!

this ride kicks off w/a slight uphill grade on a mix of dirt and pavement from my house to the bottom of roxbury gap. the gap wasn't bad, i know it so well that it passes quickly, but the slick-as shit dirt descent intermixed w/massive heaves and frozen ruts was gnarly. i'd already taken a spill a few miles back, was tense and tight on the descent, when pavement finally rolled under the tires i raised my arms, pumped the fists and shouted-out like i'd just won the Giro, Jimi (Hendrix) blaring away in the headphones.

got a few mile reprieve up rt 12 before heading-up another nasty climb on rt 64. it seems to go on and on before heading-down into williamstown for a cpl mile break before another 1000ft climb over to chelsea and rt 110 which runs along the scenic First Branch of the White River before i started climbing again up rt 113 towards west fairlee on broken pavement, skipping and hopping across it on 110-115psi tires, not the most comfy way to ride, but better than stopping every hr to fix a flat. i entered a dark place here, so many miles from the end, so many behind, the body hurting, doubts and worries flooding the head so loudly that music became useless and i turned it off, instead focusing on the positive, searching the landscape for interesting farmhouses and views, letting the mind wander and play in an effort to forget the now.

by the time i hit rt 244 around fairlee lake, i was wicked glad to be done w/those 3 monster climbs, but my water was gone and all i could think about was reaching the vt/nh border for a rest stop and big ass sandwhich. 10m later i crawled into Oxford and found myself w/a hankering for egg salad, an unusual choice to say the least, but i've learned that it's best to listen to the body, feed it what it wants and see what happens (this approach is successful about half the time!). the first 60miles had taken 4hrs, but i had a promise to keep that i'd arrive by 4'ish, so it was definitely time to suck it up and hammer this beeyatch out!

got back on the road w/a full stomach, but ready to puke-out eggs, mayo, and potato chips, and way cold from the 15min stop and chomp. time for a safety break. the entire ride had been about sweat management, taking layers on and off, off and on. the body warmed-up quick, but the desire to puke stuck w/me until the power returned on 25A up and around the incredibly scenic Mt Cube on pavement so riddled w/frost heaves that it was no wonder that i saw zero cars along this entire stretch, my neck and arms were beginning to talk to me - but luckily when the power returned on the climb it came-on gangbusters - going up the slight grade was almost effortless - the power of egg salad is not to be underestimated!!! the last 40m flew-by, with at least 20m of it running down along Pond Brook and Baker River into Plymouth towards the ragin' Pemigewasset. i pushed-on up rt 3, bonking hard as i reached my sister-in-law's house (on-time!), happy to set-up a chair next to the fridge, pulling anything even slightly resembling food into my mouth, chasing it down w/giant gulps of beer, some of it slopping and dripping down the corners of my mouth, going totally animal on it.

one monster ride down, only about 30 to go. they only get better from here, can't wait for the next one. have to put-out a big thanks to my LBS FitWerx for setting me up w/a new-to-me (free) front derailluer that got my falling apart road bike rolling again - and for a comfy and power-maximizing fit on my rig, their fit services are the best upgrade i ever invested in - check 'em out in peabody ma or waitsfield vt.


At 3/23/2009 10:17 PM, Blogger Big Bikes said...

Damn guy,
training up there in VT should be held in the same regard as doping. You come down to southern New England it'll be like you're racing on the moon!

Egg salad;
saw Foley wolfing down a sandwich before Coyote Hill a few years back, like an hour before the start. I thought he was nuts. Then he rocked the shit. Live and learn.


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