My bike was shipped off to Arizona Tuesday, but I still had one long ride left. A three hour jaunt in low B today on my other T-Class.
I was not especially looking forward to it, both because of how great my own bike felt last weekend and because I'd started to think the soreness in my ankles/feet came from the fact that at its lowest my seatpost was still too high on the T-Class and I've been too lazy to saw the post. Add to that the forecast- mid-50s and raining and there was quite a bit of thought of spinning inside.
But I looked at the forecast and it was mid-fifties, with around a 50/50 chance of rain. I stepped outside and it was not really that bad. It had hardly rained at all since I'd gotten up, just sprinkles really.
I decided I would bundle up and give it a go. Deep down I knew that an outdoor ride and run was probably the way to go. Let's face it. I'm not just willing to spin- I enjoy it. Popping in a Spinervals versus riding in the rain for three hours ? It's a no brainer. Sweating in the basement or suffering in crap weather ?
So I did the thing that wasn't easy because I knew that was the whole point. After this, it will be a long stretch of weeks before I willfully go out and ride in the rain again, since my next race after Arizona is Lake Placid. Next Sunday won't be easy. Or if it is, it will be a waste of my time.
I didn't have any solid food, so I swung by Soundrunner, but it was a few past nine so they weren't open. I went back by my house and I'd already done 10 minutes of my ride. I headed out the usual way. The wind was blowing in my face and although the sun was peaking through the clouds it was raining. I gave up the thought of making it all the way to Old Saybrook.
I went through Stoney Creek and hit a place where the road was flooded. But it was only about 6 inches deep. The bottom of my feet got wet. I evaluated how they felt, decided that it was warm enough that I could take being wet, and went on.
The next washout was at least calf high- on the bike. I rode through it anyway.
I turned around at the third washout.
If I'd had any sense I might have headed back home.
Instead, I rode back to Stony Creek and then hooked a right and headed for Route 1 and started to wonder if I could get to Guilford in an hour.
At 57 minutes, I was on the town green. I was wet, but my feet were holding up. I was starting to lose the feeling my right hand because I had no bike glove on (only could find one), but other than that I was fine. I was thinking about how I'd made the right choice.
Then it really started to rain, get dark, and the wind blow. I found myself turning my face out of the steady hard pelting rain.
I decided to go to Hammonassett, do the Meigs Point loop and come back home.
It got darker. It got colder.
I was damned if I wasn't, on my last training ride, going to make it to Meigs Point. I love time trialing in the park.
Somehow, I made it all the way to the Point in half an hour, about the normal time- only to find there was even a part of the park road that was flooded. And then I made it around the tear drop and what do you know- the wind was howling in my face, I had another 90 minutes to ride.
And now my feet were getting cold. I hit the red light leaving the park to turn left, so I decided to practice one of those Ironman skills you don't get to use every day. My tights constrained the flow nicely and my left foot really warmed up quite a bit while I waited for the light to change. The heat was almost too much of a shock..
I did a good job picking what to wear- the technical top under my cycling jersey and lightweight tights were keeping my core and legs cold.. My one hand was getting pretty numb. The other one, not so bad.
I worked hard when I could and worked steady the rest of the time. I tried not to think about how unlike Arizona this ride was. I tried to ignore how the drivers that were out were even less intent than usual in giving me space or even seeing me. I rode back up on Route 1 to avoid the flooded areas and with an extra part of a Hammerfest loop I managed two hours and fifty minutes of solid riding.
Sure, I had to take a five minute shower (and watch red welt form all over my arms, hands, feet and legs) to warm up before running- yes, on the treadmill- for 25 minutes.
Was it worth it ?
Definitely. A little last minute adversity just before a big race is just the thing to serve as a reminder...