Wednesday, January 27, 2010

January 2010 Century

Having signed on for two UMCA challenges in 2010, my first challenge was to figure out how to get in a century in January when the temps are in the teens and snow is on the ground in Chicago.

Our 12 January days in Hawaii held promise for "getting it done" but it was not a "slam dunk, January's in the books" given.

The bike I brought to HI was my Bike Friday Tikit, named Tilda, a folder with 16 x 38 wheels, 8 gears and no front derailleur; I was one month post-op for repair of a torn rotator cuff; and Kauai had only one road with virtually no shoulder. Maui's roads were much more bike friendly, we'd be there our second week, so my shoulder would then be 5 weeks post-op.

Can't even count how many times I've ridden 100+ miles, but sleep was not to come the night before my Maui January UMCA qualifying century (90 miles or greater). Sun rose at 7:15; the Door Man at the Westin Kaanapali Resort Villas signed my Year Rounder Personal Ride Verification form--Miles ridden "0", time of departure 7:42 a.m. January 26th, address: 6 Kai Ala Dr.

A great tail wind carried me over the rollers on Honoapiilani Drive up to the steep climbs in Napili and Kapalua with take-your-breath-away vistas of the Pacific along the western edge of West Maui. Then came the rain that bathes these Maui cliffs with 200+ inches of rain a year, the fast descents that even Tilda took at 30 mph followed by mile-long climbs that Tilda took at 5 and 6 mph. To get my needed mileage I needed two of these Honoapiilani loops.

I practiced Hammer's 3 hour rule of no fueling 3 hours before a hard or long workout or race, so celebrated the completion of my first loop with a bar and a bottle of Hammer Heed and Sustained Energy. A stop back at the Resort for the Door Man to sign my Ride Verification Form at mile 27.5 and I'm off for the next 60+ miles.

Out of the rain forest now and into an arid coastal region protected from the fierce trade winds by the Arizona-esque mountains. I found the trade winds for real when I headed northeast from Ma'alae toward Kahului. They favored me with a 20 mph coast into Starbucks at Kahului which, upon the return, would be a 5 mph crawl. Fun to see a large cruise ship in the Kahului harbor and be free to cruise the island with my Tikit, Tilda.

The trade winds were now more cross winds than head or tail upon the return--I'm lovin that. My plan was to stop in Lahaina under the 130+ year old Banyan Tree, 6 miles from my finish, and find someone to take my picture since 27 years ago I finished the Maui Marathon, 3rd place in my age division, under that same Banyan Tree.

Two amazing, unexpected gifts awaited me in Lahaina. My bike computer registered 79 miles at the Banyan Tree which meant I'd need to ride back north on Honoapiilani Drive to get the balance of my miles. I had not looked at my Garmin since turning it on at the time of my departure but in Lahaina my Garmin registered 89 miles! No more Honoapiilani Drive would be needed! At that very moment my phone rang; it was Kirk wondering how I was progressing. I said, "I'm under the Banyan Tree in Lahaina looking for someone to take my picture." He said, "I'm under the Banyan Tree, too. I'll take your picture." Can't get any better than that. We recruited a willing volunteer to take our picture.

Rolled into the parking lot; the Door Man signed my form: Time--3:42, miles so far 95.5. I washed the rain, road crud, and salty air residue from Tilda out of a wastebasket filled with warm water and shampoo from my room; soaked my tired body in our in-room Jacuzzi; and enjoyed carry-in Thai on our balcony with Kirk.

Tilda was up for the task; my bod held up on the upright, although I'm not planning on any more long rides on Tilda or any other upright for that matter. But good to know I can do it, and for that I'm deeply grateful to all those both past and present who have contributed to my long-road healing process, the most recent piece being my shoulder repair.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

2009--Year End

Hmmm. It's a no-brainer--snowy Chicago or sunny Kauai?

Having just re-read my last post of my 2009 Transcon, six months later the musing and wisdom of that post stand solid. The warmth of Kauai mid January, 2010 seems a very good time to wrap up reflections on 2009 and lay bent goals for 2010.

It took a solid month, maybe even a little more, to physically recover from the nutritional hole I'd sunk into across the miles. It took even longer to make friends with the self-doubts that rumbled and tumbled inside.

Re-engaging in daily, normal routines, riding age-old familiar routes, and spending time with family and good friends was a balm as healing as that in Gilead.

One of the better fitness-related decisions I made was to be performance tested in October at Vision Quest Coaching with Robbie Ventura. The upshot of that was that my performance numbers were unchanged since he tested me exactly 3 years before. That was good news at age 64. Given my struggles on the transcon I figured I was in for a performance free fall. Then I signed up to work out at Vision Quest (VQ) 5-7 days a week through the Chicago winter months building V02 max, strength-endurance, and core conditioning. After hours in the trainers next to other VQ athletes I finally have been able to trust that my transcon struggles were nutritional, not age-fatale.

Hanging out with the athletes of VQ drilled my lack of core conditioning straight to my core, double entendre intended, a function of multiple back surgeries, long recoveries, and riding a recumbent which doesn't demand core strength like an upright does. I couldn't expect to move forward with developing core strength till I had my 20-yr old torn rotator cuff repaired, my Christmas present to myself on December 23rd.

Being on the bent made it possible for me to be back on the bike in the computrainer at VQ 3 days post-op. Shoulder surgery was another really good fitness decision.

I ended 2009 with another year of >12,000 miles, probably 35% of which were commuting miles.

Where to go in 2010? Well, I've signed up for two of UMCA's (Ultra Marathon Cycling Association) Year-Rounder goals--a century every month and 3,000 miles of rides 90 miles or greater in length. I'm laying plans for a self-designed Circle Tour of Lake Michigan, Calvin's Challenge in OH, lots of hilly rides in WI, and hopefully another year of 12,000+ miles.

Sounds like fun.