Sunday, January 14, 2007

Cold and Long = Tired and Hungry

We've had freakish weather in San Diego. While the rest of the nation has had an unseasonably warm winter (50s in Wisconsin in January), San Diego, apparently, hasn't heard that global warming is sweeping the nation. Instead, we've decided to go through a mini-SoCal ice age. For those of you in the rest of the world, you can all sit back, point, and laugh right now. However, for those of us who pay good money in the so-called "sunshine tax" to enjoy the warmth SoCal has to offer (besides the ocean and the sunshine, what else does SoCal have besides expensive housing, pollution, crowds, and traffic?), I feel I deserve a refund! It's getting below freezing at night (lows around 30), which is simply ridiculous around here.

Saturday, we had signed up for a 50 mile bike ride in the Anza Borreogo desert, 80 miles east of San Diego, in a very small town of 400 people called Ocotillo (the Wells Fargo Stagecoach Century t-shirt included!). Despite waking up to 30-degree weather, I figured since we were going to the DESERT, it would warm up considerably. We hauled out all our winter-weather biking gear--for San Diego. We arrived in long bike pants, jerseys with arm warmers, windbreakers, gloves, and skull caps. I had shoe covers, as well but would lose them on the bike, which is another story.

It was overcast and dark when we started. Oh, and windy. With the windchill, it was 32. As we warmed up, my teeth stopped chattering, and I could feel my core temperature rise, but my extremities (skin, toes, hands) remained cold. In addition, we were going verrrrry slowly, and I couldn't figure out why. It looked flat, I didn't feel a strong headwind and yet I could barely manage 13 mph. WTF? I was sore from the week's workouts but I didn't think I was THAT tired. Everyone else was going pretty slowly too. Turns out, we were biking on a false flat (actually going up but looked like it was flat) with a slight headwind; how weird is that? My senses were all out of wack.

Jason was absolutely shivering beside me. He kept complaining about cold toes. We were both very cranky because of the cold. At the first rest stop, 12 miles down the road, we stopped begrudgingly; we almost never stop that early into a ride. However, we were suffering. I made him take my shoe covers because I decided I would rather suffer from numb toes than listening to him gripe about how cold he was. He took them begrudgingly (my word of the day), and I blew up b/c he wasn't more grateful, threw the car keys at him, told him I wasn't going to bike with him anymore, and sped off. 5 miles down the road, we realized we were just cold and cranky and taking it out on each other. We called a truce because it was much better to suffer with someone than to suffer alone.

The rest of the ride was much more pleasant. We were still riding at an agonizingly slow pace for apparently no reason but decided to focus on the next rest stop instead of how far we had left to go (or worse, how far the century riders had to go). At the 2nd rest stop, we were in pretty good spirits, although still cold. My toes had gone numb but they didn't bother me (they can't bother me if I can't feel them!), and Jason seemed happier with the shoe covers. Other riders were huddled inside people's RVs and the local general store for warmth. I knew if I did that, I wouldn't be able to get back on the bike. I stuffed myself with Red Vines and PB&Js. I was ravenous. I had already had a large handful of Gummi Bears b/tw Rest Stop 1 & 2 as well. Plus, my fluid had Carbo Pro in it. I couldn't believe how many calories I was taking in. The cold was making me absolutely voracious.

We headed back and the wind instantly started blowing freezing cold shards in our faces. However, we must have had a tailwind, despite this perception because we were absolutely cruising. Going back was fun because we were booking it with seemingly little effort. We took turns pulling and averaged about 25 mph the whole way back. 2 hours out, 1 hour back. Go figure.

We didn't linger for the post-race pasta party because all we could think about was getting warm. We jumped in the car and cranked the heat. I slept the entire way back, waking only to tell Jason my order at Mickie D's. I was so HUNGRY. I stayed awake long enough to stuff down a Big Mac, large fries, and 8 McNuggets (chased with a tall glass of milk, dark chocolate, and Milanos) before lapsing into a coma that lasted several hours. When I awoke, I didn't think I was hungry, until we dragged ourselves to Whole Foods to pick up a "small" dinner. This ended up being a large salad with all the fixings, 4 BBQ chicken wings, 1/2 baked potato with cheese, a large piece of cornbread slathered with butter, and some fruit. Then, as if this weren't enough, I baked brownies. And, yes, of course I licked the bowl. (Actually, Jason and I fought over licking the bowl like 2 dogs fighting over the food dish). Oh, I also ate a box of Red Vines during the movie we rented. I was just ridiculously hungry. I've never been that hungry before in my entire life. Seriously.

Sunday, we dragged ourselves out of bed for a 12-mile run. I ran with my running group and took it slow and easy. It was actually lots of fun. It started out in the mid-30s but warmed up to the 50s very quickly so it was pretty pleasant. Plus, I can run in any weather; you just generate so much heat anyway. Afterwards, we all went out to breakfast so I had my "social" time. I've spent the rest of the day napping.

Tomorrow is my day off from training. Obviously I need it. I'm pretty beat and sore. This completes my hardest week EVER. 114 miles on the bike, 24 miles of running, 6000 meters of swimming for a total of 14 hours (not including weights). I'm tired and sore but I think I'll recover quickly. 1 more week of Base 2 and then I've earned an R&R week.

What I learned this week: Biking long in cold weather makes you eat like a cross between a goat and starved hippomatus. Also, training for a long race with one's significant other is not a good idea because base training makes one very cranky, thus, creating 2 cranky people who live together. Not a good combo.


bunnygirl said...

I would rather suffer from numb toes than listening to him gripe about how cold he was

Isn't that just the way of it sometimes? I know I've done that with Dan. "Here. Now shut up!"

Riding a bike in the cold can be soooo miserable. Good for you, for hanging in there!

JeffM said...

32 degrees, false flat, and a headwind? That sounds like a good motivation test.

Kate said...

I HATE false flats. We had quite a similar ride the other week- at least the end was fun. I am terrible at riding with P- it brings my cranky straight out.

Congratulations on getting through that amazing week. I'm quite blown away by it!

Jenö said...

Congrats on a great week! Cold weather on the bike can really suck, so well done on sticking with it. Today's break is well deserved.

Paul said...

It was insanely cold this weekend. Very unlike San Diego. I'm not even equipped to be outside if it's below 30 degrees.

Mike said...

What an adventure- those temps sound like you were riding in Oregon!
I hate being cold on the bike too- it can definitely make for a miserable day.

thanks for all the food comments too (not!)- a bigmac and chicken mcnuggets sound really good right now! :-P

jameson said...

there's not getting around it... being cold on the bike sucks. My 4.5 hour ride this weekend was pretty miserable. I can't wait for summer!

Lance Notstrong said...

You're totally right, running in the cold and cycling in the cold are two TOTALLY different things!!!

Andy said...


Basically an Ironman in a week. Logging some serious miles there. I will have to agree with you on the hungry cold and cranky part. That sometimes describes my gfriend to a "T"!!!

Anyways, I am glad that you had a good time after the fact, and that you braved the elements in the name of sport.

Keep it up...


Kewl Nitrox said...

Sounds like an epic ride!

Triteacher said...

Too funny... from the freezing feet to fighting over the bowl. Feed yourself and get warm!