Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Falling back in a rhythm

That trip this weekend really took it out of me. I couldn't figure out why I was sleeping so much and waking up tired. Then it hit me. Jet lag! Dammit!

I decided there was no better cure for jet lag then a good, hard bike ride after work up the coast. So yesterday, I headed north from Torrey Pines and settled into a comfortably hard pace. How do you ensure a solid negative-split bike ride? With only 1.5 hours of sunlight left, ride out for an hour, and then turn around and sprint home!

At a stop light about 5 miles up, I recognized a friend I hadn't seen in 6 months! This is starting to happen more and more and makes every work out exciting. There's the unexpected anticipation of the possibility of bumping into a friend. We rode together until my turn around at mile 15, chatting and catching up. My pace didn't change (still comfortably hard--about 16 mph) but I knew he was holding back for me (he's an avid hard-core roadie).

We said our goodbyes in Carlsbad, and I turned around and headed home. I looked at my watch. Yup. 6:00. I glanced at the sun slowly sinking into the Pacific. I knew I had 30-35 minutes to get back, including up the Torrey Pines hill. I took off.

It felt great, to be honest. I focused on an extra push off the pedal at the bottom of every stroke. Plus, my new seat felt great--no aches or rubs--and this all in tri shorts! I started passing people; this never happens. It only fueled my enthusiasm.

A small group of guys sprinted by me. I let them go. There are tons of cyclists out there that are way faster than me. I'm used to roadies whizzing by like I'm standing still. No problem. However, a half mile up the road, they slowed up. Great! Now I have someone to draft off of. I caught up and relaxed. We went up a small hill. All of a sudden, I realized I was being held back. wtf? These guys passed me, right? Shouldn't they be setting the pace?

I hate passing. I know, I know. I'm weird. It puts pressure on me to hold the pace. I especially hate passing those who have passed me because it's extra pressure. I'd rather sit back and let a group slightly faster than me set the pace. Then I don't have to think about it. Less work for me!

With the sun setting, I didn't have much of a choice. I blasted by. We regrouped at a stop light. They were very nice and complimented my pace: "you're clipping right along!" I decided they were right, and when the light turned green, I took off. My goal was to make every light. I had to work for it, but I did. I never saw those guys again. Another mile up the road, I caught another cyclist who had passed me a few miles back. Never saw him again either. I don't know if it was the adrenaline or the fear of riding home in the dark (gotta start bringing the lights!) but I held the pace the entire time (about 18-20 mph).

As I soared by the Torrey Pines State Beach, I watched the sun sink into the horizon. I checked my watch: 6:35. Surrounded by several other cyclists and only 3 miles from the truck, I sighed and relaxed. All I had left was the Torrey Pines hill. I floored it the whole way up. That's my hill, baby. I know it like the back of my hand. It felt so good to let the lead out.

I got back to the truck just as the last remnant of sunshine ceded to darkness. My legs were tired but I felt exhilarated. I went home and eeked out a solid 45 minutes of weights, just to polish it off.

This morning, I had a terrific swim workout. It's a new quarter at UCSD so we have new people in the pool! My lane was more crowded than usual, and the other swimmers really pushed me. When I started swimming masters regularly this summer, I was doing 2:30s fro my 100s. I knew I had gotten down to 2:20 or even 2:15 but pretty soon, I realized I was swimming 2:00 comfortably. We swam a "test" 100s 4x as fast as we could with 20 seconds rest to see where we were all starting from. 1:40! I can hardly believe it!

I'm feeling pretty good right now (a little sore)...but very good.


Mallie said...

Sounds like an awesome way to beat off the dreaded jet lag.

Mon said...

great description of your ride! I would feel a little weird passing people too, but sounds like you showed them!

Erika said...

I liked hearing about the huge increase in speed on your swimming. I sometimes feel so slow at Master Swim but even now after only 3 weeks I know that I'm stronger and maybe slightly faster. I'm about where you were at in the summer at 2:30 so who knows by springtime maybe I'll see some of the same improvements you have. Way to go

JeffM said...

Good ride and really good swim speed. The Virginia run sounds fantastic.

RunBubbaRun said...

Sounds like you had an awesome ride.

It's always a great feeling passing other cyclist.. Especially pure roadies....