I wasn't going to ride on Saturday. I was battling a nasty cold. My fever was gone but it had left me with a nasty cough and muscle weakness in my legs. My lungs ached when I breathed hard. Not a good sign. My friends advised me not to ride.
But it was my ride. I had planned and designed it specifically so that I would be excited about the route (http://sdbikeroutes.blogspot.com/2008/06/60-mile-del-dioselfin-forest-ride.html). I've been organizing the Saturday rides for 10 months now, and I've never flaked on a ride. I probably spend about 4 hours a week planning the ride--studying maps, planning and memorizing the ride, making the route slip, sending e-mails, recruiting new riders, and fielding questions...and I absolutely love every minute of it. Friday evening finds me polishing my bike, preparing my bottles, and laying out my cycling outfit for Saturday's date. Although I'm not a morning person, Saturday's are the easiest day of the week to get up early. I love meeting new people that come out, socializing with old friends that show-up, taking in the sights, and getting in a good workout. It's the highlight of my week.
This Saturday, was no different. Only, I had planned on not riding. The plan was to ride down the hill, hand out the route slips, get everyone off and riding, and roll back up the hill and back to bed. Maybe, if I feel good, I can start and turn-around early...this was already becoming a dangerous mental conversation.
I roll down the hill and 20 people are waiting. Everyone's there early...there's lots of new people I have never seen before. There are also a lot of friends who showed up that have never come on my Saturday ride before. I was touched. Plus, I needed a "redemption" ride after having Bluebell stolen. For some weird reason, doing the ride was symbolic--I wasn't going to let my stolen bike or cold keep me down! That was it...I was up and fighting.
We started off, and I rode at a conservative pace, hacking up phlegm as I rode, which generated many nervous glances from my fellow riders (we are, afterall, type A triathletes who border on OCD and live in constant fear of getting sick). Since there was no way I was going to ride fast that day, I decided to play "Ride Mama" and hang out in back, making sure no one broke down or got lost.
I chatted with a friend as we rolled down the 56 bike path, through Fairbanks Ranch and Rancho Santa Fe, and up Del Dios Hwy. It was a long climb but I was hanging in there, relying on my base to get me to the top. I felt fine. I barely noticed that I had long ago passed my turn-back early point and was now past the point of no return. The first regroup in Escondido had sort of disintegrated but I had the group in my sights as I wound my way through Elfin Forest. I marveled at how green everything still was; the creek was even still running because of some recent freak rain San Diego has received.
Towards the end of Elfin Forest, before the regroup at the coffee shop off San Elijo Rd, I started getting cranky. Ah, the first sign that something's amiss. I was alone, which wasn't a big deal. I had lost my route slip, which has never happened, but also not a big deal; I knew where I was; afterall, I had designed the route. But I was sick, and this mattered. My morale started to plummet. By the time I reached the coffee shop, I was in bad shape. My group was waiting patiently, and I did my best to hide my grouchiness. I scarfed down a blueberry muffin and iced mocha and felt instantly better. Hmmm. A sign? Obviously not enough calories. (Ever since IMAZ, I haven't been able to get down the sports drinks or gels, no matter how hard I try. It just gives me gut rot. I end up giving up and finishing the ride deep in the hole--dehydrated and nearing the bonk zone.)
The rest of the ride was a struggle. My cold was making it loud and clear to me that I had pushed too far. I couldn't wait to reach the coast and have an easy, flat 15 back to the start. We reached the coast and began riding south towards home. I was hit in the face with a strong headwind, eerily reminiscent of IMAZ. Only much colder. And I was oddly hot. Dripping sweat. Oh, yeah, that's right. I'm sick! I cursed and slowed down and was plagued by stomach cramps from a Cliff Block that was being rejected. And I was thirsty because I had only brought InfinIT and no water, and my stomach was rejecting the sports drink too. I was hating life. I was done.
Luckily, a splinter group from one of the SDBC's (http://www.sdbc.org/core/) regular weekend rides was heading my way. They picked me up and pulled me the final 8 miles to my final turn for home. This is not the first time they have come by and saved my sorry ass. Yea to roadies!!! You guys ROCK! Thanks for the lift!
Overall, the ride was awesome. It was a great group and beautiful views. I just pushed too hard in my weakened condition. I spent the rest of the day resting and recovering.
Sunday's Run--I Can't Be Stopped!
Sunday I slept in and missed my morning run with my regular group. By the afternoon, I was itching to run. I guess I never learn. I went for a 10 mile run on the coast with another running group. I felt fantastic. I held back the first 8 miles. Then, I couldn't take it anymore. I took off. And it felt wonderful. In my mind, I kept repeating, "I feel good! I feel good!" Over and over. Faster and faster. And then I would run faster and faster. I felt so strong at the finish. I wish it had been longer. Runs like these are always a pleasant surprise. Oh, yeah. I LOVE running. Funny, how I forget just how much until I have an awesome run. I'm always the happiest after a good run.
My cough is subsiding. My energy is returning. My cold is finally melting away. This week is a recovery week. My goal is to find some structure and routine that I can take comfort in. I'm going up to NorCal this weekend for my little sister's college graduation. Next week, the bike commuting experiment will resume.