It's been an interesting week which began with me wrapping up the school year on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Rather than stare at the wall following a very busy May Term, or curling up to read a book, or at least enjoying some down time to catch my breath - I hit the singletrack on the bike (tweaked my shoulder again), did 2 days of trail work at Banner Pits with the lawn mower and the weed whacker, mowed and trimmed our lawn, cleaned the garage, cleaned my office and loaded up the grocery coffers. Perhaps all a bit too much when combined with hours on the bike for my first few days of summer break.
Needless to say, I'm back on heat treatment in the morning and at night thanks to tweaking my shoulder again. You can now see the separation in my shoulder visibly in the mirror. The heat feels really good on the neck and I feel small bits of progress are starting to happen with the muscles. Stamina is improving, posture is improving and I am feeling less fatigued.
Friday afternoon, after checking the weather radar and noting the storms were staying south of us, I headed out on the Dos Niner to do a loop at Banner. About 20 minutes into the ride I felt a few rain drops, then a huge bolt of lightening and mega-loud clap of thunder that seemed right next to me in a field hit. Yikes, the monsoon began and I was stuck out in nature feeling defenseless. I bee-lined it to the restroom at Banner Pits where I found another cyclist taking shelter from the storm. I called Tara to come pick me up and she luckily was at home when I called. Had I waited it out about 30 minutes, I could have ridden home, but I was soaking wet and the temperatures had dropped into the low 60's with the cold front making me shiver.
Up to this point, I had managed to get 6 hours on the bike for the week and was hoping to have hit 7+ by the end of Friday. My legs were toast from mowing singletrack and hiking around with the weed whacker, so I wasn't surprised my legs felt "heavy" when I got up on Saturday morning. Tara wanted to go for a ride with me to Carlisle and back about 11 am on Saturday and she was pushing for me to go. So, I loaded up a big Camelbak waterbottle with water and Heed to survive the Zone 2 duration ride in the heat.
I got off to a slow start, but warmed up and was rolling well after 30 minutes. I took a GU Gel at that point and we had a nice pace to Carlisle and back to Banner Pits. I told Tara to go on home and I was going to play in the dirt. I did a full lap of Banner to see how the trail was riding following the rain only to find conditions to be perfect, tacky and no mud anywhere. The trail was so dry from lack of rain the past 2 weeks, it soaked up the monsoon storm like a sponge. I felt pretty drained after doing a full loop and noted I had been out for 2 1/2 hours in the heat. I was beyond the point where Heed would help and had no more GU with me. As I got back on the Summerset Trail, I recovered at a slow pace for about 5 minutes and then decided to pick up the pace on the 6 mile climb back to Indianola. I ran out of beverage, but knew I only had about 20 minutes to go. When I hit the top of the 6 mile climb coming into Indianola I realized I had committed the cardinal sin - I had drained the energy store tank and was on the verge of a bonk.
So I shut it down, and turned my 20 minutes remaining into a calm 30 minute cool down as I felt the 90 degree humid temperatures engulfing me. Plans were to go to the Death By Aria apprentice artist concert at the Des Moines Metro Opera, but I was too shot to attend. Tara went, but I remained in the cool basement trying to bounce back. I took the dogs for a walk around the neighborhood at 7:30 and could barely pedal my bike in the granny gear. Wow - that's not good.
I'm going to load up on blueberry pancakes this morning and see how I bounce back today. We're heading to a pool party and grill this afternoon/evening - so I probably need to stay off the bike today with the heat. The combination of all the trail work and 9 hours on the bike for the week emptied my tank. I hope I bounce back in time for next weekend's XC races.
I need to get back to a good posture and aggressive race form sooner rather than later! Right now, I don't think I could take more than 3 - 4 hours in the car with my neck and shoulder. That's placing a damper on some of the travel I wanted to do at this point of the summer (like drive out to the Black Hills for the Fat Tire Festival).