Monday, June 25, 2012

Stupid Injuries and Pre Alta Alpina

Sierra Century last week was a big party--but Alta Alpina is the one ride I'm nervous about as I didn't finish it last year.  I really can't do more training this year than I've done--though if I would have kept my big mouth shut--mostly while pushing papers at work--I should have been about 5 lbs less.

Idea was to go to the top of Mt. Diablo after work Monday-Tuesday-Wednesday night and Patterson Pass self supported century this Saturday--and then taper.  Plan went down the toilet for two reasons..

Strange arch-calf strain injury
Beautiful hot weather morphed into Wizard of Oz (high wind) weather.

Day after weather station confirmed 97 (though Ward and Dr. Dave Garmin Confirm 107) dry Sierra Century, took a long walk with Mrs. Pumpkincycle around San Francisco.  Not sure how far we walked but did a nice chunk of the Northeast section--and hitting every hill.  Plan was to go to the Golden Gate Bridge--as US Open watchers saw on Sierra Century day, it was 80 degrees and sunny in the fog belt of San Francisco.   Next day the weather was warm and sunny where we live so we decided on shorts and short sleeve shirts--never a good bet in San Francisco outside September.  Instead of usual walking shoes figured I may as well wear my sneakers, which have never been outside (use on ski machine trainer.)

(1) Modern art in front of classic San Francisco (2) Painted ladies by Alamo Square--supposedly area is inundated with tour buses  (3) Next century ride I'm signing up for--check out the size of the wheels on the skates (4) I'm trying to figure out what SF Giant staue I'm leaning against (5) Donnie by Buena Vista Park--downtown is somewhere in the cloud in the background. 
When we got to San Francisco it was sunny, cool and breezy--for about an hour.  Then the sun went away and it got cold and breezy.  Golden Gate Bride was scrapped so we did a Civic Center-Noe Valley-Alamo Square-Clement Street-Golden Gate Park-Buena Vista Heights-Civic Center walk.  We did see a great cheep (sic) dating move--some guy was walking down the street and stopping in front of any house with a flower bed and adding to a self created bouquet.

 Don't know how we kept warm--probably still burning up after yesterday.  Except for usual shin splints when we do our bonzai walks wasn't feeling bad.  THE NEXT DAY couldn't step down on my arch, it was killing me.

Especially bad when I wore my summer hippie shoes-Birkenstock--to work, so stopped.  Not to bad when cycling after I got going but standing and clipping in hurt so only went to the Junction on Monday & Tuesday--where met with the arriving cold headwind.  By Wednesday pain had disappeared from arch but had moved to my calf???  What the F--but I'm on Kaiser and they know nothing about sports medicine.  (Don't me tell the story about the goofball Kaiser physical therapist)  On Wednesday went straight up the mountain with a heavily taped calf--and then its been Aleve, ice and calf wrap every day. 

This brings us to the Diablo Cyclists Saturday ride which was a metric century over Morgan Territory--where Patterson Pass would have been a perfect bonus add on.  But after two days of doing nothing but rest the first 20 miles of the ride was grueling--my left leg--usually my good one, felt like dead weight as my bad right leg did all the work.  Luckily decided ride pace and not try to contest any climbs which would have been ridiculous.

Then, while concerned about my leg I slowed for a light and the guy behind plowed into the back of my bike.  Of course he went down, I almost went down also but did a quick save--but not before I visualized an accident which would put me out of the Alta Alpina.  He also managed to hook his handlebars into my spokes--so one came out looking like a Pablo Picasso.  Wheel still rideable after opening the brake and just kept going at pace to settle down--blowing off our first rest stop.

Morgan climb was painful but nice through the shelter of the trees--gusty other side on the descent.   When we regrouped to decide bonus miles--someone said 'today Patterson Pass would be the WORST choice to do' --no doubt the windmills were churning around like eggbeaters denoting a stiff headwind.   So we decided on Del Valle Reservoir, which has a nice medium type climb to get both in and out of--and Ward, Dr. Dave, Christine, Jack, bonus mile alumni Super Joe and bonus mile perpetual motion machine rookie Rebecca set out.

No long ride report as we didn' do a self supported Century--just coming in around 90 miles.  Good riding group as we all stayed together until Jack decided he wanted to check out the night life in Sunol and turned off.  Each way into and out of Del Valle we were met with a strong head/ crosswind--perfect Carson Pass training.  Christine got her wish from a few months ago, finally  another woman in the group so they could talk about shoe shopping etc...except either Christine or Rebecca were taking solo flyers off the front, so they weren't talking much while Ward-Dave and I were  bs'ing.

Del Valle campground was crowded but didn't look appealing.  The good news is on the Del Valle Climbs my leg finally STOPPED feeling weird and climbing wasn't uncomfortable.  Maybe I needed to get loose, maybe the Aleve I took earlier kicked in.

(above) (1) Early on its a Super Joe sighting--rumor is he voted 10x for our club to have a white kit (2) Ward starting the Mogan Territory plunge.  (below) (1) Rebecca, (2) Christine & Joe, (3) Dr Dave and Ward, climbing out of the Del Valle beachfront

Ride back on Collier was into a stiff wind and the group did a nice job keeping the paceline together.  Felt the best I did all day at mile 75 so when we reached the turnoff I departed to do Mt. Diablo from the easy (South) side.  Mt Diablo isn't as nice on the weekend with the auto traffic (that likes to pass on blind curves)as is is after work, but it wasn't as windy as I expected (except by the heliport) and had a nice ride up.  I stopped at the Junction, I should have gone the Juniper overlook a few miles further--and then I could consider this ride a "Chico Self Supported Century."--but it would be windy above so I didn't.  

Then next day, with winter training wheel while spoke is fixed on other one, Ward, I and club member Todd (see Sequoia video) started with the Club to the "midwest" town of Crockett.  Miss Crockett was running around outside the bar area sticking out of her shirt--Ward was thankful that we didn't bring cameras. 

Instead of coming back with the cub on a dirt road that is falling into the sea, where I pictured my flying off it right before Alta Alpina, we toured other old factory town, Pinole, and then continued onto the Three Bears--nice rustic hills (guess how many) in the middle of Contra Costa County.    Leg a little sore but nothing bad. 

Was going to ride up Mt Diablo Monday and Tuesday at an ez pace, and shut it down for Wednesday and Thursday before doing the great Blue Lakes Road preride on Friday, but with an eye toward resting my calf more I'll stay off the bike on Monday also. 

Now time to get menu together for two days in cabin prior to Alta Alpina.  After cool windy bounce this weekend early forecast looks like temperature takes a strong hikes back up for next weekend but not nearly the heat wave of last--with NO sudden mountain storms predicted.   Good.  Toby signed up for it also and though he's never done a double, he's done a number of national triathlon events and he's sure we'll finish.  He practiced pacing a 60+ guy at Western States this past weekend, so plenty of practice for pacing me next week.  But that is what Dr. Dave tried last year when my ride went to crap on pass #6 after we took it soooo easy.   I just have to keep reminding myself I trained well--and forget I'm 5 lbs to heavy.   Should get alot of sleep this week--so what the F am I doing up at midnight writing this?

Monday--5 days to go--I was a good boy and stayed off the bike.  Calf sore when I woke up but under wrap and one dose of Aleve felt ok the rest of the day.  Resumed weighed backward knee curls which I stopped doing last week--I've faithfully done these on non-ride days since 2002 when an orthopedist recommended them so the rest of my right leg could compensate for a partially torn ACL.

 Weighed all my wheels and interesting how much a tricked out clincher can save in the rear.  All weights given below INCLUDE VREDESTEIN tyre, usually Ultergra 12-25 or 12-27 cassette, and non-Performance basic tube, skewer (and valve nut and cap which I keep on, and BRASS nipples instead of alloy crap that fails--see, I'm not a total weight weenie)

Front wheel
Stan Rim--King (race) Hub-1000 grams
American Classic 420-------1020g (too stiff for long rides, I use this on my fixie)
Open Pro Rim--King (classic) Hub-1110g
Open Pro Rim--NON butted spokes-Ultegra Hub-1160g

Rear Wheel
Stan Rim--King Hub--1420 grams
American Classic 420-1470g (as bad as the front wheel is, this is my favorite rear wheel)
Open Pro Rim--NON butted spokes-Ultegra Hub-1620g
CXP 33 Rim-NON butted spokes-Ultegra Hub-1700g

Tuesday-4 days to go.  Unique ride today, Ward, Toby and I went up Mt. Diablo, 3/4 to the top.  EZ pace--at least for Ward and I--Toby doing intervals.  OK--nothing unique about riding Diablo but this time we actually enjoyed Diablo withOUT riding.  I said we were going to picnic at Juniper but I was the only person who brought picnic food--a Protein Power Waffle and Coconut Water.  Next time to slow Toby down we have him carry the bag of charcoal and hibatchi.  (Unfortunately he is going back to England soon so we wouldn't have this chance.)

Climb up was OK.  Left leg "dead" again at beginning--today area behind knee hurt and wrapped calf was sore.  But loosened up by the time we were doing a brisk pace on the flats.   Not too sore after the ride but I'll take tomorrow and Thursday (the normal rest day) off so I can self obsess about packing where I KNOW I must be forgetting something.

Was warm in the sun but cool on the climb when the wind gusted--we found a table at Juiper that was effectively blocked from the wind.   We split the Protein Power Waffle and wound up bs'ing for 3 hours.  Eventually Ward said he was hungry and someone looked at their watch and good god--we were there almost to 5pm.

(1) Ward, (2) Toby arrive at a near empty Junction
 (3) We're all at Juniper
Overlook (4) Power Waffle Picnic
Long talk about PED's in the competative triathlete field that Toby is in.   We didn't get it.  All of us understand why a professional athlete would take PEDS.  Bigger contract--increased fame.  We don't condone it but we can understand it.  But some amature taking PED's so they can have boasting rights on message boards, where being the best triatelete or best Doubles rider is like being the best accordion player.  Why?

Then talk about bike equiptment, evolution of Diablo Cyclists in the past few years, and the upcoming Alta Alpina Double.  Afternoon went by much too quickly.

Wednesday-3 Days to Go  Saw the goddess of massage in the AM, Janelle, who I've now known for 14 years.  Great when you know a massage therapist, as they know you and how much pain you can endure.  When I leave her I feel so loose its as if I can tie myself into a pretzel.  First thing she said "how did you get the bruise on the back of your knee?"--the place that hurt me yesterday.  I didn't know a had a bruise on the back of my knee.

Good news is that a combination of hot weather and not mindlessly eating at work had me drop a few pounds since last Friday.  When I first started doing crazy rides, I'd carbo load (starve myself for a week before an event, and then eat 80% carbs the day before.)  I don't carbo load now, and I'm sure my eating will pick up tomorrow when we hit the cool mountain air.  Taking lots of waffle mix and pasta with me.

Alta Alpina folks sent out the route sheet today, and I see where I freaked out for no reason last year.  Was climbing Ebbets @2:30 last year and got scared that I'd miss the 3:00 cutoff.   In my delerious state I thought the cutoff to get to the 13 miles to the top was 3:00, not the actual 5:30.    After a lousy climb made it to the top at 3:50.

Rest stop miles taped to top tube.   Running down long checklist to make sure I don't forget anything--a little thing may be critical.  Thought I was done with bike equiptment prep NOT using the checklist and then saw I forgot "Mount Helmet Light Holder."  Disaster if I forgot that.

OK--now nitetime sitting on the porch--remembered to take the Lebanese Couscous for the preride dinner, remembered to look print out the cutoff times and the times I reached the peaks of the climbs last year before I died on Pass #5.   Now thinking back to how many times I did the Death Ride (5 passes on same course as Alta Alpina--though in a different order.)  2003-just learning to climb and scared shitless when I did a self supported 4 pass ride.  2004-year of depression, but best climbing year, when I did the first official Death Ride, with a 6th bonus pass thrown in. 2005-2009, did the 5 pass Death Ride 4 of the 5 years (one year did the tougher Climb to Kaiser instead.), all easy except for one when I came in with back and foot problems.   2010-lightest weight ever, didn't do Alta Alpina as broke shoulderblade a month prior.   2011-Felt great on pass 1-4 then suddenly like shit on pass 5, and pulled over to watch the sunset on pass 6.   Had ridden longer than on any previous Death Ride, but disappointed/ puzzled as to what happened.  Of course, except for Mt. Tam I'm continually surprised when a hard Double is incredibly easy--as this years Devil Mountain Double or the first time I did the Terrible Two Special 'Versary edition with 11 bonus miles added.  Conversely, I'm also suprised when I feel like crap at the end of almost every "easy" Davis Double, or when I DNF's on two other relatively easy doubles previously.

So not scared--just apprehensive.  A little pressure as I ain't training for the Alta Alpina 8 again, so I need to finish the course this year.   I love doubles as each ride is "epic" and a mental challenge (hmmm...feel like shit at mile 90--only 110 miles to go), and the fun century rides are over too quickly with too many clueless Lance wanabees--but I just see doing the easier Doubles and double metrics (my favorite distance) in the future.

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