28 February 2010

Back on the bike after almost 3 WEEKS!

I went from someone that ALWAYS has something to say to someone without a voice for two weeks.  It was hell.  Torture.  In Vegas two weeks ago, I watched my daughter's volleyball team, but couldn't yell.  Insane, to say the least.  Last Monday, I finally thought I was erring more toward the healthy side of life and then Tuesday slapped me back to congestion.  Wednesday I decided that I needed to do something if I was to have any hope of completing Saturday's group training ride.  So, I went to my first spin class.  For those that don't know me well, let me tell you that I don't like exercising in one place - at all.  However, I was getting desperate. 
I was prepared with water, positioned right under a large fan, and ready to go.  Ten minutes in, I felt like someone very heavy was sitting on my chest and pretty sure my throat was sandpaper.  Fifteen minutes in, my water was almost gone and not only was the congestion in my chest, but my head was getting heavier, too. However, I was pedaling.  My legs were spinning and that was good.  Before the class was half through, though, my water was gone, I felt like it was 120 degrees in the room, every breath made me want to cough, and I was pretty sure the room was getting smaller.  (Did I mention I'm claustrophobic?)  I did make it through the class and have vowed that I won't judge spinning by that experience.  My voice was cracking again by the end and I certainly didn't even push myself to the extent I normally would on a bike, but it was something.

Saturday's group ride was a 35 miler around Vancouver and out to Camas to circle Lacamas Lake.  I recalled driving east on Lake Road and was pretty sure it was quite the downhill route - but we would be biking west on Lake Road, which seriously worried me.  The ride to that point took us around the north/east side of the lake.  It was beautiful and for the most part, very flat.  So, my muscles were warmed by the time we took the corner to head up Lake Road.  I was with two others leading the group.  The ride had a stop at the park at the base of the road for restroom breaks and refueling the bodies.  The two I was with turned in and I kept going.  I didn't want to lose any warmth in my muscles and, quite honestly, doing the hill alone sounding like a good plan to me since I had no idea if I would even make it.  As it turned out though, it's really not that much of a hill after all.  Don't get me wrong, my cadence went down a bit and my heart rate went up a lot, but I definitely had myself worked up for no reason.  I made it up with a couple gears still left to play with.  Consequently, that was the last time I saw my group until after the ride.  I've determined, though, that I am quite content to ride with others or on my own.  Each brings its own benefits.  I have met some great people in this group, so that always makes riding with others a pleasant experience.
Around mile 30 of the ride, I came around a bend and saw what appeared to be a climb from hell.  Like Lake Road, though, it ended up not being too bad.  However, the chest/head sensations that I felt in the spin class were back by the top of the hill.  Luckily, the remaining 5 miles of the ride was very easy and I kept a more moderate 16-17mph pace and kept my cadence between 70-75.  I kept thinking that at the next red light, I would blow my nose as much as possible to hopefully clear out my head, but as it turned out, I kept getting green lights. 
I turned into the lot we started from and checked at 2 hrs 12 min and 35.5mi total.  Not my best pace, considering the amount of flat roads we had on the route, but I didn't care.  I went into the ride not sure if I was going to finish it and I did.  After I blew my nose (a lovely visual, I know) and cleared out my head, I actually felt really good and like I could go a bit more, but I didn't.  Others started pulling in and we wrapped things up.  Overall, it was a great ride - one I probably wouldn't have done if I didn't have the responsibility of showing up as part of a team.  So, to my team, I say thanks.  Thanks for getting me out despite my doubts after being sick.  See you on the road.

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