Monday, February 18, 2008

Day 1 - hilly "easy" ride

I get to be a guinea pig tester for the new Quarq power meter! The unit attaches to the spider of the crank arm, and the head unit is a Garmin 705 (sweet!). They are similar to the SRM in how they work. I also have my Powertap installed at the same time. Jim, the owner of Quarq will be comparing the data that I get from both. It's pretty awesome that I get to be a tester before these are even available on the market. The only slight downside here is that to install the Quarq I had to switch out my compact crank for a standard, which means I won't get my easy gear on all these hills. ... but I will get the extra hard gear for the downhills. The other campers are a bit jealous that my bike setup was perfect for me to be a tester.

I am back from our first ride, eaten, showered, and now sitting down to releax for a while. It was 45 miles today with a few good climbs and lots of rolling hills. It was a beautiful ride despite the cloudy haziness of the day. I was pretty much in back for the entire ride, with some long stretches by myself. Sometimes on the flatter parts I was able to stay with the group. The standard gearing proved problematic so I am going to switch back to my compact and opt out of the Quarq testing. It was much better than the powertap though, always there and with very similar numbers, and the large color display on the Garmin makes the Powertap seem downright primitive.

I had a complete emotional meltdown in the middle of the ride and had to stop and lay on the ground and cry for a while. I couldn't breathe to keep going. Adnan, one of the coaches, stayed with me to finish out the ride. I think all the stuff I have gone through in life in the last 6 months came out when I got dropped on a big hill. Things about being at this camp alone as a rider this year while remembering being at last years camp as a spouse visitor are coming up painful. After my meltdown, I finished the ride very strong averaging around 18. I've cried a lot today and feel quite vulnerable. Hunter came up to me at lunch (after hearing about it from Adnan) and said "Remember, we are here to train. We are here to train." I'm sure he has a good idea what it is all about, though I was vague with the details to Adnan.

I am doing my best to be kind to myself and non-judgemental. I am letting the emotions be there. Even though I am not as fast as everyone else, I look at my watts and know what is a good effort for me. If I am sustaining above 180 watts then I know I am putting out the best effort I can. It would be stupid to try to maintain a z4-z5 effort to keep up with people because I won't last long doing that. Adnan assures me that on day one people go out fast to establish a group "hierarchy" and by the end things are a lot more evened out because they get tired and then the endurance riders are still going just as fast as they were on day one. So I am just going to stick in there and do each day at the watts that I can do.

I noticed that the guy with the most expensive stuff is one of the slower male riders and he has bad bike handling skills. People with big (annoying) egos can be totally insecure on the inside. And then there's me with my heart on my sleeve bringing up the rear end but using probably at least as much emotional strength to stay there as the front person is using physical strength to stay in front. Things come out even in the end no matter the path each person takes to get there. I feel calm in that.

Coaches notes: I need to tilt my hips forward more so that I am using my glutes (imagine that Terra!), and I need to keep my upper body down and relaxed. Basically... my running weaknesses are also my bike form weaknesses. Yeah, and the mental stuff too.

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