Well, another weekend has come to an end way too fast for this amigo. This past week was full of stress, but also some damn good mountain bike riding was to be had.
Work was a big bummer, state testing all week, meetings with a psycho parent, meeting with a student's guardian, writing letters to family court, dealing with student meltdowns, and doctor appointments concerning the condition of my own health.
I have my parents to thank for passing on to me the family's defective, deficient, bad, genes. Not only do I have the ventricular tachycardia, but now hypertension. Talk about a stroke waiting to happen. Actually, it's not all that bad. My doctor said that I couldn't possibly do much more accept to make a few dietary changes and reduce my stress level at work. Ha! I'm a teacher...how do I manage to do that? Wait...summer vacation is not that far off. So, I guess I have that going for me.
This week on the mountain bike was a good deal of fun and that in and of itself is a great stress reliever. I rode for two solid hours Wednesday evening and again on Thursday. The temps were in the 70's on Wednesday and broke 80 degrees on Thursday.
Hill repeats were the key ingredient Wednesday evening. I rode until dark and spent a good part of the last half hour doing hill repeats on a nice little tiered hill that bisects the inner loops I usually ride on. Thursday night I met up with Kenny and Bob to do some laps on the mountain bike trails. We then to the horse trails up to the single-track where Kenny spent a good deal of his time on his back. It was a fun night, but we all agreed that we needed some rain soon for the trails were very dry and dusty. Which of course provides a good reason for a cold barley soda when one gets off the trail. Good thing for that little refrigerator in the garage.
Kenny and I said good-bye to Bob and made our way back towards the chalet. After getting back on the mountain bike trails we were approaching where I normally would turn to access the paved trail back to the chalet, but Kenny went straight and of course I followed. I could see the wall in the distance. Suddenly Kenny turned left and said this where he gets off and I go straight. What an ass! I mashed the pedals and somehow got that big steel single-speed steed to the top. I thought that either the crank arms would snap or one of my knees was going to let go, but I muscled the big 29er to the top. I was so excited afterwards that just for fun I did another lap before heading home.
Friday morning my legs were dead from the previous two days of riding. I've really felt good riding the mountain bike this year. The road bike...not so much. We did an hours worth of hill work in Matt's spin class with about 40 minutes or so of hill repeats. We certainly know how to have a good time. Matt commented that my legs seemed to be a bit weary...they felt like rubber for the rest of the day. By Friday afternoon I was officially whipped and my legs were ready for a bit of rest.
The forecast for the weekend called for rain, rain, and more rain, but of course the weatherman was wrong again and Saturday actually turned out to be a great day for a ride. That was not to be for me. The words for the day were REST and RELAX. I think that my body was experiencing a bit of mental and physical exhaustion.
Our original plans for Sunday was to be an epic 85+ miler in the Afton area and over in Wisconsin. BIG hills...miles and miles and miles of them. Unfortunately the weather changed our plans. Now, I have said this before and I will say it again..."I would rather ride at -20 F than at 40 F and rain. At least at minus twenty I'm dry."
I have a really difficult time dressing for that 30-50 degree range on the road bike. Especially when the pace is being pushed to 18+ mph. Then, throw in the rain and that makes it really interesting.
On Friday, the forecast for Sunday was for a 60% chance of rain. By Saturday afternoon it increased to 80%. When I spoke to Matt on Saturday evening I told him that if it was wet when rolled out of bed...I'm rolling right back into bed. Well...it wasn't wet, but at the same time it wasn't looking good and looking at the radar made it look even worse. Ninety percent chance of precipitation. We figured that we had a small window of opportunity to take advantage of and at least get our legs spinning a bit.
Along with the wet weather, we also had a brisk 15-20 mph wind out of the east. It reminded me of those rainy weekends fishing up in northern Minnesota. Cold easterly wind, colder rain, fish not biting, freezing your ass off in a boat on some lake and calling it fun. This was fun compared to that. I just don't have the patience anymore to spend an entire day sitting in a boat.
It wasn't a long ride and the pace wasn't blistering, but we did get up to 20+ mph on a couple of stretches. Along the way we picked up Melinda S. on Hwy. 24 heading west. Melinda is a two time RAAM finisher and member of Team Strong Heart. She is also a five time Hawaii Ironman competitor and an elite cross-country skier. She truly is an elite athlete and of course made me feel that I truly am not an elite athlete.
We ended up riding the last twelve miles or so in a frigid downpour. About three miles from Matt's house an enormous bolt of lightning got me up out of the saddle and caused me to pick up my cadence for the rest of the way home. Our ride time was only 1 hr. 47 minutes and we logged 31+ miles. Not an epic ride by any means, but still a good ride. After all...any ride is better than none at all. I have to thank "The Amigos" who were able to coax my butt out of my warm bed this morning. I'm now completing this post in front of a nice warm fireplace. It's been a good week.