Monday, April 6, 2009

The sound of suffering….

Last Thursday evening the nitedawgs rode out at Lake Chabot. It was also my only ride for the week. Between working 10-11 hour days and trying to get my backyard all cleaned up and ready for this past weekend, which was Deb’s birthday, I hadn’t been to the gym or on the bike.

Needless to say, the first part of the ride really kicked my butt. The first section of our normal loop involves the trail around the lake called 10 hills. You’ll never guess why it’s called that…..there are 10 hills on this section. Granted most of them are little hills that you can just roll over using your momentum, but there are a couple of short, fairly steep ones that definitely get the heart rate up.
This section is followed by Brandon Trail behind the golf course, which is about a 1.7 mile climb, sure there a couple of spots where it almost levels out and you can catch your breath, but for the most part, it’s a 1.7 mile grind.

I started out with Jer determined to take it slow and easy, but I just wasn’t feeling the slow and easy so I ramped it up a bit, pretty soon I was there in no man’s land. I started too slow to catch the fast group and was now going too fast for the slower group….I was alone.
Granted, 1.7 miles isn’t a tremendously long climb so the time I was alone wasn’t very long. But still, I was alone for a bit and during that time, I had a chance to really concentrate on my pace, my form and my breathing….

One of the interesting things that dawned on me was that, when riding the SS uphill, there is absolutely no way I am going to sneak up on anyone. Granted the bike is actually pretty quiet. There are no gears to make noise, no shifting to hear, no suspension squeaking and since it’s uphill, you obviously don’t hear the sound of the freewheel.

What you do hear is what I’m sure sounds like a herd of overweight water buffalo huffing and puffing up the hill. But what you would hear and what I hear are different. The things I hear are actually helpful in maintaining my pace and knowing just how hard I’m going.

I know when I hear my heartbeat pounding in my ears that I’m at or above my redline. I know when my breathing goes from a consistent (and yes, loud) in and forceful out to a ragged gasp that I need to back off. I know when my heart isn’t pounding and when I can talk consistently without gasping that I can go harder.

So, I've learned that the sounds I’m making can be a really useful tool in telling me how I’m doing. The other really important thing I learned is that when I’m trying to keep up with the fast group, I’m usually crying like a little girl and can’t hear any of these things….

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