Our tri club was having a SAG supported ride this morning from Moody Gardens (The site of the famous Lone Star Tri Festival) out to Surfside Beach. The road to Surfside has only been open for a few weeks. It had been closed down for almost 9 months because Hurricane Ike had washed it away. Now there is beautiful smooth pavement for long stretches on the other side of the Sabine Pass Bridge. After donating lots of blood to the swarming mosquitoes, Greyhound and I headed out at 6:45 this morning before the sun broke over the clouds hanging on the horizon. About 7 miles down the road the roaring freight train of the other riders in a huge pace line overtook us. I had some guy make a crack about my green fork on my bike and I decided I was going to hop on the train to show the smart ass that I could hang with the big kids. I was able to hang with them for about 10 miles before I got caught behind a gal that had been hanging up near the front and was quickly falling off the back. I was caught off guard and the rest of the group rocketed off. We had been holding a 24+ mph pace and slowing down to 20 mph quickly created a huge gap. I jumped in front of the chick who flew off the back and took the lead. I had been pointing out cracks and holes in the road for her and when we came up on Point West, I sat up to readjust in the saddle and looked back to find no one behind me. Even Greyhound was gone. I was relieved because I had to relieve the extreme pressure on my bladder. I was already through 40 ounces of water and I had been drinking peppermint tea on the way down to Galveston. I was looking for a place to pull over and use a bush but after Hurricane Ike, there are no bushes, shrubs, tumbleweeds, or stands of pampas grass. I thought I was going to bust. The pain was extreme enough that my speed had dropped to just under 18 mph. That was unacceptable! I looked back again to make sure no cars or cyclists were behind me and to be sure that I would only gross out myself. As soon as I had decided to "go with the flow", I shut down the waterworks. The extreme pressure was gone, but the pressure was still intense. I hoped no one would ride up behind me because I am sure that I reeked just as bad as one of the bait shops I had passed a few miles back. My plan became clear. For every slurp or guzzle of fluids I would unload a few ounces. Hydration in, hydration out. I was not doing a good job of the hydration out because the extreme pressure was back and I felt like my eyeballs were going to turn yellow. I spied our tri club president up ahead who obviously dropped off the rolling freight train and made it a point to catch up to her. We had a nice chat and as we got closer to Surfside we wondered when we would see the train rolling back in the other direction. I saw a few guys at a small U-Totem minute mart and pulled in thinking that was the turn around and then saw the club pres. pedal on by. I saw that no one had been behind us and I quickly pulled out of the parking lot after. I could not take the pain any more. I decided to open the flood gates. It was both good and totally grody at the same time. Now I know why they make tri cycling shoes with the holes in the carbon soles for drainage. We saw the freight train rolling in the other direction so I knew that we were close to the turn around.
At the turn around, I paused momentarily to refill my aerobottle and ingest some Shot Bloks and as I was taking off I saw Greyhound coming down the road. He was a couple of hundred yards back at most. As I started pedaling into the sun I saw a few of the fast guys at the side of the road. and further up I saw a whole crowd of people stopped on the road. The freight train had derailed. The co-owner of the tri shop had gone down hard and she was pretty banged up. someone was running back with a folding chair from a beach house and the Surfside police were rolling up on the scene. After a few moments, I decided to get on down the road and Greyhound and I pulled out. I was content to sit three bike lengths back of Greyhound as we made our way back towards the Sabine Pass Bridge. I was working hard and keeping my speed above 18 mph but Greyhound would slowly start to push the pace. We had a few of the "fast guys" pass us, but it was maybe 5 out of the larger group who had been pulled over to the side of the road.
As we approached the Sabine Pass Bridge, Greyhound sat up and I pulled up along side of him. He was happy to see me and said that he had been doing intervals of intense 20 mph work for 20 minutes in length. No wonder he had been pulling away from me on some of those stretches. He said he was going to pull over at the 3 hour mark for some cold water and had about 20 minutes to go. I told him that I would be back behind him and I was going to push it back in to Moody Gardens to get my run in. As we crossed Sabine Pass Bridge I opened up the flood gates again and wished that I had a spare bottle of water rather than Gatorade to rinse off with. I kept Greyhound in my sites just like the last time, as soon as I had "eliminated" my distractions, my speed jumped back up to 19-20 mph.
Once Greyhound pulled off the road and I had the shoulder to myself, I focused on maintaining speed. The entire ride I had been dealing with more pain than just a full bladder. I am still having issues related to the fall off my bike at Buffalo Springs earlier this summer. I have been having tingling in my hands and numbness in my thumbs when I run as well as having my posterior tibialis on my lower right leg give me lots of problems. I have also had super tightness and soreness in my hip flexors and in the muscles behind the knee. I went and saw Dr. H this last week when I woke up the day after a swim workout and could not turn my head left or bend it sideways towards my left shoulder. It seems the facets are jammed and when I have my head in an upright position I experience some weakness in different muscle groups. It becomes more pronounced and I develop painfully sore areas in my muscle tissue when I bend my head back. The muscle weakness and soreness goes away when I bend my head down to my chest and open up the spinus process on the back of my neck. So kids, what position is a cyclist's head in while they are down in the aerobars??? In neck extension! By mile 60 I was in a lot of pain between my shoulder blades, in my right fore arm, my left wrist, the right side of the back of the hips, the muscles on the inside of the legs, the top of my left quad, and the right hamstring. I cannot really ride with my head down, so I had to make the best of it. Even the one time that I pulled over in Pirate's Beach for 90 seconds to grab some Gatorade helped. I was able to get the neck into a normal position and it took the tension out of those muscles just enough that when I got going again, my speed jumped back up 2 mph. My heart rate was low, my power output was sad, my legs hurt, but at least I was keeping the speed over 18 mph.
As I made it back to the Seawall, I pulled over to document the ride. As we all know, if there are no pictures, the training might not have really happened.
Where I came from...33.5 miles back to the west.
Where I was going...2.5 miles back to Moody Gardens.
Whoo Hoo!!! Almost Done!
I got back to Moody Gardens and just as I was about to head out on a run, Greyhound pedaled on in. I handed off my car keys to him and took off. I no sooner got 50 yards down the pavement when my sphincter muscle forgot it's job and I lost it all down my legs. How embarrassing. At least no one was behind me. "Are you pissing on my leg??? YES I AM!" My poor Newtons. I got a 5K in and I was glad to be done because it was now after 11 a.m. and it was HOT. I got cleaned up and changed clothes and Greyhound and I found the first air conditioned deli along the Seawall and pulled in for lunch. AHHH!!! That iced tea was so good and cold.
Well, I got a good workout in and put a deposit into the IMCZ account. I put up with some discomfort and pain, but I focused on maintaining a certain pace over the long haul and I made good on my workout. My bike got a bath before being allowed in the house and everything, including the Newton shoes went into the washing machine. The cycling shoes had to be hosed out and they are drying on the deck.
Well, that's all the fun for now. Later Gators,