"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


San Luis Obispo: Day 3

March 9th: Atascadero 50, Peachy Canyon

Cold. I'm not sure if it got over 60 all day. We headed out at 9 am on Highway 1 north to Morro Bay and Highway 41. First was a long run up against a rock wall about 20 miles in that split the group, then a series of rollers that split it again, finally culminating in the final crack when Luke cracked the whip just before the last big hump.

Ed, JT, et al moved to the front, while I - who'd been sitting third wheel - moved back in a desperate attempt to get my heart rate back below 90 percent. Peter shouted at me to get back on, and I did, for probably another quarter mile before the wheels in front of me started gapping, then I started gapping. And then lost it all together.

Wiping the snot from my upper lip, I straighted out, regained my form , and crested the roller, recovered, in time to watch them descending quickly out of sight around the corner.

Before Seth and Mike Conroy passed me, a white van with curse words spilling out of it like litter in the wind took a swing at me. The dumb shits were driving a work van, some sort of medical supplies company, but didn't slow long enough for me to think to get the 1-800 number that was printed on the back. Maybe they were just trying to drum up business.

We regrouped twice before reaching Peachy Canyon. At the gas station, I switched my power to "avg" and displayed mileage rather than heart rate. This climb absolutely brutalized me last year, but I climbed it strong with my broken computer stuffed in my back pocket. This year was no different.

A year ago, I went down after rubbing wheels in a lapse of concentration just as everyone unloaded their gears and started breathing heavy. I was alone from the start. Only Peter stayed with me and we rode it together. Contrastingly, yesterday I stayed with the leaders up the first climb, and then, of course, got gapped on the quick descent before the real hump started. Three or four others had overcooked a turn and were off as well. I passed them but didn't stay in front for long. Seth and Luke - each at least 30 pounds lighter than me - came bounding past. Luke and Stocky dangled in front of, often just out of sight. In some ways, that is worse than being alone.

Far more motivating is having someone behind you. Grosspietch and Pankonin drove me on, and I crested and took most of the descent alone. We hammered the rest of the way, mostly together, to Highway 46, and then I decided to make a race of it on the epic rollers there on the climb up to the highest elevation point of 1700 feet of so. I attacked both of them and put space between us that stayed until we reached the top. From there it was 8 miles straight down to the coast, and 30 miles home, back south on Highway 1, with a fat tailwind at our backs.

I was spent, absolutely blown. Any over 250 watts and my legs would squeak in protest and I'd get a little sick feeling in my stomach. I ate one more Clif bar, but over the last 10 miles or so, I still flirted with Bonktown, population 1, but I could bring myself to eat one more conveniently packaged bite.

The view was incredible, just as beautiful as last year of course. Green grass, blue ocean and sky, mammoth exposed rocks in the water. It seemed straight from a Robert Lewis Stevenson scene.
The ride today wasn't nearly as brutal as last year. It always seems shorter the second time around, and my feet did much better off in the new shoes. No hot spots that kept me unable to apply any force to the pedals. No dry heaving as I got back to my room.

Getting stronger. I'm becoming resigned to the limitations of my body type when it comes to climbing, but I am beginning to find my niche. We'll see what I can put together on the next two mailbox sprints.

Today: team picture, skills clinic, recovery ride, rest.


Matt said...

pics or it didn't happen.

The Car Whisperer said...

I'll have a massive photo dump at the end. There's really only time for one dump a day.

The Olive Creative said...

Thanks for the recap.