More on scratching

Realistically, my race was over before I even finished the first day: I stopped for pizza in Monmouth OR about 20 miles before my intended stopping point, and when I got back on my bike, my Achilles’ tendons were super tight. They got tighter and more swollen with each day. I tried a few things to remedy them, to no apparent avail.

And I know that all racers are dealing with this, but I was not prepared for how much my ass would hurt. And my knees were a little delicate, which made standing to take pressure off my ass a problem.

I called Gwen from my bike and told her “This isn’t fun. This isn’t even type-2 fun.” And I had a moment of clarity later in the day when I realized that I was riding an amazing route through an amazing landscape, and by any reasonable measure, this should be one of them best rides off my lifetime. But all I could think about was pain.

During my training, I had tried to have all my problems before I would have them in the race. And I’m sure there were a bunch of problems I was able to solve in advance. But there were some I could not, and in some cases, I think I was solving the wrong problem.

First of all, there’s no way to train for mountains when you live in the hill country. The experience of a single hour-long climb is just different.

Second, I thought I had more or less injured myself too ass pain through long training rides. Nope.

Third, I was riding harder on my training rides than I did in the race. I thought I had an idea of the aches and pains I’d have in the race based on my training rides. In fact, the pains I was experiencing prevented me from riding as hard in the race as I would on a training ride, so the experiences were pretty different. My average heart rate on a training ride would be in the 120s, which it was for Day 1 of the race. But it went down quite a bit after that, meaning fewer calories burned, less muscle aches.

Fourth, I just don’t know how I could have anticipated or prevented the tendinitis. I’ve never had a problem like that before.

. . .

I don’t regret having tried. I’m disappointed to drop out. But more disappointed to discover that I am not a person who can do this.

Scratching

I am abandoning the race due to problems with my Achilles’ tendons. I’ll write more later.

Ride report: John Day, OR

I had hoped to make it to Prairie City today, but the hotel there was full, so I stopped a little early.

Stopped in Prineville to visit the bike shop, in order to replace a missing bar plug. Seems like a minor problem, but their absence has caused some vicious injuries.

Today has its ups and downs, literally. There were two passes, closely spaced, flanking the town of Mitchell. The first climb was long and gradual. The descent was seven miles long and a screamer —it was nerve-racking, mostly due to the buffeting winds. At one point, the wake from a semi going the other way almost blew me off the road. I was slightly light-headed by the times I reached the bottom.

Mitchell is home to the Spoke’n Hostel, one of the most popular stops on the Trans Am. The folks there pretty much put themselves at the rider’s disposal. The feed me, we chatted, it was really nice. Glad I could be a part of that tradition. I left there feeling much more like a human. I was heartened to see that the two race leaders stopped in to sign the guest book.

The climb out of Mitchell was long, steady, and straight. It led to a descent that must have run at least 20 miles. Like nothing I’ve ever experienced.

These two passes seem like the dividing line between pine forests and high desert. The plant life and geology seem different on the two sides.

My ass is still a lava field, and my Achilles’ tendons are more swollen. If anything knocks me out prematurely, it’ll probably be that. My body’s ability to regulate its temperature seems to be all messed up. But today was the first day where I could enjoy the ride some.

It’s showtime, folks

Ready for day 3.

Looking at the map, there’s a long stretch between good stopping points, so this will either be a relatively short day or a long one. Meaning it’ll be a short one.

The chest band for my heart-rate monitor is already loose.

Interim update

Yesterday took a hell of a toll on me. After I stopped for pizza, I found my Achilles’ tendons were extremely tight. I stretched when I got to my hotel, which helped some, but they’re still very tight, which limits the power I can put down. I found a huge swelling around my right sit bone, and my nether regions are pretty raw in general. Road grit on my right thigh got rubbed on my frame bag, so that’s raw too. I woke at 2 AM with a headache, and tossed and turned after that. The headache has mostly dissipated. I didn’t have an appetite at all, which is a real problem. I forced myself to eat some trail mix, which helped.

I’ve also got a few minor equipment problems I’ll need to deal with.

I’ll admit I’m feeling pretty down right now. I know a race like this will have highs and lows, and after yesterday, it would be a miracle if I weren’t low. And I am.

Ride report: Corvallis, OR

My goal in the TABR is to average 210 miles per day. Today I managed 185, considerably short of this goal. But I did ride the longest distance I’ve ever ridden, under very poor conditions, in mountainous terrain (and let me just say: mountains are different than hills). So I feel ok about today’s performance.

I’m going to sleep until I’m done sleeping and then see if I can do it again.

Tillamook OR

Stopped for lunch, first long stop of the day. It’s been rainy and cold all day. I was almost late fir the start and didn’t have time to get all my kit on, so I’m soaked and shivering. Not an auspicious start. I’ve been maintaining a decent speed and feel ok otherwise.