Lucky Lab

Preparation and Hypochondria

The day before the big day.

All week long I felt off. I had the pre-race jitters. The hypochondria. The “oh my god am I getting sick?” worries. The “I know I’m injured” meltdowns. Which is typical for me during taper week. It’s such the norm leading up to any big event that I should be used to it, right? And I’d be able to brush it off and talk myself off that ledge. Mmm, not so much. I am so glad I am not the only one:

“As the race neared – just a few days to go — I began to experience mysterious aches and pains. For example, my throat became a little bit sore. And during one short ride, my left hip bothered me. And I was pretty sure something was wrong with my right elbow. What I was suffering from, of course, was pre-race hypochondria. Essentially, I was so worried about not getting sick that I was running self-diagnostics constantly (Is my throat sore? No? A little? Why yes, I believe it is a little sore!) and fixating on the tiniest aches that I would normally not even notice were there, and give ridiculous amounts of attention to these imagined maladies.” – Fat Cyclist


He illustrated exactly how I feel leading up to races and rides. I have to say that I am glad taper week is finally over! I want to return to the “norm.” The normal workouts, the routine, the comfortableness of my schedule. I missed it! I miss weight lifting. I miss riding my bike to work for FUN. Saturday I slept in a bit since I didn’t have to book it to the gym or go on a long bike ride with Michael. Instead, we ran some errands, took care of some chores, made the all-too-needed trip to Costco. I also cleaned my bike. I’ll be honest–I hadn’t cleaned my bike since I got it last year. There really wasn’t a need for it. It was brand new last February and it seemed alright last year.

With all the riding we’ve been doing this year and commuting to work, my bike was filthy. And not just from dirt and mud. It was caked in grease.

I hunkered down and spent about two hours cleaning every nook and cranny. It was so filthy that I needed about six rags to clean it. The spray worked great and when I was done my bike was sparkling like it was brand new! Michael also helped me readjust the bike seat to try and fix my new back pain. He thought my seat was too high and I was stretching too much when I pedaled. Normally I would not want to monkey with things like that the day before the race but I think it will help.

It was a HOT hot day in Portland. All I asked for was no rain on race day….almost 100 degrees??? That might be pushing it.

Then it was time to pick up our race packets! The pre-race sign up session was in the Pearl District at The Lucky Lab. We’ve been there once before–in fact, last year for the Reach the Beach check in.

Last year before the Reach the Beach ride we got massages about a week before the ride.  We didn’t do that this year, and I kind of wished we had fit it in somehow. And yes, last year when I tried to go low-carb pre-Reach The Beach I hated it then too!

There were free snacks for the riders. I snagged green grapes, crackers with brie, lots of fresh veggies with ranch dip and poundcake slices. The snacks were tasty but not enough for lunch.

Michael and I also got a slice of pizza. I got the veggie and he got the pepperoni.

I talked to a few people at the rider check-in. Both ladies were experienced cyclists who have done the Portland Century before. Everyone was really friendly and positive. One lady said they changed the route this year so that people didn’t have to tackle the head-wind of Marine Drive at the end of the ride. Let’s hope that’s for the better! For dinner Michael made his famous mac n’ cheese. Yay carbs!

After dinner we headed to the movies! Finally! We got to see “Cowboys and Aliens” (courtesy of Living Social–even better).

QUESTION: Do you get the jitters before a big event? How do you reign them in?

The All Day Bike Ride

The perfect way to prepare for a long bike ride? Stay out too late the night before, drink too much, and eat pizza. Um, yeah…I was pretty weary about today’s long bike ride when I woke up this morning. I wasn’t hung over but I was definitely feeling tired and slow. Michael made breakfast for us. Scrambled eggs with spinach, topped with Grueyere cheese and Light sour cream, 2 turkey sausages each and two pieces of toast each. It was delicious and filling.

Huge Breakfast

I sunscreened myself pretty well.

Sunscreen Even In Cloudy Weather!

I loaded up our bikes and my backpack with GUs and protein bars. I also filled one of my water bottles with a GU Brew mixed with water:

Like Gatorade

We headed out on the I-205 Bike Path North. My legs were slow and I felt like I was biking through water. After about 25 minutes of struggling, I drank some of the GU Brew and got a little pep in my step. We stopped around 45 minutes and I ate my Sports Bean pack and Michael had a Clif Shot. He didn’t like the Clif Shot. He said it had a weird chemical taste. The Sports Beans were OK but I didn’t like the watermelon flavor.

The weather was gray and cloudy. I dressed for rain and ended up regretting it 2 hours later. It was too hot for tights. We kept heading North on the path and for some reason the freeways were ALL backed up. Thankfully we were on bikes!

Traffic Everywhere

We came to a fork in the trail. Last weekend we turned towards Washington. Today we turned onto Marine Drive. There’s a very nice, scenic bike trail that goes along the Columbia River on Marine Drive. Neither of us had ever been there before.

Marine Drive Trail

Marine Drive

As you can see, it was pretty gray out. Luckily, we did not get rained on at all. We rode along Marine Drive and chatted about how scenic it was. It was also very windy but we powered through it. Now for the CRASH AND BURN part of today’s story…..


We were riding along the path; Michael was a bit ahead of me. There were three people coming towards us. They had a bulldog who was running along with them as they biked. I was completely distracted by the puppy. I guess the first guy on his bike was texting ON HIS PHONE and not paying attention and veered into Michael. Michael came to a screeching stop but I didn’t see ANY of this happening and plowed RIGHT into Michael on the bike. We both went down. My handlebars got caught under Michael’s bike seat. Luckily. I fell sideways onto some soft grass/moss and my backpack broke my fall. My leg was stuck in between our bikes (since the bikes were locked together). Michael didn’t fall. A reflector from the front of my bike broke off. THE GOOD NEWS we weren’t seriously hurt and our bikes were OK. My leg got unstuck and I can tell I’m going to have a humongous bruise on my thigh tomorrow. It’s pretty sore. I stood up and tried to shake it off. The adrenaline was of course pumping through my body and I felt all jittery and my legs and arms were shaky. We were lucky nothing serious happened, and that it happened where it did. A few feet ahead of that spot and there was no grass to break our fall–just a very scary rock ledge heading down to the water.

Here I am right after the fall. I’M ALIVE! 🙂

I'm OK! I'm OK!

I made sure I was alright and we got back on the bikes and continued on. A few minutes later, we got to a Marina and stopped to have some more GU.


I liked this Berry Flavored GU the best so far. It was yummy. 🙂 We rested for a few minutes and tried to figure out where we were going with my iphone. Our bike ride wasn’t just for training. Our final destination was NW Portland to pick up our packets for Reach the Beach. The packet pickup was at the Lucky Lab from 2-4pm today only.

We continued on Marine Drive. We biked passed the airport. Huge planes were taking off above our heads!


The Marine Drive Path ended and we took NE 33rd into the city. I was starting to feel stressed for time. We weren’t really sure how to get to NW Portland from where we were so we rode up NE 33rd, passed the Kennedy School Pub  (where we ran into some of Michael’s coworkers) and then took NE Killingsworth to NE MLK. It was frightening riding on such a busy street! We went as fast as we could. Turning onto Broadway, we rode across the Steel Bridge.

Steel Bridge

We biked in a LOT of traffic today. There were a few scary moments. But it wasn’t too horrible. We rode across the river and into NW Portland until we arrived at The Lucky Lab. There were lines out the door to pick up the packets.

While we were standing in line, a lady came by with a tray of Pepperidge Farms cookies! I grabbed 3. 🙂 We picked up all our stuff. Bibs, maps, info packets. There were snacky foods set up buffet style. We ordered a slice of pizza for each of us and got a few snacky things to munch on while we waited.


They had delicious strawberries too! I got a slice of cheese pizza. It wasn’t the best pizza ever but we were so hungry!

After relaxing a bit and letting our food settle,  we hopped back on the bikes and headed home. We rode through downtown Portland, passed the train station, and connected to the waterfront Esplanade (where I run at lunch).

Union Station

We biked on the Springwater Cooridor and then stopped at Oaks Bottom Park to use the bathroom. I had my last GU (Chocolate Mint-my favorite!). I needed that last big “jolt” because I was starting to slow down. We rode the Cooridor home.


When I got home, I had a recovery drink.

Recovery Powder
Recovery Drink

Feeling refreshed after the shower and drink. Not sure yet what we are going to do this evening. Check out today’s stats:

First Part of the Day
Second Part of the Day

Today’s Stats:

Distance Biked: 40 miles

Time Biked: 4 1/2 hours

Calories Burned: 1889!