Portland Century ride

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?

Catch Me, Catch Me If You Can

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Yeah that was the plan, but it didn’t quite work out that way on Saturday. We were half way to Hagg Lake (it’s out in the middle of nowhere) when the engine light came on for Michael’s car. Not good news. A long stop at the VW Dealership in Beaverton (the armpit of Portland as far as I’m concerned) wasn’t great news so we headed home. The lunch I had packed for after our ride at Hagg Lake was still good so we ate that and then decided to just ride around town.

We rode to Johnson Creek and chatted a bit about which direction to go. We had a lot of options. Honestly I just didn’t feel like doing the 40 mile loop through the city like last weekend. Instead, we headed east on the Springwater Trail. It was a bit cool out, and overcast so there weren’t a lot of people on the trail.

We biked east on the trail. I wasn’t feeling especially fast but I wasn’t feeling lethargic either. I think we biked about 14 miles before taking our first break. There were a bunch of blackberry bushes with plump blackberries on them and I snacked on a few of those. I love blackberries! Some were ripe, some were not ripe yet.

I saw a bunch of critters on the trail this time! Maybe because there weren’t a lot of people out on the trail. First I saw two stray kitties frolicking in the bushes at two different times. Then there was a bunny on the trail. It was brown and tiny and it hopped along beside my as I biked along and then scampered into the bushes. There were also a bunch of horses on farms that we biked passed.

The ride is pretty flat. This proved for a good place to practice sprinting. I did a LOT of sprinting on the bike ride. There weren’t a lot of people on the trail and it was a long, straight trail. Lots and lots of sprinting! I think it added something extra to my workout. PLUS I was struggling to catch up with Mr. Speedy!

For some reason Michael was flying down the trail like it was nothing and I was puttering along trying to keep up. Ugh!

It’s also pretty scenic, with wildflowers and farmland. When the sky is clear and not overcast, Mount Hood can be seen in the distance. Unfortunately it was too gray to see.

We stopped again for some water and snacks. This time: apricots. I got some at Costco to try using instead of the GUs on long rides. I feel like the natural sugars in the apricots might do the trick just as well as GUs.

I like the apricots. I think they worked really well. At least until the very end of the ride.

We continued on and rode out in the middle of nowhere, aka Boring Oregon–yes there is a city named Boring, Oregon. This is where the path ends. The Springwater Trail doesn’t really end but it turns to gravel for an unknown amount of miles. Unfortunately gravel is not good for skinny road bike tires so that was where we called it quits. We took a short break at the end of the trail. I saw people with mountain bikes continuing on the trail.

I also saw a sign for Oxbow Park and I realized that we were out where part of the Portland Century will ride next weekend! So exciting! We turned around and headed back on the trail toward town.

As we started riding back down the trail a guy on a big hybrid bike passed both of us. I didn’t really care at this point. I was starting to get a little tired, my back was sore, and catching the Hybrid Guy didn’t matter to me. Michael on the other hand? Mr. Super-Competitive-No-Matter-What zipped off determined to catch and pass Hybrid Guy. And he did. And totally left me in the dust! That meant more practice sprinting! I eventually caught up to Michael.

One thing I really dislike about the Springwater are the weird wooden bridges that are SO bumpy and awful to cross. They are the worst. Seriously. They are long stretches and so bumpy I am always worried I’m going to wreck a tire because of it. We biked home and made it in no time at all. The last stretch of the ride was difficult. My back hurt and I was tired and mentally just done with the whole thing. 🙁

Ride Stats:
Time: 3:07
Calories Burned: 1234
Distance: 37 miles

Michael’s using a new ride app (he’ll be writing a review of the app soon) so here are the stats from Saturday’s ride:

I like how it stops counting when we are stopped for a certain amount of time. That means instead of 3 hours we were actually riding 2:35! Nice! We wanted to eat an easy and quick dinner after the trying day. Good thing we already had some things on hand. Corn on the cob with a little butter, red sea salt and chili powder:

Michael grilled up some steaks and I topped mine with pesto. I’ve missed pesto! The combination of steak and pesto is a really good one. I discovered it last year when we were eating our steak with gnocchi and pesto. So delicious.

It was the perfect kind of dinner after a long ride. I’m disappointed that our training at Hagg Lake didn’t happen. Doing 20 miles of hills would have been good practice for the challenges we are going to face next weekend. But getting in some long miles instead is better than no riding!

QUESTION: When your training goes awry, what do you do?