Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Santa Monica Mountains Camp Day #2

So Day 2 has already come and gone and it was every bit as awesome as Day 1. It started at 6am with 20 minutes of core, easy strength work and swim tubing just to activate those muscles and get them ready for the day ahead. Then I headed down to the lobby for a breakfast of scrambled eggs, fruit, cereal and a muffin, making sure I was well fueled for today's training. I headed out to meet the group extra early today to make sure that I wouldn't be late (like yesterday)... of course this meant that I ended up being about 30 minutes early! Maybe tomorrow I will get the timing right.

Today's ride started out like yesterday's. We all headed out together for the first 10km and then we broke off into groups as the climbs started. Unfortunately, I am not as strong as the lead group of 4 guys, but a bit stronger than the rest of the guys so that means that I end up riding alone most of the day. I do have the beautiful scenery to keep me company though :) And, let's face it, most people aren't chatting anyway when they are climbing and descending. The first big climb of the day was about 10km long and between 6-10% grade...I think I averaged about 13kph so it took me just under an hour...I have no idea if that's a good pace or not, but my power output was equivalent to my race power so I know it's good training, anyway. Next, a 6km descent...I think that I was a bit more confident today on the descent, so that was good. Maybe I was too excited about how happy I was that my bike handling skills were improving, because I completely missed the next turn :( I had gone off course by about 5km before I realized my mistake...grrr! Yesterday, I made 2 wrong turns, today 1...I'm hoping for none tomorrow. By the time I got back on course I was a little bit frustrated with myself...no chance to catch the lead group now :( ...and I still had 2 short climbs, a BIG climb and then 2 more climbs to go...I hoped I would make it. The next couple of climbs were fun. The first was called 7 minute hill, because it usually takes about 7' to climb. Our group leader said he had done it in as little as 6' and as long as 14' ... I think it took me around 8' ... if I get the chance to do it again I will try for faster. Then there was a nice, gradual descent, another quick climb, a descent and then a 12km climb back to the summit. This was a beautiful, but PAINFUL, climb. It was mostly tree covered, with houses and towns along the way. It involved lots and lots of switchbacks which gradually took me up the mountain. I tried to turn off my brain, I didn't really pay attention to my power or my cadence...I just kept turning the pedals in my easiest gear and let my thoughts wander as I made my way to the top. What's amazing is the clarity of your thoughts when you are exercising! I've had so many realizations while on my bike or running. I think world leaders could solve many problems if they met while pedaling on a stationary bike...Anyway, it turned out I was averaging about 75rpm and holding a pretty decent power which was just around race effort. Sweet. Once at the top I was pretty tired...I knew I could not afford any more wrong turns! I stopped at the rest stop to re-fuel (what would I do without eLoad?), look at a map and give my legs a quick break before the final descent and the home stretch back to the hotel. I was definitely ready to be done the ride after the last climb..and then, what happens...some cyclist comes up behind me and starts drafting off me! Of course, the competitive spirit in me came out as I pushed another gear harder in the hope of dropping him. Nope, he wasn't going anywhere so I ended up pushing myself much more than I thought I could in the last few kms. At the time I was annoyed, but now I'm glad that there was someone there pushing me. Isn't that what group training is all about? Having other people there to push you just a little bit harder than you could if you were alone? I didn't get that all day, until the end so I'm glad I embraced it.

Finally, back at the hotel I peeled off my cycling gear and put on my run clothes and headed out for a short and sweet 4km run. I cursed the hills as desperately tried to keep the effort light while running up a 10% grade :( grrr! Somehow, in 4km of running I climbed 80m, which is almost as much climbing as I do on my long 20km runs in Toronto! hmmm....

Once my workout was completed it was time for the most rewarding part of the day..lots and lots of food. Another tortilla with chicken, avocado, red peppers, goat cheese, some cornbread, cookies...all yummy. On the menu for dinner: salmon with rice and veggies. Definitely, regretting the fact that I did not buy the delicious looking chocolate cake fro Von's for dessert.

Tomorrow is a swim, bike and run day...hopefully I survive another assault by the Santa Monica Mountains!

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