Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The taper

On the steep part of Tunitas Creek Road looking at Jim M's rear wheel I say "Jim, make it stop". He's one of those damn riders who makes it all look so easy. He can ride fast, he can ride slow. For example he doesn't even know why I'm saying that. Oh well it's a hill. Does he sweat? Lemme get back to you.

I drop back a little. So far the ride has gone well but that was then, this is now. There's no pop in my legs. My lungs feel like bricks. I'm not wearing a straightjacket. No one is covering my airways with a pillow but this is suffocation anyway, pure and simple. As for deciding what to do in this situation, my brain is waiting for the oxygen to be turned back on. It's in an altered state, which is actually helpful. I'm floating.

Mary Lu keeps me company, chatting. Sensing the suffering, she clicks down a gear. At some point she says "'re TAPERING now?"

Well, yeah. Starting right now in fact.

Over two weeks ago the Double Brevet Weekend with SF Randonneurs was my last long ride. A 300K Saturday, a 200K Sunday. A slow twitch saga.

Then it was time to work on hills and speed. Back-to-back days, hard 70-mile routes, always with a race to the finish on Foothill Expressway. Pescadero, the Old Familiar. Big Basin with China Grade. Half Moon Bay. Pescadero, with a Page Mill Lasso. Today is San Gregorio with Lobitos.

There's always some competitive idiot, I mean fellow cyclist, on Foothill who wants to race home. Stoplight to stoplight, intervals. Chasing the bunny. Fast twitch festival.

Somewhere, along one of those roads (and I really do not remember which one) stood a painted wooden goose outside some farm next to a sign Beware of Dog. Either someone has geese and a dog, or just a very effective guard goose.

An image came to mind, from the process of making foie gras. The French farmer, who acts fond of his geese, force feeds them corn from a funnel. Over a period of weeks. The end result is an enlarged, enriched liver. Yum! It's supposed to be cruel for the goose but who really knows? Maybe it just feels like too much of a good thing.

In my case the legs have become pate´. It has to be enough. There's no more left.

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