Saturday, April 12, 2014

The Challenge

This weekend (when I get back home) I should get my nails done. They need it.

Also, get that gluten-free pasta at Trader Joe's.

And set up a schedule of rides for the spring. Here's an idea: every weekend, do a 100-mile ride like this one today. Make a list of routes. A list leads to a schedule, easier to get on the bike on Saturday morning. Also, I could invite other people. Not that there's anything wrong with 100 miles by myself. Ah, the quiet!

While we're at it, might as well resolve to climb Page Mill (or Montebello) every week. Hey, brilliant! Just challenge the beast to a duel. Let it ramp up my fitness, which is kinda marginal right now.

I'm a full-time employee again, someone who rides 4 miles on a trail, twice a day. Every morning a few guys, other commuters, are in a major hurry to get to work. Either that or they're racing each other. Which is likely. Not cool, how they expect the world to get out of their way. But I should be faster, and fitter.

In a month or so, it should be possible to climb a hill on a weekday, either before or after work. Get clothes ready the night before.

A friend asked, am I signed up for any rides? Normal question this time of year.

Just one. A 1000K, lightly supported, July 24 (she laughed). No need to qualify, no need to ride brevets this spring. The SM1200 took care of that. And it's great to be taking a break from brevets. It's a problem, too.

Clearly I don't have brevets or double centuries in me right now. The travel, the logistics, the gluten-free thing, the job. Is it still possible to train for a 1000K? With normal means like Spinning classes, a bike commute, and very hilly 100-mile rides? Plus a couple of short tours?

Far from guaranteed, boys and girls. Stay tuned!

And while that is definitely a challenge it is not actually The Challenge. That is the silent thing in the background while thoughts and plans bounce all over.  

This morning there was a gluten incident and I almost couldn't get on the bike. We ate out last night because it was the end of the week and we were tired. Being tired I didn't think to ask what that incredibly tasty crab chowder was thickened with. Now I can tell you what it was thickened with. Flour.

The reaction is violent and humbling. It leaves me shaky and weak. Sucks all the glycogen and electrolytes out of the muscles, gives them spasms. After going over the neurological cliff, no I do not feel like climbing Page Mill. I want to stay in bed.

Instead, wait an hour for the body to exit crisis mode. Fill a flask with raspberry Hammergel. At the earliest opportunity, get on the bike. Use the gel to get over the hill. By the time I'm in Half Moon Bay, I'll be able to look at real food.

My left arm is weak and shaking. My right eyelid is in spasm. I'm sweating too much, and definitely not moving fast.

The Challenge is how quickly the body adjusts to not dealing with gluten. How violently it reacts now to just a little bit. How long it takes to recover. How gluten is everywhere. Last week the same thing happened, thanks to some licorice, of all things. Almost stayed home.

Gotta get a handle on this before it derails the job, fitness, well-being. Everything. Everything.


  1. Oh, wow, that sounds awful. :( (The gluten incident The job sounds fabulous! Good for you! I kept trying to get back to the Riverina posts and somehow missed the last three up front.)
    I know what you mean. I had gum surgery and now I ride 2x7 miles to work twice a week. I need to be doing more if I'm going to tackle Mt. Tam at Marin this year... Will you schedule in paid centuries, or are you doing it all unofficial rides? (Also: 100 miles each weekend is not marginal fitness. You've got a hell of a good base level there!)
    I love Montebello. (Regards to your earlier post - for me, it's always Old La Honda. That's my favourite.)

  2. It is truly awful! One of the leading gluten doctors says that gluten sensitivity is primarily a neurological condition. And I can vouch for that...
    Somehow the attacks come at the end of the week, when I'm trying to get on the bike. No organized rides, just local 100-milers. Hopefully with lots of hills for training potential.

    Good luck ramping up for the Marin Century! One of my buddies from the Scandinavian 1200K just asked me if it's hard climbing Mt. Tam. If you do it as a training ride, post it here so he can read about it!

  3. I always appreciate to read about climbs and nice views.

  4. Absolutely - I keep getting sidetracked from rides by life (oh, life) but I'll get there. I don't think it'll be a training ride given the distance, but I'll check in once Marin is done.
    I was thinking of using Mt Hamilton as a training ride, though. I hear good things. Also frustrated things.