Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Digging out of the mud

Is a mouth guard necessary for mountain biking? I think it might be a good idea. One good long decent on a very gravel road left my mouth chattering like one of those weird mouth toys. You know the ones that are an exaggerated replica of a mouth. You turn it on and it chatters wildly. 6 miles straight down dropping 3000 feet on a gravel that is more like small rocks wakes up the body. Butt perched way back behind the seat with my hands firmly gripping the handlebars I tried to let myself fly. Reaching speeds of 25 MPH on this decent is pretty good but it wasn't stress free. My eyes didn't blink for fear of hitting an unseen dip or large boulder. My arms were completely itching when I reached the bottom. The cheese grater terrain made my entire body shake rapidly causing this intense itching sensation. It Made me wonder what are bodies go through when we descend on foot. The impact of every step is resonating through our bodies but we rarely feel it. That's really cool. Our bodies can absorb so much. I think I will be nicer to myself after a big run.

This descent didn't come for free. I had to ride up in order to experience the downhill itch. This was my first trip to the Gorge with my bike. A 5+ mile straight up climb and I rode 80% of it. The other 20% was a dismounted hike. Hiking with a bike is slow and not so fun. The bike shoes have that forced heal drop and my calves were screaming. The intense ache was making want to remount! Never thought I would say that! My heart rate was screaming in the threshold range. It felt like it was going to jump right out of my body as I pedaled with all my might and speed. While running this feeling is drowned out by the movement and the impact. I can't hear or feel the intense beating even during hill repeats but on the bike it's loud.

I am officially pretty good at remounting on hill. A learned skill for sure. Getting the gearing just right and quickly clipping in with one foot. Then applying enough force to get your butt up and your other foot clipped. All the while not catching your butt or bike pad on the seat!

This last week was a good recovery from Miwok. After a short and well needed vacation it was all bike. One short run but all the other days were long biking sessions. Each had their own goal. Once cornering session. Learning and practicing how to power in and out of corners. This was fun and a good mental exercise. The 2 hour session really helped my legs recover. I woke the next day feeling so much better. I had one long 3.5 hour session of hill climbing. I took on the Gorge and was surprised as how much power I had for the climb. This was a nice confidence builder with regards to Leadville. The next day I got a 2.5 hour recovery ride on trails. Bill and I headed to Silver Falls on probably one of the worst weather days. 45 degrees and rain. I was in a pouty mood on the way out. The cold wet weather was going to bite and who knows how bad the trails would be.

When we arrived I was reluctant. I voiced my dislike of the weather and Bill said, "Let's do this". So much great support but I think he really just wanted to play in the mud. That's exactly what we did! The trails were horribly muddy and wet. Choosing a line was easy. Just follow the water runoff. That was the best place to ride albeit wet. This was hilarious. The mud so deep we would have to bonsai with a "no guts no glory" attitude to get through the 8 inch mud. Our other choice was to dismount and walk but there was no place to put your feet so you would sink down anyway. Might as well make a charge at it. Bill cracked me up! We were soaked, full of mud, clods in my hair, mud up our butts and back, crank shaft caked with dirt and our shoes were mud boots. We didn't have to compete with other bikes or people because all of them were smart enough to stay home. With the conditions as they were climbing the trails was work. Descending was great skill building. I am ready to run again but this MTBing is some of the best recovery I can come up with.

Time is flying and find myself getting a bit stressed. Sophie commented, "keep your eye on the prize". That was welcomed advice. This is when it gets hard. The Leadwoman events are inching closer and time is ticking. I am beginning to wonder why I do this stuff! My words yesterday to Bill were and excuse the language but it's a good indicator of how I was feeling. I said, "Sometimes this perseverance crap I have gets old"! He busted up. I didn't find his reaction amusing and needed clarification because I was serious. It would be so much easier to say, "I'm out, let's go to the beach". We had a small discussion where I expressed my frustration. Basically I was and may still be having a moment. A moment where I wonder if this is worth it. He asked me a good question, "Ronda, worth what"? I gave him the list, time, sacrifices, the frustration (on days when it's cold and horrible), the self doubt, fatigue, etc. I laid it all out. He said it's worth every bit of it because it's who you are. He said, "Anything worth achieving is hard". He's right. Every time I ponder the idea of NOT finishing what I started I get edgy and unsettled. I feel weak and worthless. Although, there is a piece of me that would like to be lazy. So, this is where this perseverance crap comes in handy I suppose. An old friend once told me, "Keep swimming upstream". So like a salmon I am going to continue to swim upstream. I am not looking for any sympathy. I just thought I would express what goes on in my mind when I feel down and unmotivated. Sometimes I wonder if I go here mentally as a distraction from the hard work. Ruminating in self doubt. It's easier to say it's not worth it and why. Quitting is the "right" thing to do and is certainly tempting at times like these. Those "outs" as I call them are legitimate. I have obligations as a wife, mother and friend. All the obligations are exactly what I want. They are not forced on me. I want to be a great wife and mom and good friend too. I don't want to miss out on anything. I don't want my family to sacrifice their time, I don't want to prevent them from doing anything because I have to train, I don't want to miss out any coffee dates or long runs with friends. I want have my house clean and tidy. I want to cook fresh meals and feed my family well. Balance perfectly the things I cherrish so it all works. Sometimes it would be easier if someone would say you "can't do this". However, all those wonderful obligations won't cut me any slack. They stare right back at me and say, in much nicer words, get your butt back on the trail or on that bike. Laura Kantor posted a statement on her facebook the other day. It talked about living in the moment and being present. I don't do that much. I am planner, a linear thinker, a cause and effect type. Always concerned with the future. I don't necessary like surprises or unforeseen circumstances. Go with the flow is not how I roll. J I don't think things happen for a reason we create them. However, the statement she posted came at a time when I needed to read it. I need to stop thinking about June, July and August. I need to start being present and engaged in the work right in front of me. Hopefully this will be the last whining post but I can't guarantee anything.


  1. Can anybody ride in this crap?? Really?
    Ronda, you know it's all worth every bit of what we put into it, but yes, we do wonder at times:) Good to have a spartner who is ready to remind you and to support. As for the statement, I think there is a combinagtion of being here now, and creating what you want ahead. It is always a rather shaky balance, and always on the edge. But that's what makes life more interesting, alive, if you will, for those of us who are, well, us:)

  2. Being a planner and a lineal thinker, a "cause and affect" kind of girl -- makes you who you are, and it seems to be working for you, as it brings you success. But, to have that here and now, embrace yourself positively each day as a true "multi-tasking goddess" (athlete, mom, wife, coach, friend, motivator, homework helper, chauffer, cook, etc.) This is going to be such a fun summer for you! What an adventure.

  3. You know you're training hard when you have these thoughts! This year you are venturing into a new world of multi-sport which takes a lot of energy phyisically, mentally, emotionally and spiritualty. It's hard, and that is why, I am sure, you have embarked on this journey----not only are you a linear thinker, but an adventure/challenge seeker as well. I really like what Olga said about the "shaky balance", so true. Looks like you are doing a great job at balancing all you need to do. Keep it up!

  4. Just Keep Swimming! Just Keep Swimming!