Tuesday, 13 May
Cross-training might be a good idea when it involves going to the gym in the middle of winter and taxing muscle groups you cannot tax on the bike because the weather is malicious and the bike will whimper if you roll it out of the garage (to say nothing of the rider).
But this springtime cross-training with a lawn mower is tough. Last night I mowed our entire yard (usually I do it in two parts). Big deal, you say? My (eco friendly) push mower requires, well, pushing. A lot of pushing. And grass is not the majority population in my lawn. Moss and weeds make up a substantial portion of the green. (I'm secretly striving for--and am not far from--the latest NW eco trend: a "moss lawn.") Moss is thick and lush right now and just loves to suck in and strangle the wheels and blades on my mower. My cross-training activity bore more resemblances to lunges with a mower than to trimming a putting green.
The end result of last night's workout, a.k.a. lawn mowing, is that my legs are tireder today than they were at any time after Saturday's 60-mile Ravensdale-Cumberland road race. I think I am going to have to devise a post-mow recovery program to stretch the affected muscle groups.
Speaking of Saturday's race, it was more fun than I expected going in. For one thing, the forecasted rain did not materialize. For another, "the wall" had to be removed from the race course due to poor road conditions. I wonder how many cyclists were out there secretly dropping large boulders on the roadway in the weeks leading up to the race to avoid 0.15 miles at 20%. The finish climb was short and flat if you just rode up it, but relentless and painful at the end of the race. One of the things I learned in this race is where Cumberland, WA is. I was solo off the front for a couple of miles, which is a better opportunity for sightseeing than riding in the pack. And I just happened to notice the signs on the shops when I passed through Cumberland. I'm not sure it can boast a wide spot in the road, but there is an intersection.
The toughest part of the race was watching the cat 3s try to race. Because of smallish field sizes, the cat 3 women (supposed to be raced separately at this event) and the cat 1-2 women were combined in one race but scored separately. You can imagine the difficulty. A cat 3 attacks. Nobody chases her down: the cat 1-2s don't care too much, and the cat 3s know that a cat 1-2 driven pack will eventually catch her. We spent a lot of time watching women dangle and die. I think the cat 3s gained some confidence, though. They saw that cat 1-2s don't eat each other alive out there, and they learned one of our dark secrets: toward the end of the race, when it's clear nobody's going to get away, nobody wants to work, so the speed falls. And falls. How much 15 mph can you take? She who loses patience first sacrifices her legs to jump-start the pack. Ah well, in this case, her legs weren't going to fly up that finish hill anyway. But her teammate's did!