Riding Hard

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Yesterday, on the evening ride, I was feeling just so/so.  My mind has been on other things and cycling has sort of been put on the back burner, which is abnormal for me.  I’m trying to keep some sort of resemblance of form, even though it seems to be changing, and elusive, depending on the moon cycles or something.

They are still burning around here, which means the air isn’t good.  Plus, the pollen count if off the charts.  I was standing in my front yard, talking to a good friend who lives in Italy and was in town visiting her mom.  When I went back inside, the top of my head was covered with oak pollen.  That was in just 5 minutes or so.

Anyway, I was riding with a group of 7 that were going for about 50 miles.  It was pretty windy from the Northeast and we were riding directly east into it.  We started out riding out by the river, which is pretty dead flat, and I was riding next to Bill, doing about 18 mph at 300 watts.  I’m not too big on just sitting and pedaling that hard for a long time.  That is what is nice about Eastern Kansas, it is rolling hills just about everywhere, so you never have to stay seated for extended periods of time.

I was telling Bill that I was breathing bad.  I can tell when I’m breathing badly because my arms get just as tired as my legs, especially when climbing out of the saddle.  Plus, I was having trouble taking a full breath.  And this was early in the ride.

About 20 miles from home, my brother, Kris, “attacked” the group.  I’m not really sure what he was doing, I guess he wanted to ride harder than we were going.  So, the speed picked up.  Bill and I kept riding side by side, but it was pretty hard.  We stayed at the front for maybe 3 miles, until we had almost caught him.

But, the speed never slowed down.  I couldn’t tell how I was going.  I felt pretty okay riding steady state hard, but didn’t much like any change of speed.  Pretty soon we caught Kris and we were just rotating.  Scott Williamson, who had raced Joe Martin last weekend, kept it going pretty hard initially.  Then Kris went hard again and pretty soon I ended up at the front.

Sometimes when I get to the front, if Bill is feeling bad and doesn’t relieve me, I end up pulling for quite a while.  I didn’t feel like doing that yesterday, but that is what seemed to be happening.  There was a big hill, we call Indian Hill for some reason, up the road less than a mile, and I was pretty sure no one was going to come by before it since I’d been left out in front too long already.

So, we start up Indian Hill.  I was a little hurt, but was going to ride up it steady fast.  That was until Scott came blowing by me.  My jump is completely non-existent now and he was instantly 5 bike lengths ahead.  The hill isn’t long, maybe 200 meters, but it is hard enough.  I slowly crawl back up towards Scott at the top and the other 5 guys are a little ways back.

So, Scott and I kept going hard.  I haven’t went that hard in a long time.  I wasn’t going good, mainly from lack of air, but I was trying to pull good.  We kept a good pace for the next 10 miles.  We lost the tailwind, heading back west.  It always seems to die towards sunset.  It seemed like we should have been going over 30, but were hovering closer to 28 most of the time.

So, we rode to where we sprint at the end.  Scott led it out from in front and I could barely hold his wheel.  After we finished, I couldn’t stop coughing.  That is unusual for me.  If I’m getting some exercise induced asthma or something, it is usually from going way too hard early.  Like riding a short time trial way too hard.  It isn’t after 2 + hours of doing a ride and then 30 minutes hard.

The whole way home I was coughing and spitting up phlegm.  Plus, my nose was dripping down the back of my throat.  It has to be allergies.

Whatever the reason, it is more than a little disconcerting.  I am already behind where I want to be form-wise.  I had to go back and look at Strava to figure out what I’ve been doing the last few weeks, that is how out of it I am mentally.  I sort of forgot I was sick just over a week ago and missed 4 or 5 days.  That might explain it some.

I’m sort of scared going to a real race.  Everyone is a month or two fitter and I’m still at square one.  Look at Scott for example.  He has probably around 15-20 race days already.  And it shows.  He has no trouble riding at speed.  I, on the other hand, have done two races this year, one in February and then a 100 mile gravel road race a few weeks ago.  Neither one of those races are going to give me any sort of form for riding fast.  They gave me power, but not top end.

I’m not really going anywhere here.  Just a little venting about how painful next month or two is going to be.  Coming up pretty soon are a lot of criteriums that I historically do.  Memorial Day and Tulsa Tough, etc.  I’m not sure how I’m going to get up to speed for those races.  It’s a little worrisome.

 Exercise induced asthma.





9 thoughts on “Riding Hard

  1. SB

    It’s been a crazy spring for the pollen, seems like everyone, even people who normally don’t have problems, are getting allergies / infections that just lingers and lingers.

  2. TreyH

    The whole asthma thing is a sham so that people can get TUE’s for their performance enhancing inhalers.

  3. Pepsi Frank

    See an allergist and a pulmonary specialist. You are only suffering because you are choosing to suffer.

  4. Goner

    Find some fresh, local honey. The bees make a perfect antidote for that allergy-inducing junk. Take a spoon of it every day.

  5. Ron

    I’ve noticed a burning in my lungs the last couple of weeks when going hard and my breathing sounds raspy when exhaling forcefully. They are saying that the Oaks are releasing their pollen. I think that may be it because i have pretty much been unaffected til about 2 weeks ago. I’m about 3.5hrs south of you down here in AR.

  6. FaustoCoppi

    Dude, you really need to stop whining. You’ve been so lucky to race 40 years and put in as much time on the bike as a 20 year old pro all these years. So you’ve had some shitty setbacks but you dwell on the negative. Be grateful for what you have and how you have that freedom. And while you are at it. why don’t you write some positive shit now and then. Sorry about your dog. I just had to put mine down in February. It was hard and it sucks, but sooner or later it’s the best decision for the dog. But we all face mortality ours or others. How you deal with it is a personal choice. I rode and raced the day after I gave the eulogy at my mother’s funeral and actually won. The bike is cathartic. Be thankful you still can not just ride but race harder and faster than 99.9% of the guys within 10 years of you.


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