Thursday, September 9, 2010

Anatomy of implosion Ch. 2 PCP2P

Few shots from the day before we get back to the story...

Pulling into the Park City aid station, real bad shape at this point despite the smile, but it would only get worse.
Dug and I leaving Silver lake...
At the Silver lake 2nd stop, coming to grips with how the rest of the day is likely to be given the hole I've already dug.
Pulling into Silver Lake 2 - no hole is so deep that it doesn't feel good to see your kid waiting with open arms.
OK, part 2.....
Think we left off with me having just stuffed numerous large rocks in both my jersey and shorts to make the Bald Mtn climb - or at least with me starting to move at a pace that resembled dragging a sack full of rocks, which I think is what my ass had become.

That walking that had started near the end of last post, well, it lasted pretty much the entire Bald Mtn climb. I had nothing, and the nothingness had hit 5 minutes too late to have tried to repair the damage/get back ahead of it at aid #1. I knew I was in trouble. Any positive gradient meant dismount all the way up to Nail Driver, at which point it became faster to sit on the bike as it rolled downhill than it was to push it, I know - yet another elite level race strategy you've come to expect from this blog. The death spiral of breakdowns - not the mechanical type mind you, no, the bike worked perfect, absolutely flawless, all day, despite me trying to chew that new rear shock off at one point - nope, we're talking the physical and mental imploding type breakdowns, went like this....
  • The smallest, most insignificant hills became punches in the gut. It was near the end of the Flagstaff loop that Dug came riding by. This was the highlight of the loop between the Silver Lake stops for me. After catching each other up on who we'd seen and how they were doing, I made the comment to Dug on a little roller type up that those little midget hills were starting to kick my behind. He acknowledged and affirmed as much by letting me know that "yes, your transitions are less than desirable" - he may have even said they sucked. And he was dead on. I was too spent to make the small momentum building efforts to go into even the smallest hill, one of the first of the pain compounding breakdowns of the implosion. This was only mitigated in part by Dug's good company and watching him descend, the guy is just smooth and fluid.

  • Disconnect between the brain and the body. I'm a moderate in regards to getting caught up in data, but here's a curious observation from the day. Percieved effort went completely out of whack relative to actual effort if heart rate can be relied upon as an objective/neutral marker. I noticed this not long after leaving Silver Lake stop 2 and making a couple of short efforts to try and stay with Dug (unsuccessful efforts, had to watch him ride away). I'd dig until I felt like I was revving to high, and look down to see my heart rate acting like we were on some liesurely ride. I don't know enough physiologically to know if that disconnect is due to the body shutting down a bit when in a hole or if it's the brain making it seem worse than it really is - let's call that being a puss. Pretty sure I don't want the answer to that piece of trivia. Either way, the shortest of efforts would shatter me, over and over and over, it was a relentless pattern of wanting to get going, trying to, and failing, every single time.

  • Already mentioned transitions, but that issue and my being too weak to correct it paled in comparison to overall deterioration of bike handling ability. There was more than a few times where I'd be riding along one of the MM sections with steep slope on both the upside and downside of the trail, and was apparently really concerned about catching a pedal on the uphill slope, since that would be a catastrophic error. That's the only reason I can think of for why I came so damn close to riding off the steep downhill side into the oak brush several times, and by that I mean more than a few. It was like that dangerous daze you get into when driving tired, and something happens to give you a jolt of adrenaline - and the realization of how close you were to having something bad happen scares the hell out of you - but I'd be back in the daze within a few pedal strokes. I won't even go into the narrow, rooty, twisty section through the quakies - but my shoulders were made to resemble a ping pong ball as I bounced between trees going down that technical luge run. Bike handling skill was nearly reduced to needing training wheels.

  • Self destructive behavior. You ever have the experience of watching a friend or family member go into a downward spiral with their life in general? What starts out as a poor situation for whatever reason, gets compounded by bad decision after bad decision that you qualify as self destructive because they seem so obviously bad from your seat? I kind of went into that pattern with fueling. For as much of the day as I spent running on empty - I could never make myself eat anything with some nutrient density in it at the aid stations. It was always an Ensure (which actually has great nutrient density, but apparently not enough to dig out of a hole), coke, coconut water, energy drink, and maybe an orange wedge or half a banana. Despite knowing I needed to take in more to dig out of the hole, I refused to do it. Even once I'd finally gotten to the Park City stop and sat down for a bit, refused to eat enough to recover in the slightest, and I continued to pay. I'm actually fairly convinced that once in the hole that bad, there's no getting out of it.

  • Giving up - after sitting down for a bit to try and put myself back together with Annie and the kids, Dug and Kim, and Erik and Jess at the PCMR stop (Erik was green with stomach problems and Dug was periodically locking up with cramps - although they merit sympathy, it is pretty comical watching pals cramp, Dug was no exception). Dug and I left together again, and riding with him would be short lived, again. Going up Spiro I had to fall back to the practice of walking when the gradient rose above 0, Dug would stay on and row his way up. I'd come around the corner and he'd be leaning on a tree, no question he was waiting. I'd tell him to quit waiting, he'd say he wasn't, then he'd go wait again around the next switchback. He finally rode off. I was reaching the the give up stage of implosion at this point. Don't take that the wrong, not talking about giving up and quitting. No sirree. But I am talking about giving up at trying to do anything well the remainder of the day. I was going to finish, I had just gotten so deep in the hole that I was no longer concerned about doing it with any dignity or respectable effort. Let's just call that being a puss.

That's it for detail on my implosion process, wish I had different insights from my day but it is what it was. Home stretch.....

Ran into Dug again at the Red Pine stop, he was getting ready to head back out as I pulled in. I thought about him on his rigid bike as I came down the MM reroute, kept me from feeling too sorry for myself getting beat up on my squishy bike. I drank a bunch of coke and started the home stretch. Mid Mountain right there around Red Pine is that real nice buff stuff that's a lot of fun to ride, even when tired. Especially once you finally topped out and hit the ripping fast stuff heading back down. Then it got real bumpy again and agitated all the little achy spots. Then, after all the suffering and walking on the climbs looking forward to the downhill stuff, I found myself desperately wanting that downhill section to be over. There's just no pleasing a dude that far gone.

Went around the corner where you got a glimpse of the finish and started the final climb back up the canyon a bit. Not too far on the way up, a break sounded nice, so convinced myself I needed to pee. Got off, stepped off the trail to pee, then stepped back up to the trail and stood there for a minute. Can't remember why I was just standing there, was maybe trying to remember where I'd set my bike down, not sure? Came back to my senses when I hear "Jdub", and look down the trail to see Eric pedaling up. Man, it's good to see a pal in that situation. He pulls up and tells me about his last 18 or so miles, and I'm in a stupor as I half coherently start piecing together what he's telling me, then I look back and see his seat sitting in his top tube, completely sidways. I was too embarrased to say my day had felt hard after seeing his situation, so we got back on and started pedaling. I laughed for the first time in hours when I watched Eric pedal his new setup. With that low seat he looked like a kid lowriding in spandex on a bmx bike that was missing it's pegs on the back wheel, and everytime he'd stand his seat would spin back and forth between his knees. Got to hand it to that guy for finishing that course having dealt with that for so much of it. We cruised down to the finish and I was glad to be done. Nothing more, nothing less, I was just glad to be done, and to see my wife and kids and pals.

Couple of shots from the finish.

Dug wrapping up his day. Credit his smooth riding for his getting home in one piece given a yet to be discovered circumstance.
Eric aka Low Rider and I rolling in.

My oldest with that "good night you took a long time" look on her face.
Plenty of stories of this race being done a whole lot better than I did mine found here......
Sam (who also leaves you guessing on his feelings for the Butte 100), Eric, Brandon, Aaron, Elden, Dug, Pat, Nate


Eric said...

seeing you around that bend was like an oasis in the desert. can't think of a better way to finish that race than with a good friend.

good luck tomorrow! back at it!

Nate said...

The Demons were STRONG that day my friend. Puss cannot be a description for pushing through that pain all day. Have fun this weekend!

dug said...

i wasn't waiting. i WASN'T.

Ski Bike Junkie said...

First up, when you're at your limit but your HR is low, that means you're bonked. Muscles are out of glycogen. But I think you knew that.

Second, nice work pushing through a tough day and sticking it out to the end.

Third, who is that guy rolling in behind you and Eric (#22)? With the double pistolero gesture he's making, you'd think he was winning a stage at the freakin' tour. Gotta love that kind of positive attitude.

evilbanks said...

Hey man----great write up. Nice job pushing through to the bitter end. I''m glad you and Bright were able to hook up and keep each other going to the finish. Bright is totally right, seeing a friendly face when you are completely out of gas is like an oasis. Way to go man, and good luck this weekend you sadistic freak!