After last weeks century ride, followed by a 16mile run, not to mention the weekday workouts that led up to that... I was definitely ready for recovery week. Although a few weeks ago I put two and two together and realized the infamous Vanderpool ride was going to fall on our recovery week. That meant we would be riding less, but we would be riding Texas "mountains". For the past year I had been listening to my Iron-friends talk about "the Vanderpool ride"! Any ride during which complaints were aired could usually be followed up with... "not worse than Vanderpool!" I heard all about Shelly's panic attack, Santiago's speed wobble on a decent, and various other stories that contributed to an ulcer in the weeks approaching.
So Saturday came, just like any other day I've dreaded. Kris & I drove up to Vanderpool together, 1.5hrs from San Antonio. As we drove up Kris kept me entertained with more Vanderpool horror stories and details about camp coming up in March. She made it clear, and has allowed me to hold her to her word, that if I can do Vanderpool, I can do camp. As we neared Vanderpool, we drove up a very steep hill and back down the backside... "this is our first climb." O.M.G.
We got to the parking lot, which would serve as our transition area for the next 3 out and backs. When the gang was all there, Dawn explained to the group our game plan. First out & back: 4miles out, 1mile climb & back. Second: to Leakey and back. Third: I have no idea what she said at that point, I just knew it was going to be hard!
Let's ride! It was the third time riding Zion & I expected nothing but great things from her. Four miles out, the weather was cold, but sunny, with a slight wind. Not bad compared to the past few weekends. We were already warned not to go throwing off layers as we climbed because the decent would cool us back down plenty! Suddenly, I was staring at the wall! OK, time to climb. Pedal, pedal, pedal, breathe, breathe, breathe. Pedal, breathe, pedal, breathe. Whatever I had to do to get to the top... just keep pedaling! And just when you think you've reached the top, the second half comes into view... WHAT?! What am I going to do now?, other then PEDAL! I finally made it to the top & Coachie was there waiting with a big smile! What goes up, must come down. 1mile decent... Whhhhhheeeeeee!!! I'm never out to break the sound barrier, so I was feathering on my brakes the whole time. My max speed on that decent was 36.5.
Round two, 15miles out to Leakey and back. Within the first mile, BOOM!, Texas "mountain"! The kind that you can see in front of you and then again off in the distance to the right, still climbing! Then came the switch backs. Kris had warned me, that this road was heavily traveled by motorcyclists & race cars. As I climbed, I knew exactly why. The road looked exactly like one that you would see in a Ferrari commercial that starts off with: expert drivers only, done on a closed road. As I struggled both physically and mentally, I watched convertibles go flying by me and thought, "what a nice day to be out for a ride... in a convertible!" By the time I reached Leakey, I was convinced I was DONE!
I had thought of very excuse in my head not to continue on. I just wanted to get in the SAG vehicle and take my lashings from Coachie. I walked over to Dawn, knowing I was about to step on hot coals! "Coachie, I can't do this anymore. I'm too tired & it hurts!" "You're doing great! This is your first time, it's suppose to be hard." "I know, you're right... Yell at me some more!" "You already had your hall pass on New Years Day... You're finishing this ride!" ...OK...
I made it back from Leakey with every last once of energy left in my body determined that I was NOT going on the third leg. Next thing I knew we were clipping in and heading out again. OK, I will ride as long as I can while it's flat. Then came the Texas "mountain", 1.5miles worth. Pedal, pedal, breathe, breathe... just keep moving. If I make it to the top, then I can get in the SAG. As I slowly passed Alphonso I confessed to him I was getting int he SAG next time it came by. He asked me nicely if I wanted him to wait with me until they came. I told him I would wait for them to come & he urged me to keep pedaling until they came. Again, next thing you know I'm at the top! Ok, I will enjoy the decent and get in the SAG for the rest of the 5miles back. Whhhheeeee!!! At the bottom of the decent Kris & I grabbed onto Dawn & Jeff's wheel and drafted our way home. DONE... well riding at least.
Afterwards, we "quickly" transitioned into our running clothes and headed out for a 30min run. "Whoa, we are going way too fast, 8:23 pace!" But no one slowed down, including myself! We finished the day off with a 3.47mile run in 30min... 8:39 pace! Where did THAT come from?! I think Coachie riding along side of us on her bike helped :-)
Today, I think it all caught up to me. Our recovery run of 8miles was done at a 9:40 pace & I felt like it was work to keep that up. After our run Kris & I headed to the pool for a nice 2000yd PBB workout. Wow, just what I expected... every single muscle was sore! But nothing a relaxing swim can't work out.
So, in terms of "recovery" week, I feel I got ripped off. But in terms of building strength & character, I got a full dose! THIS is IM training... and I'm in the heart of it!