Yesterday was another back test day and I totally spanked it, yet again it’s all relative. My body hurts today but I knew it would, I knew I was riding longer than my training plan, my osteopath and the musculoskeletal specialist would like but it was a beautiful day and needed to push myself because I was getting bogged down in my own frustrations at the time it’s taking to fix me.
I plotted the route out in Strava making sure I didn’t hit Richmond park until I was on the way home, so if I was struggling mentally I know how long it would take to get back, the roads, the route and the effort which was just as well because for all my planning I did make the most obvious schoolgirl error.
On Sunday I went out and bought a Science in Sport selection box of their yummy bars which I prefer to the gels because I have teeth and I like to chew my food and I don’t know the difference in absorption rate.
My Garmin is set up so all I see is cadence, wattage and distance; I don’t want to know the time because once I start thinking about that my head goes funny, and I start thinking about work and that ruins the joy of being a bike, I also don’t really care that much about my heart rate because it wasn’t that kind of ride, all I needed to do was find the line where my back goes from being fine to being in spasm. As it turns out that point is 62.7k.
I’m riding along with that sense that I’ve forgotten something and it wasn’t until I reached round for a nibble and remembered that my bars are at home. I had a moment where I could have just changed my route on the fly but that wasn’t the plan and I knew the road profile was mostly flat and given my overall ignorance of on bike nutrition I thought I’d struggle on with that childhood memory of heading out on a summer ride with a bottle of Lucozade and a jam sandwich. What I actually had was a bottle of electrolytes because I cramp up really quickly and a bottle of Science in Sport Carby thing.
At about 45k I knew my body was done energy wise, I have a half bottle of electrolytes left, zero go-go-juice and the only way out of Richmond Park included inclines and as I bonked my way up Ham Ramp and then fully died on Dark Hill forcing me to get off the bike and sit for a minute.
At 50k I was starting to have a bit of a panic, I’m spent, I’m 12k from a cup of tea and my back , while not screaming is certainly not happy and everytime I push my right pedal the stabbing pain in my hip had to be worked through and I got so close to ringing my neighbour and asking to be picked up the last 5k where a full on painful struggle.
The positives. Longest time in the saddle, farthest distance ridden and pushing through that pain barrier. I have to stress why, my cadence was 81 that’s 81 times a minute I have stabbing nerve pains as my ruptured disk banged on the nerve and it lasted for 12k, the first time that happened I cried all the way home but this morning in reflection I feel like I’ve not just made quad powered physical gains but mental ones too.