OK, So NOW I Can Taper?
30 miles. That's all I wanted to ride today. We did 112 miles last week so I thought I was tapering and figured we'd do a nice easy 30-miler. But Coach Brandon (Steve's coach, not mine) spun the magic wheel and told Steve he had to ride: 3.5, 5, 2... 4.5 hours. So the Wisconsin Four (me, Steve, Greg, Ben) did a 75-mile ride from Zuma to Oxnard and back.
As we were leaving the parking lot, Steve noticed I wasn't wearing bike gloves. This was intentional: someone suggested to me to try racing without gloves because it saves time in transition (what, 10 seconds?) and also may make it easier to eat and drink along the ride. Steve pointed out something that I hadn't considered: there is a certain safety factor involved with wearing gloves. If you crash, gloves can providing some cushioning to protect your palms/wrists and protects your skin from abrasions. Good point.
We did our usual course up the Pacific Coast Highway and then crossed over on Hermione (Hueneme) Road. This is in the middle of farmland, and decades of heavy equipment riding up and down the road has made it a very rough, bumpy, rocky ride. But no more. They paved it in the past week, and it was like BUTTAH. Smoothest road I've ever been on. Some fresh pavement is all compressed-pebbles and you can still feel the texture of them, but this road was smooth as glass. A pleasure to ride on.
Oddly enough, about a mile after riding on "glass", I got a flat. I don't know what I hit, I couldn't find any punctures in the tire. It was a 10-minute pit stop, not exactly NASCAR-ready but at least I got rolling again.
On the way back, Steve decided to take a right turn where we always turned left, "just to see what was down there." The road headed to Port Hueneme Harbor where there were lots of warnings about "ID required" and "No Trespassing" and a small wooden security shack. There is a lot of Navy property in the area and I've seen enough episodes of "24" to know that when you have a wooden shack at a port there are lots of people with guns nearby. So while the other 3 rode up to the shack to find out what was on the other side, I stayed back 100 yards riding in very slow circles in the road. Apparently my circles were a little too slow, because I couldn't keep my balance. And with the rest of the group watching, I just sort of keeled over. I couldn't click out of my pedals, and as I was going down I was thinking "Steve was right - you should wear gloves for safety!"
Like an idiot, I broke my fall with my hand and it really hurt. Twelve hours later, I can still see the imprints of the rocks in my skin.
I did the liquid-only calories again with Carbo-Pro, and again felt great. I did discover one problem with the Carbo-Pro however: it's a pretty rough transition to solid food. Or at least junk food. I had a turkey sandwich and some Chips Ahoys on the drive home and they did not settle too well.
I have to ship my bike to Wisconsin on Thursday, so I don't have any more long rides to do. Well, except for that 112-miler on the 13th.