2009/07/12

Wet training



With my first endurance race to come next saturday, I wanted to do a last long hard ride this past saturday. Fine tune the legs but see how it goes with my hydrating, feeding and all. As a secondary role, my parents, younger brother, his family and friends were camping at Lac Philippe for my nephew's birthday... So I decided to ride from the Cégep in Hull and ride all the way to the camping, I was guessing a 40km ride, hang a few minutes with the boys and come back.

Since our summer seems to be a wet and cold affair this year, the forecasted bad weather could be a good part of my training as for some reason, I expect more rain and mud for next week's race. As soon as I locked my car, clipped into my pedals and started pedaling, the menacing sky let all hell break loose! Thunder, hard rain with drops that could knock me out anytime, it was already too late to turn back.

Huge puddles of water and mud were everywhere apart from the climbs and descents, those were wet though. Of course the rocks and roots were slippery but the trails I used were not overly technical so everything was ridable except for a few feet of trail that was under the high water level of a lake. The ride was still enjoyable, climbs were not as hard as I remembered. I think I used to find it really hard to get up some steep ones with minimal traction but on my Prophet with a broken front derailleur, I couldn't go lower than my 32T ring and not a single climb seemed that hard.

Of course, my nephews were quite happy to see me appear completely covered in mud, one seemed to find it pretty funny, the other thought it was curious. I had my own little pit crew with a glass of cold water, a plate with vegetables and pasta salad and someone to clean my legs (even though cleaning seemed to mean hiding all the mud inside my socks). Then glimpses of sun appeared and I got on the bike for the way back.

The way back was more of the same apart that the rain was replaced by a thick fog and so much humidity... Something I didn't see coming got noticed once it was too late. The ground has lots of sand and small rocks in those trails and with the rain, the small particules get everywhere on the bike, on the body and even through the clothes. Thinking that wearing a pair of baggy shorts over my bibs would keep me cleaner, warmer and dryer wasn't such a good idea after all. All the sand and mud could get between the shorts and my legs and at the knees, some was getting stuck and rubbed my knees with each pedal strokes. So even though I didn't crash, I look like I have road rash on the knees.

I was a bit tired after the ride that turned out to be 86.2km with a good amount of climbing. I cleaned up, changed into dry clothes, put the dirty bike on the roof rack and went back home, goals achieved. The 2 hour drive brought me back into the thunderstorms which I was looking forward to, my bike really needed a good shower and it got it. I'll try to go easy on the bikes this week with minimal high efforts to recover and be ready for next saturday's Raid Vélo Mag. It's apparently hell when it's wet... I think it will be hell then.

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