Sunday, June 27, 2010

System Shut Down

It's 9PM as I'm writing this and I'm still not right. Things hurt that wouldn't normally hurt after a one hour crit. I'm waaay more tired than normal and I've been bitchy to my Wife ever since we got home (sorry Bert). When I finally had enough energy to eat something, the muscles under my tongue were cramping. F*#@.

I've always done well with athletics and heat. I graduated high school in 1981 (yes I'm old). I played 3 sports from grade school on. The summer was and endless succession of games, practices, pick up games, running, etc. In high school, the coaches handled us in ways that would get them fired or sued now. Denial of water was one of the big "motivators" used to keep us in line. During football 2-a-days it was not unusual to see guys drop. In basketball we had a series of drills at the beginning and end of practice called the Dirty 30. It was a continuous set of sprints, agility, ball handling and jumping drills. It was brutal. They put hangers bent into hoops with trash bags at each end of the floor for barfing - no joke.

Usually, I can go pretty hard for a long time in a lot of heat. Today I got a lesson / reminder of what can happen when you don't do the right thing with hydration. We did Brownstown RR yesterday and it was 95ish. I'm usually really good about hydration. I drink water continuously most of the time. Mistake 1: I didn't drink much water last night or this AM. Still, I put down some water and Gatorade before the race and felt ok. Problem 2: I couldn't get any water down during the race. I had this wicked lung problem for 8 weeks earlier in the season. Every deep breath made me cough. It sucked. I went to a doc and was prescribed antibiotics. No change. Finally I went to an internist before Speedweek in April. Turns out I had a continuous lung inflammation that she described like having a continual asthma attack but I don't actually have asthma. Finally got that under control.

One problem though. The inhaler she has / had me on makes my throat really raw feeling - so much so that under stress (like in a race) I can't get water down without slowing down. No problem in training or even a road race. At TOWC crit I was coughing my ass off while trying to follow moves. So if anyone was wondering why I was spitting green Gatorade all over my frame today, that's why. I was trying to swallow it then just washing my mouth out with it. The combination was not good and I pushed too far today.

When we had Ryan off the front today, I was able to get up front no problem to help Jared mark moves. But as we got into the second half of the race, I started feeling a little "detached" - still there but not completely and definitely not where I should have been to help. With 3 to go I started seeing dark spots and had to pull myself before I laid it down. I had to stop 3 or 4 times to make it to the car. Not my best moment.

So when I got some food in me I checked out the data from the race. 380 watts for the first 30 minutes and then a plummet to 315 watts for the second 30 minutes. No one cracks that bad after 30 minutes. Not only that my heart rate was dropping the whole time. Total shutdown. For comparison, at Working Man's Classic day one this past Tuesday, I did 395 watts (430 normalized) for the hour and felt really good - also in 90 plus degree heat.

The point I'm trying to get to with this is not to explain why I DNF'd - it's me re-learning something really important which is that hydration and feeding, two things I'm notorious for neglecting during races, can really screw you. Think about it. We can train our asses off all season all in hopes of gaining less than 10% FTP let's say. Then you make a mistake like I did today and lose 80 watts out of 395, that's 20%!!! Stupid. Not a mistake I plan on making again.

Congrats to Jared for another really gutsy ride today.

Also congrats to Nick Vs Gravity who soloed in for the win in the Cat 4 race. When I was a Cat 4, I weighed nearly the same as he does but I never rode away from anything. Great job. Keep up the good work.