This has been a much needed rest week. I feel like my body is really tired, but maybe without good enough reason. Well, maybe I'm being unjust - my last real rest was when I needed a break after Fitchburg, and I was sick during that time, too. It's definitely time.
I have been really low-energy all week. I laid down this afternoon to try for a catnap, but just couldn't unwind enough to fall asleep. I felt like my heart was pounding, I often feel this, and that kind of internal bodily-awareness is sort of unsettling. At least when all is calm and quiet, and I'm trying to sleep. I don't usually lie on my left side for long because it feels like my heart is beating right up against my ribs, and it's uncomfortable. I felt this again while desperately seeking my catnap this afternoon. I felt my pulse quicken slightly with a deep breath and slow with a long exhale. Lying there attempting to fall asleep, my heart would quicken as I thought about certain things -- and get your mind out of the gutter, it was all bike porn! I contemplated about what drivetrain I want for my new cross bike! Anyways, guessing my pulse was higher than usual, I decided to count beats. It was 40! Strange how askew my perception can be.... Maybe I really am rested and this week has been good.
I didn't write much about [Hell]towns, but basically, it all came down to salad. Or rather, what I ate for dinner after Wednesday's Witches Cup. I waited WAY TOO LONG to replenish after the race, and several hours post-race, dinner was a beer and a salad. The salad had fish in it, but this still was not the best choice for recovery. I needed more carbs, and not empty ones like beer. I also didn't sleep well that night. I was truly exhausted by Friday, and considered not racing. But naturally, I went anyway. I stayed with the leaders most of the way up Hawley Rd, but got bogged down and needed another gear or two at the steep right hand bend near the top. When my cadence drops that low, I know it's over for me and climbing. I know that several of the women in the break had compacts, which allowed them to sit longer than me. (Note to self.)
After madly chasing with rapidly deteriorating legs, we were diverted off course due to a downed tree/powerline, and we did this crazy 20-minute single-lane dirt road/gravel descent!! Crazy! You should have seen us plow through there like a circus: pace car, police car, Merlin in the red SRAM volvo behind us! Just comical. It was wild. A few cars trying to actually drive UP the road while we were descending found themselves in ditches, and one irate driver apparently threatened Merlin's life, and the cop car had to go back up in his defense!! Circus! Then there was no more dirt. We just stopped at the end of the road. Pace car stopped, the officals got out. They had no idea where we were! Merlin recognized a landmark, a car for sale in the grass on the side of the road he saw on his drive to the race, and said we should take a right. Ha!
Now for the abbreviated conclusion: I got dropped from the break because of the aforementioned salad. I was just empty. My legs felt unbelievably awful. The wind was relentless and blew the determination right out of me. I rode a really, really, long way alone uphill to the finish, bonked, lonely, exhausted, and ravaged by steady 20+ mph winds. I almost stopped at a BBQ on the roadside, since I knew the whole field was god knows where off course and nobody would be catching me, but decided just to try to get it all over with asap. I only finished 8:40 back from the lead group of 7 who pacelined all those uphill miles that I struggled through! So I was still 8th. But no more salad. At least not as a major post-race meal 3 hours post-race!
My teammates and I stopped in Northampton on the way home and I had the most awesome, most enormous cone of ICE CREAM I think I've ever had!! A big, chocolate-dipped Heath Bar candy waffle cone with mudslide icecream (coffee with hydrox cookie crumbles and fudge swirl) and REAL CHOCOLATE jimmies!!! It was just heavenly bliss. I LOVE ice cream, which is awfully convenient, because it makes much better recovery food than salad. :)