Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Cracking Under Pressure And Throwing In The Towel

This week I did something I can't recall ever doing before.  I cried on my bike.  Not sad crying... angry, frustrated, this-is-legal-killing-is-not crying.

This past week has become increasingly frustrating.  Each time I think I have gotten the bike sorted out, a new problem arises that seems worse than the last.  By Monday, when I went to do my VO2 intervals, I headed out towards the loop I had planned to use.  The bike was making a terrible noise and with each bump in the road the entire cockpit was collapsing further.  I stopped at a local shop to get everything tightened up enough to head home, figuring I could make a go of it on the trainer but by the time I got home, even the pursuits wouldn't support any weight.  The bike was finally declared unrideable.  Each time I took it to a wrench, I had a bigger problem than what I started with.  It finally came to a head.  The lop-eared bunny won.
The problem has gone from this..

I replaced the clamps with some parts that the manufacturer had sent me to attempt to solve the problem but once again, there was a missing piece and so the end result of that experiment was...

This: this...

...and this.
The carbon is damaged at this point and I question the safety of the parts.  

I sent DD an email and he said not to worry about the intervals, just do the triple the following day as planned.

Tuesday, I got up early and spent most of the day trying to track down parts that would let me get the bike to a usable state.  I did finally find the parts.  I had them installed and when I did, the wrench moved the seat to put the bike on the rack.  I don't know if he did not get the seat back where it belonged, if the seat slipped because it had been loosened, or if the position relative to the armrests was so different that it felt much lower.  All I know is that I took the bike out that afternoon and had one of the most miserable rides I have ever endured on a bicycle.  I was not only uncomfortable, but I was unable to generate power or bring up my cadence.  I was struggling to maintain a cadence roughly 20 rpms lower than what I would normally have and it showed with about a 4 mph difference in speed.

I finished the ride with my back screaming, shooting pains in my hamstrings, my quads burned up, and my shoulder totally flared up.  I could barely put on a shirt and I still had a swim, run, and a nights work ahead of me.  I decided to put off the other two workouts until after work.  A workout can be changed to accommodate an injury but I have to work so sometimes, I will err on the side of caution here.  I popped some ibuprofen and took a nap hoping that the pain would subside some.  No luck there.  It b*tched and moaned and popped and cracked all through the night.  The next morning I drove to the pool, then as I sat in the parking lot with my now nearly useless arm in my lap and realized that I had forgotten my towel.  That was pretty much the last straw.  I went home.  

The last few weeks have been extremely frustrating.  It seems like there have been events (pretty much all related to this one bike issue) that have made accomplishing my workout goals nearly impossible.  I am struggling to feel like I am getting it right.  I never want to let myself down or my coach but also, I am trying to find out how to keep things from becoming excuses.  Lately, it has seemed like all of the normal levels of planning and determination have fallen far short of the Herculean efforts it has been taking to put "the check in the box", to complete my assigned workouts.  Sadly, they are not particularly difficult at this stage.

The bike has been a monstrous source of frustration but the true demon I can't seem to conquer is attaining consistency right now.  I would be thrilled if I could have one week where I did everything I was told, as I was told, and did not have to send one email to DD asking him how I needed to modify things.  WHY is this so important to me right now?  Because I am not working that hard.  My job has been slow this circuit, I am in a familiar city, I have a pretty stable schedule, my training load is not crazy... I should be able to make this happen.  It can AND WILL get a lot harder.  What then?  If I can't make this happen now, what am I going to do when it gets hard, really hard, like it does in the summer?  At this point last year, I was a fairly low-maintenance client.  This is the easy part of the year and I can't seem to pull it together.

I have also felt like I was fighting a virus and took a few days off last week.  My customers have been waiting until the last possible minute to tell me their plans so I am always in a state of reaction rather than planning.  I have been struggling to get the winter weight off which is starting to mess with my head.  I have not been able to enjoy the fact that I am down here, having made it down to the coast only once to ride.  My running shoe situation has been slowly arriving at a critical state for months now.  This is my fault.  As I have learned in the past, the slightest disruption to the status quo throws my body into a state of hysteria, so naturally all my old running injuries have been popping in for surprise visits.  I'll be honest, I feel stressed and overwhelmed but there isn't enough (other than the evil lop eared bunny) going on to warrant all of this.  Is it that I am underestimating my current stress load or am I just that dependent on my long rides on Mondays and Tuesdays to maintain my sanity.  Or has a month of driving 2-3 hours on each of my days off to deal with this bike finally caught up to me.  Laundry, cleaning, shopping, paperwork, etc is not getting done on schedule because I am having to devote time to this and it's taking it's toll.

I find myself looking around at people who seem to get it down without much interruption, flowing smoothly through their days and wonder why my coping mechanisms are so underdeveloped.  In reality, I am sure I am not aware of all the turmoil boiling under the surface for them too.  I am just seeing the calm presented to the outside world.  And more importantly, it doesn't matter if they are Gandhi, they are not me.  I would do well to realize that it could be a lot worse but also realize that if I do not bring my stress levels down a notch, it will be.  It's too early in the season to be struggling.  I MUST get this solved.  I MUST get my shit together.  

Really need to find my happy place.  

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