It’s Thursday, which means heading up through the park. Used to be the case that the lower gate would be open half the time, closed the rest, but lately, it’s nearly always been closed. Today, as usual, closed. The upper gate, on the other hand, has only been closed once or twice previously. As you can see in the right-side photo above, the park guy had just managed to get it opened up as we arrived. Good timing, since, at my speed, I would have been heading uphill so fast that I might not have even noticed it wasn’t opened, and likely vaporized both the gate and myself from the force of impact. Not.
Young Kevin, Mark P, Marcus, Eric, Todd, JR & Jan this morning, a cooler morning than we’ve seen in some time, cool enough that long-fingered gloves were once again required. Windy too! Wasn’t it just a week or so ago that we were in the upper 80s? Definitely looking forward to the return of warmer weather. But as slow as I felt, we still got back by 9:22, right on schedule.
You know you’re getting old when you know your body so well that you really don’t have to question what something means. In this case, it was my heart rate, which I just couldn’t get over 154 or so climbing up Kings this morning. Normally I’d be in the mid-160s when pushing it, but nothing doing, my heart just wasn’t responding in a manner that corresponded with effort. It was simply hitting a brick wall at 154 (and I wasn’t going any faster than 154 would indicate either). For most people, this would indicate over-training, a symptom that says you need to back off a bit because your body’s rebelling. For me, that’s an impossibility because I only get to ride three times/week (other than my short commute).
From past experience, I know that a non-responsive heart rate often occurs the day before I come down with something. And guess what? Tonight I’m downing cold-eze, hoping to keep an obvious oncoming cold from getting worse. What’s the deal here? I’ve read nowhere else of evidence that a heart that won’t kick into gear is a leading indicator of getting sick, and yet for me, it’s happened time and time again. Is it just so strange that nobody has given it any thought? I know that, if not for the attention I pay to my heart rate (just one of those things I do, not something that anything good really comes of, just more information to process that might somehow make riding a bike seem more important), I never would have noticed it.
So as you can imagine, I was bringing up the rear of a moderate-sized group that included the two Kevins (and this time, the younger Kevin is doing pretty well after having had his kidney stent removed yesterday), Karl, Karen, Mark P (whom we haven’t seen in some time), Marcus, George, Todd… and me, way off the back. Just under 29 minutes to the top, but once there, I was able to play with the big dogs for the most part, because there isn’t that much of the ride that requires a high heart rate. Except the upper part of West Old LaHonda, and yeah, I pulled up the rear again.
The funny thing about it is that I’ll feel better riding when I actually feel sick, because I have something tangible to fight against. Much better than just riding slow for apparently no good reason.