…but apparently it helps. I finally had the opportunity to meet my new coach who is an actual, honest to God, rocket scientist. About 7 minutes into the Bike Endurance Test she put me though, I was wishing I had never met her. I’m getting ahead of myself already. Apparently my fingers are the only thing on my body not begging for mercy right now.
As most of you know I’m traveling to Pontevedra, Spain this May to compete for Team USA at the Duathlon World Championship. It’s unbelievably scary since I still do not consider myself a cyclist, hence the hiring of Coach Rocket Scientist. I found her though Training Peaks which is an online training resource that offers programs for a variety of athletic events, and can even hook you up with an amazing coach who lives within a 30 mile radius of you. Not bad.
Coach Rocket Scientist (CRS) is obviously smarter then all of us but, I found out, is not without a sense of humor. Our planned meeting was set up so I could go though something called a Functional Threshold Power Test. Sounds like my kind of fun, right? So the night before our meeting (which was already postponed once due to my sickness!) there was a snowstorm. I sent an email basically saying unless we get 30 inches, I’ll be there. This is what she sent in return:
Hopefully there won’t be any issues, but don’t worry if the snow poses a problem.
I’m so looking forward to meeting you!
And having a nice cup of coffee while you slave away on the test :))
And she absolutely did have a cup of coffee and proceeded to say “At least it’s not wine. Now that would be cruel.” Cruel? Funny you bring that up CRS because I’m in hell right now. The Functional Threshold Power Test consisted of me cycling “as hard as I can” for thirty minutes. Thirty.Minutes. Here’s how it unfolded:
10 minute warm-up: Did I mention I haven’t been on my new bike yet? Yeah. I thought getting on it for the first time for the endurance test was a super idea. Hey – I can’t control the weather yet so… The warm-up was more like “Allie, meet your bike” “Bike, meet Allie” There was a love connection.
A laptop was positioned in front of me with an image of a girl on a bike (presumably me) displayed on the screen in a race scenario with a “start” banner and all. I could see the time, my RPM, heart rate and a few other things that didn’t seem too important. CRS tweaked a few cables that were attached to it and then the screen flashed 3, 2, 1 GO!
First 5 Minutes: I wish I could say they were a total blur but oh no, they were very painful. I raced out of the gate even though I was told to somewhat pace myself so I could make it to 30 minutes in one piece. My heart rate shot up and I quickly realized I had to slow my roll! I lowered a gear and tried to settle in.
10 Minutes In: At this point I was thinking to just take it in 10 minute chunks. I can mentally handle 10 minute clips of time.
15 minutes In: I decided I could barely handle 2 minutes at a time and my thoughts got a little blurry from this point on. I was so happy to reach the half way mark that I yelled out “half way!” CRS responded (after a long sip of coffee) with “Yep.” She’s super motivating.
20 Minutes In: I actually started rethinking the entire trip to Spain. I shit you not. I was in so much pain, I could barely breathe, I was sweating like a pig and figured I may be dead in another 10 minutes anyway so then I wouldn’t have to worry about it. When death is a welcome option, you’re clearly doing something insane. Like childbirth.
25 Minutes In: My water bottle feels like I’m lifting one of the twins, one-handed. I want to dump the entire thing on my head. I try again with CRS and say “Five minutes to go.” Her response? “It’s a long five minutes but you’re doing it.” What the…?? Ok, tough love. I get it. It really sucks being on the receiving end of training. I can hear all of my past clients collectively laughing their asses off. I should have video taped it for their pleasure. Psychos!
The Finish: It was ugly but I made it.
Naturally I wanted to know how amazing I did and how I stacked up against other cyclists my age, etc. Yeah well there was none of that. CRS just shrugged and said it was a baseline and pointed out where I could improve. She is all business people. I have to remember that she was actually part of Mission Control. I mean, what?
– I rock when I bike and it’s not an awesome thing like “You rock!” it’s more like use your core and cut it out! She actually took a video of me from behind and I could not believe what I looked like! Not because of my ass but because of the rocking – whoa!
– I need to relax. Well there’s a bulletin. But really, I need to relax my shoulders and back when I’m in the aero bars.
– My pedal efficiency leaves a lot to be desired. I knew this and now I know how to start correcting it.
Overall I LOVE CRS. She is exactly what I need and was already a wealth of information. The fact that we’re both twin moms and that she will be in Spain is just like getting to ride on a flat road with no hands! Relaxing and comforting.
She’s also going to teach me how to change a tire (finally!) and what all the cool kids do (or don’t do) with their bikes: plastic chain protectors? Not cool. Got it!
Now, if only she was also a massage therapist…
Have you ever found yourself in a situation you desperately wanted to get out of? Have you ever hired a coach for anything? Do you know a rocket scientist?