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Your most grueling off-season sport experience...

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
What was it? Mountain bike ride? A blistering 10k? That century you rode in August? Masters swim comps? Marathon potato sack race at the family reunion?
Any "event" stand out from the others? Several years ago my brother and I did the annual organized ride around Lake Tahoe, in June. The 'round-the-lake loop is 72 miles; if you want, there's a loop added on, out to Truckee and back, that gets you to close to 100 miles. A very well-supported ride, and easy on the eyes.
I'd just picked up my new road bike and was anxious to see if I was in the shape I'd hoped I was in. I was also planning on settling for the 72 mile loop. 100 miles sounded like just too much.
But of course when we got to the junction to either continue around the lake, or branch off out toward Truckee and then Spooner Summit back around, I felt just fresh enough to fall into my brother's trap when he suggested we take the long way.
In short, it was suffering, pure and simple. My brother was in phenomenal shape and made attempts at killing my spirit when, grinding up the hill, he'd want to have a conversation. And be able to talk as if we were doing nothing at all, maybe sitting on a beach somewhere. I despised his intent and resolved that I would finish strong even if he left me in the dust on his kick to the finish at Zephyr Cove.
When I passed him on the side of the road, maybe an hour later, with a flat tire, I offered with all my generosity to stop and help him out, or at least wait. Because I knew he wouldn't accept the assistance.
"I've got my own damn tube, I'll catch up."
"Okay," I said, and off I went, renewed. Like "I'll catch up" was two cans of Red Bull straight to my veins. As the rest of the way from there was a very long downhill, followed by mostly flat, and I was on my feather-light Specialized and suddenly adrenalized, it was over. I was on my second plate of spaghetti and standing in line for my massage when he pulled in, short on words.
Later, after a couple beers, he let go of his residual frustration and we began to compare notes on the grind.

Actually, the fun does take over the grueling aspect, in retrospect.

I'd love to read anyone else's account of something you've put your body through, something that left you tired, something you slogged through and, though it wasn't always enjoyable, made you somehow stronger. Or just a little
lighter, if only for awhile.

the ride, fyi

[ May 16, 2002, 08:36 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #2 of 37
That is such a cool ride, Ryan. Congrats on taking up the challenge and finishing. I entered it back in 96 with one of my cycling buddies, but when he had to back out I decided not to go.

Have you heard about the Death Ride? There is also a nice 100K close to you up along the Angeles Crest Hwy.

I've only been skiing for 3 years, so I have no grueling off-season experiences to relate. Now before taking up skiing, however,.....
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 
well this ride was before i'd ever skied, so...

actually, it was this trip that landed me at a ski resort for the first time. one day after the ride, my brother and i are driving around and we end up in the alpine meadows lot. they're closed but there's snow on the ground. we just tromped around.

go BadRat, GO!!!
post #4 of 37
Very impressive Ryan!

What immediately comes to mind is my very first fun run. It was 6 or 7 years ago. Some friends talked my husband and I into participating. At that point I had never run a mile in my life. The run was the lucky 7 Saint Pats run. A 7.7K. Its a fun event that has some serious runners but for the most part just everyday folks out for the first running event of the season. My plan was to walk it. I got caught up in all the excitement and started running. I was with my friends maybe a quarter of a mile. Huffing and puffing I STRUGGLED on. I came abreast of 2 rather elderly men shuffling on. I thought if they can do this, certainly I can keep up. Yea right. It was immensely hard. I was in terrible shape. I managed to complete the run. Sore for a week.

That race literally changed my life. I saw all these ppl having a great time. I swore that I would get into shape so that the next year I could run it and have fun. I run now most mornings. This past fall I completed a half marathon. Huge for me. I will never be fast. I am forever a middle of the pack runner. That is OK by me.
post #5 of 37
112 miles on a bike...
97 degrees...
I still don't want to talk (or even think) about it.
post #6 of 37
Thread Starter 

one of the best things to ever happen to me in this regard was when i began to accept that as i aged my times would slow. I don't mind at all. I just settle into my own, break-a-sweat pace, and cruise. It's still exercise and it's nice to move my focus from the finish line and a PR to just enjoying the scenery and the fact that I can move at all.
I guess it's changing from competition, when I would be unable to eat before an event, to something more like a walk in the park. And everything I still do that is "exercise" retains that enjoyment factor, as it feels like giving myself a few more turns per day on the hill.


that ain't no walk in the park.

[ May 16, 2002, 09:44 AM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #7 of 37
Right Ryan. I have never really been a competitor. When I enter any kind of event its only for me. Yes I would like improve my times. That is why I was disapointed that I cannot do the Danskin this year.

Those mornings when running is tough I tell myself that I ran further and faster than if I had stayed in bed!

Gill's a stud!
post #8 of 37
One my most grueling off-season experiences is probably a training clinic I did sailing my Laser dinghy... We had about 25 kn wind and 2m waves. We were sailing a course with a short upwind and two close reaches wich were about 7 minutes each.
If you've never sailed a small boat you probably don't realize how much pain is involved in doing that...
But try to imagine the feeling when you are trying to sprint after 150 or so km of biking, and your upper body feels the same as your legs...
post #9 of 37
Totally out of shape, first time on the bike all year, and I rode 50 miles with two people who regularly ride 80 miles at a time. It was closer to a near-death experience than I'd like to admit.

And to think that the Giro D'Italia guys rode about 125 miles yesterday, will do it again about every day for the next 2-3 weeks, then, in July, ride the TDF. It's just SICK! I think that's why I'm glued to OLN every night. The part about watching people spin the cranks isn't all that exciting. But when you realize how long and hard they ride, and how many days in a row they do it, it just sort of makes you stand in front of the tv and gape, while you chug another brewskie, and down a bag of Doritos.

PS., yes, Gill can ride.

BTW, Gill, if you get this, I'm going to ride to Leesburg (and back) tonight. Probably about 5:00-5:30. Interested?
post #10 of 37
The most gruling and one of the most frightening days of my life started on a bright sunny perfect day at the Beach.A surfing Buddy and I were heading up the coast looking for a place to surf.We spotted a beach break that was seldom ever any good, this morning it was looking really good.The waves about 3 to 4 foot nice looking peaks.Peeling both left and right.We surfed it for about two hours or so when we noticed the waves getting bigger and stronger.That was great untill our littel Beach Break started closing Out.Billy saw an off shore reef about an 1/8 of a mile out starting to go off.Waves were peeling right with a section that opened into a great looking tube. Niether of us had ever seen this reef with surfable waves before and it was just to tempting to pass up.We surfed this reef for another couple of hours All the while the waves were getting bigger and more powerful.The faces were getting vary big, maybe ten foot or more. We looked back toward shore and The waves were One Hugh massive, angry wall of water. There was Tons of churning water building and Breaking just yards off the beach.There was vary little lull between the sets of waves. There was also a powerful rip moving down the beach then out to sea. Getting in was going to be a challenge to say the least.We had used a lot of our energy surfing. To get in our timing would have to be perfect. Paddling fast between sets Hoping not to be caught by one of the massive waves. Billy made the first attempt and failed.He was sucked up the face of a hugh wave and slammed to the bottem he lost his board and was caught in the rip.The power of the rip wouldn't let him swim to the beach and he was stuck in the impact zone.he was being pulled south and was being pounded by wave after massive wave. There is no worse feeling then being sucked up the face of a wave and being slammed to the bottom. Your totally helpless and the worse part is you have time to think about the punshment your about to recieve.I would imagine it is like being caught in an avalanche. It's a vary horrible feeling. After a while the rip found an openning in the surf and pulled Billy out to sea. It took me a long time to Paddle over to him. He was not looking good. This was a guy who was a really good Surfer Use to Surfing Big Waves,He was in great shape and an excellent swimmer. Yet he just now had come close to death. He was caughing,out of breath, throwing up seawater and exhausuted. He had also lost his Surfboard.He lay on my Board while I treaded water holding on to the Board.It took him some time to recover. By this time the waves had gotten even larger.They were as big as I had ever seen In Southren Calif. Massive lines of waves stretched miles up and down the Coast and stacked out to sea as far as we could see. Nobody was on the beach and the closest place we thought we had a chance of getting in was about five miles south.The Good news was the current was moving south.We had one surfboard and a long way to go.We started the long paddle staying just out side the Surf line were the current was stronest keeping a sharp eye out to sea for a rouge waves.we got lucky when I spotted Bill's Surfboard a few yards further out to sea. It must have also been caught in the Rip. About 6 inches of the nose was broken off, but other wize it was fine. We had started the Day at around 8AM it was now well past 3PM. There was still a lot of daylight so maybe a fishing boat would spot us. We would be moving past a buff with many Ocean front homes so maybe someone in one of the homes would see us! maybe lifeguards or the coastguard were already looking for us,maybe. We were now about 3 miles south from where we had been Surfing.Drifting and paddling with the current toward another Reef Break.I originally didn't think we could make it in here, becuse of the massive Shore Pound. However this reef was closer to the Beach and the Shore Break did'nt seem to be able to gather as much energy here as it had up the coast. Maybe we wouldn't have to paddle all the way down to the Point Break. It took us some time to study The waves and plan our timing. Some of the waves could be ridden other were just closing out. Our arms by now were like limp noodles, our bodys were sunburned and sore all over.We were hungry and getting dehydrated. A misjudged wave could be a disaster.Getting to The Point might be safer, There would be other surfers there.Swamies Point could hold a vary large swell. But could we make it? It was still a long way and we had already had to scrambble for our lives over a couple of rouge waves.If One caught us it could also mean the end.
It was decided that we would take our chances here. I would be The first to give it a go this time. I moved into what I hoped would be a good position to catch a wave. No matter what when the right wave came I would have to commit to it 110%. Any hasitation on my part could mean a wipeout. I didn't have much left in me.If I didn't make this wave I was sure I would drowned. Two waves passed under me. The third looked about right. Digging deep with all my might I paddled hard. I felt the wave build under me.IMy speed matched the waves speed It Picked me up and then gravity and the waves energy took over.The drop was long, from the crest the Bottem looked like it was miles below me. This was a vary large wave!Here I was on a vary short surfboard not made for this large of a wave,in a vary big angry ocean on wave that held enough energy to power a small town for a day! I was feeling vary insignificant and vary scared. In surfing making That first drop is all important.I had to fight to keep my rail and fin in the water. The bottem turn was smooth,and powerful. I had made the drop! My fins set and I drove the Board forward digging the rail in and turning back up the face, tapping into the waves energy. Using that energy to propel me forward.One part of my brain wanted to start playing. Laying in big fat hard turns driving the board up to the lip, letting the lip push the nose over then free falling back down to lay in another big fat bottom turn.Really Going for it! The Other wizer part of my Brain said Just make it You fool! I surfed the wave in a vary conservative way. I got to the beach in time to turn and see Billy drop into a vary large Wave it was at least 3 times overhead his head.Unlike me he worked this Monster like he was playing on a 6 footer, driving and climbing up the face and dropping down again untill the wave was spent.The Sea had almost taken him and his proformance on that wave was like saying to the gods of the oceans you had your shot now watch this!
I don't think I have ever been as scared,or felt so alive as I did that day.In my heart of Hearts I never really thought we would die that day. We were young, strong, and years of surfing,diving and sailing had tought us how to handle ourselves in the Ocean. Like skilled backcountry skiers in a bad situtation we were confident in our skills and abilities. We knew that the odds were ever so slightly in our favor.Maybe it was just the courage of a young over confident man that wouldn't allow me to believe I would die. Sure the Ocean could have taken us that day, but not with out a fight. Billy and me had been in the water from early in the morning untill passed 5 Pm. It had been a vary long gruling day. It took me a few days to recover but then the swell was still running strong. Billy his room mate Richie and me packed our Boards and headed for a few epic days in Baja.
I use to have night mares about drowning.Yet I still went Surfing every chance I could.I loved surfing Yes more then i love to ski.If you get away from all the hype and B.S. Surfing like skiing is more about Man working with the forces of Nature then Man against Nature.
That day was the Begining of one of the largest and most massive swells to ever hit The So Calif Coast. It was back in 1974 The swell was genarated by a Powerful Storm in the deep south Pacific, close to New Zealand. It lasted for more then 30 days pounding the beaches from Baja to Santa Barbara. To this day Surfers still talk about the legandary New Zealand Swell. By the way Billy now works as a contractor and lives with his wife in Fla. He still surfs but now spends more time on his 36 foot sloop sailing.As for me I might still be in the water but an injury to my right shoulder make it vary painful for me to Paddle or swim for a long time.
geez slow day here at work,sorry for the long post.

[ May 16, 2002, 04:16 PM: Message edited by: Utah49 ]
post #11 of 37
Thread Starter 
Great story. Reminded me of a very frightening day at The Wedge when I was in H.S. Thanks, D. Good readin'.
post #12 of 37
Had to make a few edits Thank Bob for taking the time to read that overly long tail
post #13 of 37
Riding the Morgul Bismark, doing 6 laps (78 miles) with my friend the champion Triathlete.

It was hot as hell; somewhere in the nineties, hotter than that on the pavement.

Finishing up the second to last lap, I ran out of water. Figuring I was tough, I rode the rest of the lap and the last lap without any water.

First I got dizzy, than I started seeing things. It so was horrible, those last few miles. I really thought I was going to bonk off! Then, to make matters worse, when we finished, we still had to drive to get water!

It was truly, the Batan Death Ride.

Never had another day that bad since.
post #14 of 37
Thanks for the time and effort to write that post. It was like I was there. Glad you're still here. Surfing has been something I've wanted to try forever, I've bodysurfed and boarded but never had the opportunity to stand up yet, still hoping. Thanks for taking me away for a few minutes.
post #15 of 37
mine just happened today, when I read Gill's account of that horrifically hot ride.

I hate the heat.

I would have melted for sure.

SCSA, I suggest getting an aero model of Camelbak to supplement your water bottles on those long rides. I have a 50oz roadie Camelbak that I really like for longer rides.

JohnH, you are a man possessed. I would not, not in a million years, even think of doing 50 road miles on my first ride of the season.

The good news for me: On a tough mtn bike ride last night, I learned that I am in July form and it's only mid-May. Hoo-wee. It's going to be fun to ride that 34-lb Bullit on XC rides!

JohnH & Gill, I will be back in the DC area in the early fall. I will bring the Bullit, if you guys want to do that sort of ride. Otherwise I'll bring my sweet new Curtlo custom steel singlespeed. :
post #16 of 37
Wow Utah49 what a story. Glad you are here to share it!
post #17 of 37
Climbing Mt. Rainier, the Boston Marathon, and riding Seattle to Portland on a Schwinn 10 speed.
post #18 of 37
Thread Starter 
post #19 of 37
Originally posted by gonzostrike:

JohnH, you are a man possessed. I would not, not in a million years, even think of doing 50 road miles on my first ride of the season.
It's called "stupidity", or "lack of common sense". Nothing greater than that.

Originally posted by gonzostrike:

JohnH & Gill, I will be back in the DC area in the early fall. I will bring the Bullit, if you guys want to do that sort of ride. Otherwise I'll bring my sweet new Curtlo custom steel singlespeed. :
Bring the Bullit. And no more of this "I missed my filght. Whaaaaa" BS.

We could go to Fountainhead, Greenbriar, Avalon, etc.

PS, Gonz, I'm about to send you a PM about roadie equipment.....
post #20 of 37
ryan, it was. The bike was a Schwinn Le Tour and on that ride I learned the true meaning of the term "numb nuts."
post #21 of 37
Thanks Utah 49; It's been a while since I checked in and what a great story to come back to! There's a lot of old surfers up here in these hills. Maybe someday we can organize a Bears summer trip to this great place I know in sunny old Mexico where you can surf a perfect left that's so long you kick out just to spare the paddle back; then eat a big breakfast at this little adobie kitchen on the beach where the Seniora and her pretty daughters cook up hweavos mehicanos on a wood fired stove.
post #22 of 37
Yeap a lot of Surfers living here in the 2nd driest state in the Nation.(and I'm not talking about the Liquor laws). So ya wanta to start the Wasatch Surf Club or what? A Left hand point in Mexico? Sounds good to me. I know a place on the baja just North of Cabo on the Pacific coast side. A left reef/point with a nice right sand point just down the beach that reminded me of Lower Trestles. I never surfed it big but it looks like it could hold a big swell.
post #23 of 37
We will do this. life is short and Mexico's close.No trip this year as I'm having another baby {by proxy} and saving for a new house. But soon; My wife and I did six trips the first year we were married. I usually do at least one trip a year with the guys to Mexico. A Wasatch surf club is neccissary; but I'm definately a blue cruiser longboarder and will not be surfing Tavarua anytime soon; here's my faverate joint; Playa Kandahar Real laid back, great waves, good company.Lot's of breaks acessable only by boat.Uncrowded. Did I say this was in Mexico? it's in Chile.Or was that Tortolla...
post #24 of 37
So; here's a "most grueling" or one of 'em.
was surfing out at Montauk, Long Island, my old home break, in a solid hurricane swell that lasted a week.Not huge, head high, overhead some days, punchy and clean. Great for the Atlantic.

The Gulf Stream must have pulled up some nasty jellyfish, maybe a man-o-war and I got a tentacle wraped around my arm. It burned a stripe into my skin like a bullwhip that wrapped around and just hurt like screaming blazes. I went surfing every day and the salt water and adrenalin seemed to help, but every night it got worse and deeper; a toxin eating into my skin. I slathered it with Aloe and everything else I could think of but it kept burning away all that week until it was spent. Left a deep scar and I later learned that Adolf's meat tenderizer is the antidote. Or peeing on it.Thought that was hookum but it 's not.

Flash forward a couple years; I'm at San Hose del Cabo surfing Old Man's. My wife Ruth is on the beach. She never used to paddle out; was afraid of sharks. So I signed her up with one of these surf camps and the Kamakaze instructor took her out on a solid 8" day and she took off on her first wave,got worked, bounced off the bottom,puked underwater and got caught inside. She's no longer afraid of sharks.. but I digress.

Anyway I paddle through some kind of chopped up jellyfish and think nothing of it.. normal jellyfish sting for a minute and that's it. When I got out of the water my arm still stings a little. We load the gear into our rented new-classic VW bus and drive back to the hotel. My arm starts to sting: a lot. Ruth drives faster. Arm burns. We get to the hotel and I pee in a cup and pour it over my arm. Nothing. Ruth pees in a cup and we pour it on my arm..stinging is instantly neutralized.. on half my arm. We need more pee; I whip open the frige and grab a cervesa; drink this quick!. c'mon hurry...
It all ended well and I still have my arm. Must be the estrogen in the pee...
post #25 of 37
JohnH - Sorry I missed the ride. I would have been up for it if I'd seen the post earlier. D'oh! I'll probably send out an email today to the usual suspects for a post work ride on Thursday.

Gonz - Bring the Bullit. I just did a ride yesterday that would be PERFECT for a Bullit! Rode for 5.5 hours up at Elizabeth Furnace. LOTS or climbing, but also tons of downhills, including a 4 mile swoopy, smooth with just enough rock gardens to keep you honest, blast of a downhill. All of this loveliness is only about an hour drive from Northern VA.
post #26 of 37
Hey Rubob,
Kandahar sounds great! I saw a web sight devoted to surfing mexico and they had a lot of good things to say about Kandahar.I'm going to start a surfing thread so we don't stray to far off topic on Ryans thread.
post #27 of 37
Thread Starter 
stray away, homey.
post #28 of 37
I had a great round going at the golf course once. I was cruising into the 13th at -2 with two par 5's still ahead and only 1 long par 4. The John Tesch compilation was cranking out of the hi-fi in the cart, so I was getting pretty amped.

I stepped onto the tee and prepared to set up a sweet right-to-left, as this hole dogged a bit to port. A shiny little breeze was in my face, so I decided to give her a little extra effort. The Titanium face of my 10-degree glinted in the sun as I reached back for a big snap. The TT-Lite bowed perfectly at the top, my wrists were poised to fly havoc, and my turn was right on time. The Warbird resounded with a lovely little "ting!" as I mashed a 90-compression Titleist directly into outer space. There's nothing quite like the feeling you get when to drive all the way to the dance floor on a dogged par 4.

The "grueling" part of this story? I bogeyed that hole with a 4-jacker on the green. I then proceeded to bogey or double-B every hole after that... I finished a tournament round at +7 after being two down after 12. Maybe not the most PHYSICALLY exhausting thing I've ever done, but definitely the most enraging. (I did feel a little tired when it was all said and done)

I do believe the beer consumption marathon after the tournament may have been the ultimate test of my physical capability.

I need to take up surfing so I have some COOL stories to tell.

Spag :
post #29 of 37
Thread Starter 
once, in frustration, i picked up the ball i was playing with, 'cause i knew my short game sucked, and no one was looking and THREW the ball onto the green.

all: "helluva shot, ryan! whadja use, a nine iron?"

ryan: "yeah, yeah, heh heh, that's it, a nine iron. yeah."



John Tesch? Now THAT is grueling.

[ May 23, 2002, 04:09 PM: Message edited by: ryan ]
post #30 of 37
When i was 15 years old, i was camping with family in the french alps during the summer vacation. I and an uncle of mine got the great idea to make the famous climb from the valley to the famous skitown Alp'd Huez on mountainbike. Almost every year this climb is the last climb in one of the gruelling mountain stages of the tour the france. It's 14 km long with a heightdiffence of 1100 m (3600 feet) and 21 hairpin turns. It's tarmac al the way so using a heavy mountainbike is a bit overkill. A light racebike would be better. Early in the morning we rode the 15 km from the campsite to the base of the hill. It was hot as hell. We rested for 5 minutes and there i made my fist mistake, while resting i drunk about a liter of ice cold mineral water (straight out of the fridge) at once (i was young and stupid [img]smile.gif[/img] ). The water didn't agree with me and i had to sit down for a few minutes. After this fun experience we were ready to start the climb. We had 18 gears on our mountainbikes. I started in third gear but after 500m we were both in the lowest gear (the climb is quite steep). Suffice to say that progress was slow. We were overtaken by so many roadcyclist on racebikes that i stopped counting. We rode al morning without stopping and eventually got to the last few km. The rest of the family had driven up the mountain by car.They were taking pictures and sheering us on. My uncle and i were exhausted but we couldn't stop so near to the goal. I had a few reserves left so i rode in front of my uncle. The last km i had to stop 3 or 4 times and rest for a few seconds to get the lactic acid out of my legs. So we got to the top but just barely. I found new respect for the pro cyclist in the tour the france, who when they arrive a the bottom of the climb to Alp d'huez have already ridden some 250 km and climbed at least 2 or 3 mountains similar to or more difficult than Alp d'huez.
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