The Ride Continues

For all that I learned about eating right while your ride over the last two training seasons, I learned a lot more between rest stops two and three. Its weird how you can actually feel your energy levels ebb and flow the longer you are on a bike. Somewhere around mile 45 or so, I started to feel…off. I wasn’t bonking yet, but I knew that if I didn’t eat something soon that I wasn’t going to finish this ride. It was the middle of a rolling climb, so I fought for the top before pulling over.

I inhaled a few shot bloks, chugged some sport drink, and climbed back in the saddle. The weather had cleared up entirely, fog giving way to 70 something temperatures and not a cloud in the sky. I shed a couple layers of clothing (stuffed conveniently into back pockets. Why don’t normal clothes have pouches?), pedaled easy for 10 minutes or so, and was feeling good as new in no time. There really is something to this eating thing (apparently)!

The next 10-12 miles were straight into a headwind, but I felt great. Where I’d been lagging a bit before, I was now able to take my pulls on the paceline like it was nothing despite the nasty wind gusts. If anything, I was having to hold back to keep from taking off and gapping the line when it was my turn! The road condition worsened and my arm started to ache (let’s not even mention the annoying bike squeak), but overall the ride could not have been better.

Well.. all things in moderation or… all good things must come to an end. Pick your catchy saying. You knew this was coming, right? About 3 miles before rest stop three, my energy level was just gone again. I’m not sure if it was the wind, the sun, or some combination of the two (or possibly my overly enthusiastic attitude) but I went from feeling great to convinced I was going to faint in a matter of minutes. The thought of seeing Charles at the next stop really kept me going. How disappointed would he be if he waited for hours at that stop, only to find I’d been SAG’d out (or even just waylaid for awhile) just a few miles away? It simply wouldn’t do. So, I reigned in my pace, was thankful when other teammates did the same, and managed to hit the rest stop without collapsing.

Rest stop three was chaos. I managed to find a spot to lay my bike down (which was a challenge, despite the giant airport hotel parking lot) and stumbled exhaustedly to the food tents. There I was greeted with possibly the longest line I have ever seen (that wasn’t for a new gaming console in front of a Best Buy – people like their Wiis). Who’s bright idea was it to make a line anyway? The random elbowing and crowding had worked fine up to this point. As luck would have it, just as I thought I’d faint before actually getting any food, a girl carrying an enormous tray of PBJs and bananas walked by. Apparently the ride volunteers also realized that it was only a matter of time before a line that long led to riots! I snagged half a sandwich (which I never do), scarfed it down instantly, and stole two banana halves before heading back to the group. I was hungry!

Sometime during the frenzied inhalation of shot bloks, I realized that I hadn’t yet found Charles. I’d scoped out the obvious locations – potties, food line, TNT SAG crew – and he was nowhere to be seen. I wrestled my iPhone out of the Camelback only to discover that he had somehow lost his car keys in the hotel room, and would take a cab to meet me at the finish line. Bummer! I was so counting on seeing him to give me that additional motivation to finish out…guess that was going to have to come from me or something now. So sad! I continued stuffing my face for a full 10 minutes or so, took a few pictures, and even saved a cyclists life (by offering up an extra pouch of my borrowed Cytomax) before the team was ready to roll again. To be honest, I still wasn’t feeling that hot coming out of stop three. I no longer felt like I’d actually faint at any moment, but devouring that much food and chugging all that water in such a short time span left me nauseous at best. Lucky for me (although possibly unlucky for them), several teammates were also starting to show some wear around the edges – so we set a pretty tame pace for the next few miles.

Somewhere after that rest stop, Ron and I split off from the group. The hills weren’t treating me well and I didn’t want to hold up my team while I spun it out (and waited for the nausea to pass). Entertainingly enough, he and I rolled passed Devan and crew a couple miles down the road; they’d gotten a flat and were changing it out on the side of the road. That was the last time we’d spot Team Wolverine for the rest of the ride. A little more climbing and whatnot and we were the next break point. With only two people to keep track of, rest stop four was pretty short. I pulled off my shoes and massaged feeling back into my toes – I’m a horrible toe pointer – while the cutest kid I’ve ever seen offered to fill my water bottles. He could not have been more than… (I’m actually quite bad at ages), but he handled those Crystal Springs jug like a pro!

Ron and I picked up a nice tailwind coming through a 20ish mile flat span in Foxen Canyon which sped my recovery quickly. In no time at all we were flying passed cyclists, part of the time with Ron pushing the two of us faster than most singles could go! Ron and I hit Solvang’s answer to Altamont (you remember…short, steep and dirty) at the end of that nice flat stretch, and struggled up mightily. I would definitely classify that particular hill as a “gut popper”. We did make the top in the saddle and were rewarded with an absolutely fantastic descent. I stood a little to relieve the saddle-sore (hey man, we were over 70 miles in at this point!), and enjoyed the cool rush of wind. You seriously couldn’t find a cloud, and last temperature check was over 80 degrees! In March! (So much for that rumored hail, right?)


1 Response to “The Ride Continues”

  1. 1 MCSE Training October 26, 2008 at 8:28 pm

    well this is going to be such a huge thing

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What do we have here?

An often sarcastic, occasionally humorous journal of my training adventures in preparation for the Livestrong century ride. I took up cycling back in '07 in hopes of meeting new people, and, with the help of Team in Training, making my small positive difference in the world -- and haven't stopped spinning since. Follow along as my Trek road bike and I try and hash out our differences, hopefully with me upright and in the saddle.

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