From the “GO!” I grabbed Jeff’s wheel and didn’t let go until 50 minutes in when he said “Don’t forget to eat and drink!” I had done neither up to that point. I was so intent on watching his wheel, choosing the least painful line that I had neglected the basics…and I was feeling a fever setting in. I had been blowing so much snot out of my nose one rider though I squirted a water bottle at him. Not a great start. I grabbed a GU Gel, tore open the top with my teeth and….hit a bunch of “bounce you off your seat” bumps. Gel squeezed all over my fingers and hand and not in my mouth. With a sticky mess of a hand I grabbed my water bottle and up in the air it went…onto the road on a descent. Crap. Stop. Walk back for bottle. Grab my bars with my velcro sticky hand and go catch Jeff again. Not a great start.
Honestly, the majority of the first 55 miles involved me grinding as hard as my legs and lungs would allow me. My friend Shawn joined us and the three amigos charged toward the halfway checkpoint. The route was a great route. I can’t complain. It’s tough. It’s rough. Your body hurts from all the shots. Carbon fork, steel fork, fancy road rear suspension, front suspension, it doesn’t matter…it’s gonna wear you down. Better riders than I succumbed to cramps that first 55 miles. Did I mention it was the first hot ride of the year? Yeah. That helped the day. About mile 40 I felt the first cramp tweaking. Not bad. Just a needle here and there. I’ve been here in the past and road through them.
Halfway Checkpoint went without a hitch. Few minutes. Pretty fast. Maybe too fast but maybe not. My legs were starting to cramp harder so needed to get going. The second 50 miles was just a head down crampfest for me. You ever have those “full leg” cramps that lift you out of your seat and make you do a grunt? Yeah. Pretty much 4 hours of those. My two friends wouldn’t leave me and made me fight to the finish. I just could not shake the mental frustration and get myself mentally right. I finished…but it was painful and ugly. Evaluating my second half I hydrated well going through about 5 bottles but I ate a total of TWO Gu Gels. That’s it. My fault. My bad.
The day was humbling. The day though was not a waste. I relearned the importance of riding under control. You can push in an endurance event BUT if you do, you better be on top of your game with nutrition, with fluids, with breathing and mentally. If you do feel yourself getting behind…stop. Take a deep breathe, literally, and get yourself right. 100 miles is a LONG day otherwise.
Thanks Ryan for capturing my day.
Good things that happened? Heck yeah! I strengthened a cycling bond with two friends. I saw some beautiful country. I got to ride a bike for 8 hours in near perfect weather. I got to make some new friends out on the ride including a rider named Kyle. I wish I had been in a more friendly mood to chat and hang with him for a bit more. I rode into a community of riders and friends at the Finish ready to help me away from my bike and get me what I needed to feel better.