I thought it would be only slightly more difficult than last week's 50 mile ride.
The first 40 miles were fine. Nat, Jamie Corn and I chatted and waved to the other bikers and had a lovely ride. We even saw Kindzia and the lovely Angela down by the river. We even made fun of Natalie because she doesn't like to fuel. Insert foreboding music here.
Hey - did you know that Angela sells marathon and IM finish framing - check out her site here. It was a beautiful day and we all had a great time. After kicking my ass on the climb up from the river, Jamie peeled off to go up Lake Charles instead of down the big hill on Pine Grove (she is tougher than Nat and me). Nat and I made it down the hill and up Shallowford with only a minor stop because Nat's phone jumped out of her bento box and across the road. Nat veered off towards her folks' house at Jones and I headed back down to the river to get my remaining 20 miles, stopping at the park to refill my water/Accelerade bottles.
Here is where the story goes awry. I was OK on fuel, only a little behind on my Accelerade. I had eaten 1 Gu per hour for three hours (plain, expresso love and vanilla), so that was fine. But it was HOT and my mind got a little fried on the Coleman Road rollers. I coasted down to Inverness for my turnaround and had convinced myself that there was no need to eat another Gu. Because I was at 3 hrs 45 minutes and only had 10 miles to go. I even texted Doug at the turnaround that I would be home in approximately 30 minutes.
People, to go 10 miles in 30 minutes, I would need to ride 20 miles an hour. I don't ride 20 miles an hour. Not even in a race. And, the 10 miles I had to go was uphill - because the river is the lowest point in town.
Nevertheless, I convinced myself that it was silly to have a Gu at the turnaround because it wouldn't "hit" until I was home anyway. That would have been true IF I'd been riding at the aforementioned 20 miles per hour. But alas, I was not.
I started to realize the fuel/Gu problem as I plodded (if you can plod on a bike) up Wileo. However, did I mention it was hot? Blazing hot? Know what happens when it is hot? Your heartrate increases. With an increased heartrate, digestion slows or stops. So, with the increased heartrate, my Accelerade and water were not digesting and were instead threatening to reappear at any moment to paint my handlebars. So there was no way I could eat my Gu. I had Gus in my pocket, plenty of them (because I've made the mistake of not bringing extra before), but my tummy was emphatically opposed to any more admissions.
So, I suffered. And thanked my stars that you can coast on a bike. I hoped against hope that I would have only 3 miles to go at the top of Shallowford so that I wouldn't need to go down Stroup Road. No dice. I needed 4.5 miles. BIG sigh.
Good thing that all of the ride after Stroup is in neighborhoods because I wasn't in any shape to ride on the road with cars. Loopy! I hit upon the genius idea to use my water bottle to sprinkle myself to cool off. That helped a lot. And, luckily, the light at 92 took a ridiculously long time so that I could rest a little and get some more Accelerade in me. I made it, though, and learned (or re-learned) some good lessons for the next ride.
- I don't have enough bike fitness to bust out a 60 mile ride on any given day yet.
- 1 Gu per hour, no excuses
- Do not get behind on Accelerade
- I don't ride 20 mph
The neat thing about endurance sports is that there are so many variables. It's not necessarily about who is the fastest, but who is the fastest without making stupid mistakes. And that is hard! Even the pros barf sometimes in a race because they've made a fueling or exertion error. So, next week I'll try to do a better job because Doug and I are riding in the West Georgia 100. Look out!
And, eventually, I'll be able to bust out a 60 mile ride without blinking an eye. Just not yet.