Happy Sunday morning, yesterday I decided to ride 50 miles on my bike as soon as the sun came up. In less than 29 days I will be joining some co-workers and hundreds of others on my first 100 mile (Century) bike ride so I needed to do some prep work.
I have been riding on average about 15 miles a day after work and maybe 20 miles on weekends. I have been reading a lot and watching youtube videos just to gather as much info as I can.
Talk around my office from guys who have done the Century to those of us that are novices started to have my head spinning with all the things that could go wrong. I needed some first hand experience so I chose to get up Saturday morning early and take off when the sun came up.
Breakfast: scrambled eggs and a bowl of Markie porridge (see earlier post for recipe) and two cups of coffee.
I knew right away that I did not prepare anything to take with me outside of water but I gambled my big breakfast would get me through. ( I know, I know)
I took off and it was cool and dark with mist floating off the grass on my much beloved Grant’s trail (see post I wrote about this wonderful trail).
A few words about my choice of bike: I ride a Trek 7.0 fitness hybrid which is somewhere between the toughness of a mountain bike and the speed of a road bike. This bike is on the low end price wise of Trek bikes but is well made and fits my budget. You can easily spend a small fortune on your ride and to me your the biggest factor on how well your ride will go.
So back to the actual ride, my bike computer flashes my speed, miles and average speed as well as top speed. This becomes your constant companion and keeps you honest.
I brought along an MP3 player and decided to turn it on after the 25 mile mark to see if it made a difference.
The trail I ride is 8 miles long and I know every bit of it very well, heading in one direction is a slow climb (nearest my home) and the return trip starts off with a very happy down hill run.
The trail was all but empty with the exception of a few serious runners and hardcore road bike riders who would dart pass me like I was standing still. The miles start to click pass and I worked out little mental plans such as at the 5 mile mark I was now only on a 45 mile ride, now only 33 miles etc..The trail soon started to come to life with folks walking dogs, power walkers, tons of runners and fellow bike riders. People of every age where out there and lots of head nods and smiles from people along the way.
I reached the 25 mile mark and turned on my tunes, the next 10 miles flew by without much notice as I enjoyed my music (and I was on the return trip heading downhill) as I was heading back and the slow climb returned I found my first problem. My legs started to cramp and I knew I was sweating out my electrolytes and had nothing other than water to replace them. I managed to keep my pace over 13 mph but I was pumping my legs on just muscle memory.
On the start of the return trip I would stop for a bathroom break or to stretch my legs and dump water over my head. The temperature along with the Sun were also starting to add to my problems.
So now I only have about 15 miles to go and I have to go up hill and then return and at this point I would beg for a banana or an energy bar. I screwed up and my body was letting me know in a very big way.
The worst section of the hill reminded me of the desert scene in Lawrence of Arabia, and I really wanted to just quit. I was pissed off at myself for knowing better and not doing the basic right thing. I passed a man who was walking his dog and like a good dog owner he was holding a plastic bag with proof that he cleaned up after his pet. The site of it suddenly turned my stomach and I could not shake the image.
I looked at my pace and I riding 15 mph hour but I thought I was standing still, this blew me away I was riding on cruise control . I took the last of my water and took a gulp and then poured the rest over myself and headed home. I new I was in trouble so I rode past my exit just long enough so I would hit the 50 mile mark and turn around .
So now its Sunday morning and what did I learn?
Pack for your ride: tools, spare tube.
Bring some type of fuel for your energy
The best thing was in spite of my poor decision to not take some fuel with me, I really had a great time, my body this morning feels amazing. I have the joy of accomplishment along with the knowledge of what I will do with the Century ride coming up in a few weeks.
Peace and Love