It is rare for me to give up on something, especially when it comes to the bike. Today’s ride was different.I set out to do a ride of 67 miles (metric century) an out and back that is basically up hill the whole way out.
I knew with a forecast of 90 today it would be difficult. but I figured it would help with my ride next Saturday over the Mt. Bachelor loop. a long constant climb at altitude from 3800 feet to about 6000 feet. Its a ride Chris Horner uses to train, have his fondo, and they also have pro races there, so I needed to do something to get ready this ride all climbing seemed fitting.
Why didnt I leave at 9 am instead of 12:00 PM? because I had to help my kids Soccer team get their fields ready.
SO I had a reasonable lunch and I was off.
I set a PB on the first 7 miles, and I wasnt going out of my way to do that. the first 12 miles was fine till I got the dreaded DETOUR sign. Great. The sign on the road of the detour said this road is being “donated” by Wherhauser the lumber company. 6 miles of 90 percent gravel, 10 percent pavement and scraped something or other that seemed like a river bed rocks with the tops sanded off, laid in concrete of something like it.
Paris Roubaix anyone? I was thinking this would be great training for the flatter sections of Leadville. I was able to make this section averaging about 18 mph even with my 23 c road tires. I was thinking after the big climb I should let a bit of air out to soften the ride. Got thru that and blazed up the big climb at 17.5 mph. Its a sweet climb 13 miles up mostly between 1-3 percent, a couple down hills and a couple 7-8 percent sections just to keep things interesting. Last year I rode this without the 20 mile warm up and only managed 16.9 miles per hour for the up and back, so this was a great feeling to post these numbers.
I came back down the 13 miles at 21.5 mph with a slight head wind coming up the canyon its what I could get. all pretty good. Drinking lots of water, eating a bit of food at the 4 stops so far,
and back to Paris Roubaix part duex. didnt change the tire pressure. I made it up right? well at about mile three I hot some washboard at about 18 mph and I could feel it smacking the tire pretty good. then that dreaded sound… Gunshot? Nope. time to come to an easy stop. get all the necessary items out. pull the tire and sure enough snakebite…. slap in the new tube I ALWAYS carry pump up as best as I can with my pump (maybe 80 psi) let a bit out of the back and back on my way. everything is fine in fact the steering got better with less pressure, Duh… then as I round the last corner, I can hear the model airplane flyers so I know im done with this terrible road I can see the pavement and Boom, another flat. front again. really. I walk over the where the flyers were pull everything out again and of course this time Im patching as I only carry one new tube, last flat was 5000 miles ago. Get it all ready and Im back on the road. ive got about 15 miles to go, about 51 in the books.
By now Im really feeling the heat, the muscle tension of the roubaix and I know that if I plan to finish I need to take it easy and take at least 2 more breaks. Stopped at a park 4 more miles used the RR, washed off some sweat, had a bit more cliff bar (tasted not very good like a floury past that was not easy to swallow) and back out. the next 5 miles I was able to ride easy and still about 20 mph. one last stop at 7 miles to go. stopped for a minute in the shade. just feeling hot heated and like I had no energy. In the next mile are some good rollers(any other time) and I noticed my HR was really starting to spike and was moving up and down between 170 and 190. previously my highest HR that was not an anomaly was 184. this was not like that after the rollers on the flat I was really seeing the HR jump around and be much higher than it should be for the terrain. I started to get a bit worried. Ive heard of folks getting to the end of a big ride and crashing from exhaustion. I wasnt there yet but I could feel it was a real possibility. My heart didnt feel like it was pounding hard, just fast and eratic. I was tempted to check my Iphone for the temperature, but figured that would not be useful at this stage in the game. with 5 miles left 3 miles short of the Metric century I decided I should be done. I didnt want to be, but figured if I tried to press on it COULD be bad on many levels. I pulled to the side in the shade again, got out the cell phone and Called my Wife. She was out and about today so I asked where she was. “Home” was the response. I asked if she could come and get me. of course she said yes. I gave her my location and the wait was on.
I went across the street and sat in the shade on the grass of a farm called grassy acres. the frontage was grassy, that was enough for me. I sat on the grass poured water on my head, shoulders etc. to help cool me down. I drank from my still cold from the ice Camelback. I checked the Iphone temperature, 90 degrees. not oppressive but enough after being in it for going on 5 hours. in the 10 minutes or so that I waited the HR never went below 105, much of the time at 110. this confirmed that I had certainly made the right choice.
they showed up, loaded the bike in the back of the suburban, and was on the way home. once home I was still felling off. I took a cool bath, about 80 degrees I would guess. just lounged in the tub for 20 minutes. after the bath my HR had gone to about 84. confirmed by pulse and HR monitor. I drank 2 large glasses of 50/50 margarita mix and water on ice. this helped immensely. and at 7 pm I was finally able to eat some food that tasted like food. Had a mixed green salad with chicken breast on top. yummy good.
its now 8:20 and I feel WAY WAY better.
In the car I felt like I quit, like a quitter. like a Cavendish on a hard climb in the Vuelta. (sorry Cav, you rock really) but I wasnt A quitter, I made a smart rational decision before I got stupid and irrational.
Overall this was a great epic adventure. I just didnt find the grail.
Hopefully Mt. Bachelor will be the one next weekend.
Ride on, ride safe, Stop when the time is Right.