I drive a 2002 Ford Escape XLT 4×4. I love that truck. I love it so much that I put a new motor in it after I killed the first one (200,000 miles on a 4-cylinder in a big vehicle is pretty good). It has everything that I need and can get me back into the gnarliest brush to hunt in happy solitude. It gets almost 30 miles per gallon and it runs like a top.
Unfortunately, it’s also got a manual transmission – a stick shift. Now everyone knows that only real drivers truly know how to drive (and enjoy) a manual (snicker 😉 )… I loved the better, more responsive power in my truck – until yesterday. Even though I drank more than the recommended amount of water/Gatorade for a century (240 oz recommended, 280 consumed), I was still a little dehydrated when I pulled in. Not horribly, but noticeably.
I didn’t realize how bad off I was until I tried to get into my truck. First my hips locked up in a cramp, then my calf muscles – and therein lies a very big problem when driving a vehicle with a manual transmission.
Now, if you’re one of those people who despise fast food, please look away – the rest of this post will upset your sensibilities.
You’ve been fairly warned.
I knew my problem wasn’t fluid – I drank another 60 fluid ounces of water after getting to the car. The problem was a lack of salt and electrolytes… What’s a huge source of salt after you’ve burned almost 2 pounds worth of calories? A Double Quarter Pounder, medium fries and a Coke. I hate McDonald’s burgers nowadays but I needed some food, and fast, so I bit the bullet.
Halfway through the cramping subsided. It wasn’t a pretty solution, but it was easy and it worked. Unlike some, whose bodies don’t do well on fast food, I am not so afflicted. I can stomach a little junk and still feel fine…and it was sure nice to get rid of the cramps. I had a sensible, if huge, dinner four hours later.
This morning I’m still feeling it a little bit, but I’ll head out for a slow recovery ride to work out the cobwebs before my youngest daughter’s and nephew’s birthday celebrations begin.
I am a little surprised at feeling this one at all – there was a lot more climbing yesterday, but I recovered from my first 90 mile ride within 12 hours and I wasn’t near as tight the next day.
That will be something to contemplate over the next couple of days.
My day started in a flurry of activity at 4:30 this morning. I had everything prepped last night before turning in – bike in perfect working order. Shoes, clothes and equipment bag all laid out. On-board food packed, camelbak out and ready to be filled (I did go that route and was thankful I did). Manscaping was done last night, I had everything done to a point that all I had to do was load the car before I left. I do not do well if I have to rush the day of to get things sorted – it almost always precedes a bonk on the course.
On waking I immediately got the coffee going and started with breakfast – an oversized bowl of raisin and whole grain cereal and a banana. Two cups of coffee later and I was in the shower – note to self… Don’t ever try to get into Lycra cycling shorts immediately after a shower. Good God, I almost fell over twice. After loading my stuff I was out the door.
I parked about 3/4 of a mile from the start so I could get a bit of a warmup in. A couple spins around the block and I signed my if I get killed it’s not your fault waiver, drank a Gatorade Prime (I love that stuff) and waited for the start.
I started toward the front, but not close enough. As with running races for some stupid reason the lollygaggers love to clog the front. I spent 5 minutes on the first mile trying to get around them. After that it was Katie bar the door. I spent the next ten miles looking for a group to latch on to before finding the ultimate pace-line… Three strong TT bikers and a couple of road bikers. I latched on with them for the next forty miles, the didn’t give up the lead once…and I didn’t complain. We blew right by the first rest stop (thank God I had the Camelbak). They kept a perfect pace and by the time we hit the second at mile 50, we were on pace for a 4-1/2 hour finish! We stopped and topped off the H2O bottles and I had a banana and some extreme Cherry energy beans – and sat in the shade for a minute as the temperature was getting ridiculous.
Unfortunately that was the end of our pace-line too. Some of the guys had wiped themselves out with the pace and were sticking around the water cooler extra long, a few stopped just to top off their bottles. I ended up heading out with several of the guys from the club I belong to who had arrived just after we did – all of whom I rode with on the 4th of July 80.
They started out great, for the first five, before they put the hammer down. I was tired enough, I wasn’t about to kill myself with 40-some miles to go so I dropped back to hang with another guy that had dropped just before me. We took turns pulling at a decent, if slower pace for the next 25 miles until he blew up just after a rest/water/pizza stop. I rode solo from there.
At mile 78 the climbing really ramped up. It was brutal to say the least. I could feel little mini-cramps in my thighs with every pedal stroke up the brazillion hills, some up to 15%, but I motored on, intent on beating my goal.
It was in the mid 90’s by then and I was really hurting from the pace of the first 50. I pulled up on the final rest stop in mile 90 to a sign that read 7.8 to go. I stopped just long enough to top off my bottles, eat a final bag of beans and I was gone… One more pain in the ass of a climb followed by a 36 mph descent and only two miles left. I thought about sitting up and cruising but opted to push for my best time possible. I crossed the line spent at 5h:12m:25s.
I was a little disappointed in the second half time of just under 3 hours considering the first half 2:15, but hey, I didn’t have a train to draft behind on the last half.
I topped of a bottle quickly and rode back to my truck, tired but incredibly satisfied I’d got ‘er done.