It was one of those mornings. The radar showed the rain was done till at least noon, maybe even one. The rain ended at a quarter to five, so the roads were wet and we were set to ride at 8:30. In these situations you hope the roads will dry but you know better… and thus, my conundrum. To ride on the trainer or outdoors and surely muck up my just repainted and renewed 5200?
Mrs. Bgddy was going to ride as well but there were a few problems. First, Dave and his wife were going to ride which means a minimum of a 20 mph average. On wet, dirty roads. She was going to have to bring her good bike if she had any hope of keeping up. Second, my wife struggles mentally under adverse conditions (don’t we all). Third, my wife’s level of cycling idiocy is nowhere near my own. She’s far more intelligent than I.
So I talked her out of riding outside. This was, to be fair and honest, a little bit selfish. I knew I was in the best shape I’ve ever been in for the last day of January. We’ve been able to ride a lot more than is usual for this time of year and I’ve been faithful to the trainer. My wife, on the other hand, hasn’t been as diligent. Please don’t get the idea that I’m disparaging my wife’s effort, this is not the case. I’m simply stating the real fact that I’ve been working harder. My wife is an intelligent being, I’m a cycling being.
We took a few extra minutes getting ready once we all showed up and rather than 8:30, we rolled out on the damp tarmac at 8:38. Right out of the gate, I was feeling pretty good. The pace was manageable and riding with the big dogs came back pretty quick. The first five miles went by in a flash, though we passed Greg who was sitting by the side of the road to let us know he’d have to cut out early because of a massively blown front tire. That’s good for my friends and I, Greg is always in shape and a massive hammer.
Heading into our first town we were cruising down a long but shallow hill at about 22 mph and I was going to take a town sign. Most of my friends know I can lay down some decent power but I can’t sustain that for very long so they have a tendency to let me go rather than chase if I roll early… Not only that, some of the guys we were with were legit racers and they don’t take kindly to a fella like me challenging them like that. I figured if there was any way I was going to collect a sign, it was going to have to be an early, surprise attack. Only Dave and his wife on their tandem gave chase but they were a couple of lengths back when I crossed the town line.
And that’s when the trouble started. It took me four miles to recover from that sprint – it should have taken one. I ended up holding on, still taking my turns up front, for another 11 miles but I got spit off the back climbing a 1.2 mile-long hill at 18 mph (the first part of which, I pulled for). My legs started cramping up in the last little bit before we crested. I knew I was in big trouble at that point.
That said, I knew the way home so I wasn’t worried about it. I figured I could plod along at 18 mph and I’d get to the parking lot in a little more than an hour, so I did just that. Spinning easier helped with my legs quite a bit but I still struggled on every hill I came to. After only three miles on my own my buddy, Mike came back to get me… turned out he got spit off the back a while earlier and was tired of the effort so we rode together. Three miles up the road the entire pack was on the side of the road while one of the guys fixed a flat so we rode up a little bit to get out of the gully and find some shelter from the wind while we waited for the rest of the group… I managed to stay with the group for another six miles before my legs started cramping up again. I caught up to Mike a couple of miles later and we finished the ride with me hanging onto his wheel. My legs were torched – and I still had my bowling league night to look forward to. I guessed I would not be a help to the team. I took two of the best naps of my entire adult life yesterday. Fifteen to twenty minutes each, but I slept.
In the end, I’m chalking this one up to hydration. I wrote a pretty glowing review of Hydrus Performance Hydration Concentrate. While the stuff is more than adequate for easy efforts, I’ve learned that the company that markets it has refrained from the cycling community… I believe, after yesterday’s experience, that it’s just not enough for extended physical exertion. I need something with some easy calories and a little kick to it, and Hydrus has neither. I’ll be switching back to Hammer’s Perpetuem for longer rides and Heed for the short stuff, immediately if not sooner.
Now, remember those photos of my nice, clean, newly painted bike? Well, before I headed out for bowling, I had to deal with this:
Fortunately, with a good bucket of warm, soapy water, a couple of brushes and a sponge, it only took about 30 minutes to get it looking like this:
The naps made a big difference bowling last night. While I felt my energy drain in the second game, I came back with a strong third… 191, 161, 229 for a 581 actual. Not bad, with the exception of that second game.