Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Monster Ride Day Part Deux

So... to recap, I'm on my long-awaited 8 hr ride trip and I'm 3.5 hrs into it, around 60+ miles. I'm heading east on Valley Parkway and about to embark on the unfamiliar territory. 

I descend a fun hill to find that the road intersects another and I must choose left or right. I take a moment to pull out my iphone and use the GPS, which directs me to go right. More descent and a few minutes later I'm at a 4 way intersection. Straight ahead it says it's some trailhead for the Towpath. The road ends in a parking lot and there is a train station. I'm familiar with the train, it's the same one that goes through CVNP and Peninsula - the one that blasts it's horn and scares the snot out of my children. I doubt that's the way ... again, back to the GPS, and it turns out it IS the way I want to go, only I'll be following the Towpath.  I head out and find several places where I must decide to go left or right or straight. Continuing to check the iphone GPS I think I've got it figured out.  10 minutes into the ride I check again and whoa, not the route I'm supposed to be on! Do I  backtrack? Do I forge ahead? I just want OUT of here. GPS gives me the option to go "a short distance" on a path to the left, which should - SHOULD - take me out of this forest.  I'm feeling like I'm not in Ohio anymore ... it feels like West Virginia. I think I hear banjos!  I'm sure I'm in the middle of a Deliverance experience. I just want A ROAD! I just want OUT!  I go left and - holy crap - it's a MAJOR mountain I'm climbing! Just dirt path. I can barely even walk up this path ... it's clear I'm climbing out of the CNVP.  Where will I end up??  Is this a HUGE mistake? How come I can't just cycle on roads to get back to Mentor? I think I'm dehydrated. And I'm hungry! Now it's HOT. My body needs an Oreo blizzard. Why don't I have a flare?  My phone battery is getting LOW. I think I'm dying.

At the top of this MOUNTAIN, I see houses. THANK GOD!  I continue toward them and finally - FINALLY - emerge from the CVNP. I'm in some RICH town. These houses are millions of dollars. I'm on a cul de sac, with countless branching cul de sac offshoots to the left and the right. I continue on what seems to be the main cul de sac and it's STILL A CLIMB! I'm exhausted now. I want to be done. Where the hell am I??   GPS says that Rt. 82 (or is it 84? I can't recall) is somewhere close.  I forge ahead and end up at a Marcs.  I need water, but I WANT an Oreo blizzard.  I need a Dairy Queen stat! I'm looking for one but it seems this area is too poor to have a DQ (I'm about 5 miles from the rich area).  I'll settle for a Dairy King. Or even a freezee. Hell, McDonalds will do at this point! Chocolate milk shake will make everything better. And I need protein!! My protein bars were an epic FAIL. The didn't withstand the heat - I even froze them and put them in with a cold pack. No dice, a melted amorphous mass of EAS protein - almost liquid in consistency. I suppose if I get desperate I can shovel this stuff in, but it's pretty much the last thing I want to do. I'd pay $20 for a hunk of chicken right now!

The area is totally unfamiliar to me. I keep thinking somewhere soon I'll see a familiar fast-food place. Nope!  Nothing.  Next I come upon an industrial area. No shade. Crappy roads. Trucks flying by.  I'm unhappy. It's hot! HOT! GPS says turn right. I see signs for 271 North! Yippee!! Oh. Wait.  I can't take 271 north! Crap.  I pass UNDER 271 North and end up in yet another unfamiliar city. How come I've never heard of these towns? Oakwood? Glenwillow?  I follow Pettibone Rd. down a nice descent and plan to intersect Rt 91 - worst case scenario, I can follow that north. 

Nope! Pettibone Rd. has construction going on and I must turn left onto Cochran Rd.  Now this is major industrial parkway and trucks are flying by me once again. Plus, it's 3:30 and apparently a lot of shifts end at 3:30 b/c it was BUSY!!  The roads suck too.  I'm surprised I didn't end up with a flat. Needless to say, there was NO DAIRY QUEEN either.  At this point, I'm kind of delirious with this whole debacle and I'm kind of cracking myself up with the dialogue in my head.  I am just looking for a FAMILIAR ROAD so I can relax again and enjoy the ride.  Another issue I'm facing is TONS of traffic lights, which I won't encounter in an IM race. These lights are making my forward progress look less and less impressive.  I was holding a great pace - ~18 mph - for the first part of the day. Now I'm dealing with traffic, bad roads and stop lights. Plus stopping to use GPS. I really did a poor job of planning here!

Cochran Rd. takes me across Solon Rd. and into Solon. FINALLY! A city I've been to before! I recognize this a bit. :)  Still no DQ though :(  I see signs for 91.  I hit many stoplights and am in what feels like rush hour traffic.  As I get to the sign that says turn right to get to 91, I peer down the lane to find it's an ON RAMP TO 422! No, I don't want that!  I continue past it - fortunate to have a courteous and tolerant truck driver who allowed me to merge back into traffic and sped up to get through the intersection.  That was SCARY!!

 Now I'm north of 422 and my GPS says I can go right on Cannon to hit 91. Of course it's uphill.   I pull over in a tree lawn, under a tree, and feel like crying.  I'm thirsty. I'm tired. My phone battery is almost dead, and I'M NOT EVEN CLOSE TO HOME!  I had a little pity party for myself, had some warm water and a gel with caffeine, and got back in the saddle.  A few minutes later I was on 91 North. At least I knew how to get home from here!

91 North wasn't a fun ride. Narrow berm. Gravel. Bad road and people in Beemers and Escalades not real tolerant of having to share the road.  It's kind of hilly out there too. I was running on empty so each climb was a challenge.  I passed MANY private schools. And OF COURSE, no DQ.

My good friend Katie lives in Mayfield Hts. (Village? whatever) so when I saw the sign I had a great idea! I'd stop at her house for water!!  Katie just had a baby 5 weeks ago so I was hoping to find her home. I'd normally call, but I had no battery left.  She's right off of 91 so I headed toward her house and was ELATED to see she was home.  I tried not to startle her as I knocked. She's a "go with the flow" kind of girl so she was fine with the impromptu visit.  I sucked down 3 bottles of water and a Dr. Pepper - which I don't even really like but it did taste good!  I enjoyed the brief visit and felt rejuvenated when I got back on the bike. 

The rest of the trip home was smooth! Zipped up 91 north - all familiar. That makes soooooo much difference.  I found myself in rush hour and seemed to hit every. single. light. I came across, but that's the had I was dealt.  I chose to go through Willoughby and cut over to Lost Nation and hit Lakeshore. I had just enough battery to text hubby that I was still making my way home and would be there shortly.  I finished with 8 hrs in the saddle - exactly.  I stopped the watch when I was at Katie's, the golf course, and my melt down on the tree lawn, so the time I rode was the time in the saddle. It was ~113 miles I believe.

Honestly, this went way better than my first century ride. I did learn a few things too! I need a different protein source for the hot rides. I think Clif bar is granola-esque and may be an option.  Any suggestions?  I also think I need to be more detailed in the unfamiliar areas, mapping them out in greater detail.  In the future, I'd do that ride again, but in reverse.  I'd get the unfamiliar part over earlier, when I'm fresh.  I'd avoid N. Marginal Rd. And obviously I'd like to avoid being in the wilderness with my ROAD BIKE!  I'd map out several Dairy Queen options along the way.  And I'd set out earlier than 8 am - I should have pushed off at 6:30.  I didn't attempt the run afterward. I just didn't have it in me. I was SO HUNGRY!  The saddle sores were much better this time after incorporating Butt Butt'r into the routine. I used up my samples, now it's time to purchase the tub-o-Butt Butt'r.

My bike needs a bath. She also needs to see the doctor. I'll be in touch with Sherman to set up a check-up before the Rev3 Ironman.  I'm hoping she's in good shape, but after hearing James Isom's experience of breaking a chain, I know that I don't want to risk having everything fall apart on race day, so a tune-up might identify potential problems. Let's hope there's no pricey repair!

There you have it! I'm glad I did it. It was fun - mostly! I feel a tiny bit sore today. But not bad, really! Today is my 12 mile run day. Better get going on that!

Peace out!

1 comment:

  1. Your posts are HILARIOUS!

    I can't believe the guy who yelled at you for being on the road. Talk about a knucklehead!!

    Maybe next time you could use your GPS to look for a DQ. I hope you finally got it. You certainly deserved it.