Friday, August 19, 2011

It was SUPPOSED to be a 75 mile ride ...

I was ready for that! I was excited and my friend, Michael Rosenburg had asked me if I was interested in riding together on Saturday. I had planned to join Janet Edwards, et al, so I tossed that out as an option. Mike was in (Mike's always in!). We agreed to hang together because, in theory, we are compatible in our bike fitness (not! Mike's doing better than I am, and I'm real happy to see his improvement!).

Five CTCers met at Lifetime Fitness (LTF) at 7 am to push off. Janet had sent the route to me and I had a few cue sheets. The benefit of riding with a group, when you are not a strong cyclist, is that you just get to get into the pack and follow. I'm not talking about "pulling", I'm talking about not needing to navigate!!

We got to a point where Janet, in her infinite wisdom, said if we separate, you guys are good, right?? Yes! And then the three .. were gone! Eh, no problem with that, I knew they needed to get in their workouts too, and they are all much stronger cyclists.

Shortly after they pulled away, we missed a turn. Mike caught it "relatively early" and we backtracked. I think that put us about 3.5 miles off the cue sheet corresponding mileage, but we could work with that. We'd get the next TWO turns in our head, after we did one, then we'd regroup and get the next two. I found myself chanting something to the effect: "Right on Lewis then left on Magill (make those up because I'm too lazy to look up the route). That worked for me and we settled in.

At some point I was looking for a bathroom, but not to critical mass quite yet. We found a diner and traded off babysitting the bikes while the other went in. No one gave us grief, thankfully. Onward. Next up, Hiram College.   Apparently it was the first weekend of school, as there were tons of students moving in.  We were getting hungry by this time, and eager for a place to eat. Shortly after we turned onto 82, we saw a little "gift shop" with food, and more importantly, ICE CREAM!  I went in and got chocolate milk, donut gems (crumb cake!) and an ice cream sandwich. DE-LISH!  I can't even tell you what Mike got, beyond strawberry milk.  We sat on the porch and snarfed our calories! I checked in to FB and saw a message from Janet. She had come across some road work that resulted in a detour. It was perfect timing to get this, and greatly appreciated.  Borrowed a pen and updated the cue sheet.  Oh, and when Janet says "Music St. is a bitch" ... them there are some SCARY words??  What? Why? Hilly? Bad roads? Busy?  We were anxious!

Leaving the store with a bloated belly and rapidly rising BG, I soon regretted my gluttony as we climbed a GINORMOUS hill on 82 out of Hiram. I saw it ahead and thought it must be just an illusion, it can't be that bad.  It was. I came close to tossing my cookies ... er, um, donuts.  I dismounted and walked. Mike surged ahead and zipped up! How the hell??  Jealous!  He waited for me at the top ... I was hoping that was the worst of it! But what's the deal with MUSIC St???

Forging ahead our energy seemed to ebb and flow, wax and wane. Fortunately we weren't ebbing and flowing in sync, so overall, his flow, helped my ebb, and vice versa. Literally, on flats, I'd go from 22 mph and feeling amazing, to 8-10 mph and feel like I was pushing an elephant!!  I got really good with my gearing!! I'm improving there, a lot!! I think back to 2009 when I did all cycling in ONE GEAR ... oy vey!

Mike noticed a noise from my bike. I guess I thought it was just normal. It was present in all gears. Oh well, can't worry about it now. I'll get it looked at later this week. That, luckily, never became an issue.

Finally, MUSIC St.   At first it felt a lot like Thompson Rd. on the Rev3 course. That's my FAVORITE part of the course - rollers! But Music's road was cobble-like and rough. I was hopeful that that was the issue Janet was referring to (but in my head, knew NO WAY!). After the rollers: climbs. There it was.  Not as bad as Rt. 82, but still, pretty good exertions at this late part of a ride.  I dismounted and walked. I can own it. Not Mike!  He even said "you're like 100 ft from the top??!!"  Yep, I know, and I'm DONE!! Dismount! :)

We finally got past 60 miles. Mike was in virgin territory with new mileage. He seemed to be doing great. Just some "sore butt" ... but of course!

Next familiar area was Chagrin Falls. I recognize it, but I needed the cue sheet. And it was pretty technical with lots of quick turns, so we had to have sheet in hand to get through like 10 turns. And, I'm now running out of water. It's warm. Not much left. and I'm cramping in my legs and I get a headache. I'm about ready to be done.  As we rode through Gates Mills, I was desperate for a business so we could get fluids. There are NONE.  I cursed the city of Gates Mills, as I have in the past. It seems like I'm always at critical mass in Gates Mills, and there's NO HELP!!  I was getting very, very crabby - bitchy - let's just call it what it was!! I was close to stopping at a residence and asking for tap water!!  Ugh.  Foul language and evil starts to come out of me as I am getting more and more desperate. The headache was the straw - I knew I was dehydrated then, and needed fluids.

We got to Rt. 87. I know Rt. 87. The cue sheet has us turning RIGHT (East) onto 87, but I know that LTF is LEFT (West) ... and simply stated, I could NOT turn away from the finish, mentally. I needed to be DONE!!!!  I pleaded my case with Mike. Please, let's go left!!! I know it's a ways to go, but we'll be on ONE last road and no more turns, cue sheet, or waiting for "what's next"!!  He agreed and I was so grateful. I pulled up my GPS and recognized the area, knowing there would be a HUGE BP store where I could get water. I just needed to be there. NOW!

We headed west onto Rt. 87 and FINALLY came up to the store. I was one crabby bitch by now, and shaking and physically and mentally a wreck. I ran in and got a big gatorade and a water. I came out and downed the Gatorade in one fell swoop. Topped it off with half of the water and poured the other half into my bottle. I felt like a new woman within 5 minutes!!! Mike didn't say much, but rattled of something about Gates Mills not wanting businesses in their community ... but I heard "fuck Gates Mills!" Ha!  He didn't say that, but that's what I heard. Chalk it up to delusion. 

Mike finally recognized where we were and says he knows a quicker way home, less traffic. I asked "are you SURE, because I am running on empty here ..." He did.  He took us through a development and out we came on to Bainbridge, where I could SEE LTF off in the distance!!!  Thank GOD!!!  Cue the surge of adrenalin as I found myself energized and zipping along to finish the ride.  All said an done, Garmin and bike computer both said 84.79 mile ... which is absolutely 85 miles in my book!  Mike felt good - at one point he wanted to do the whole 90 mile route! He wanted to keep going ... and he was welcome too, just not with me! I was jonesing for a nap and food. The drive home would be difficult, as it was.

Mike asked me, how do you do Ironman if this is what happens to you??  Good question!! And my answer: It's all mental! Had I had 85 miles in my head, I probably wouldn't have melted down the way I did at 75 miles. But my head had 75 miles and when we hit it, and weren't done, or even, close to done, that's when I lose it!  In IM I HAVE 140.6 miles in my head.  God help me if I go off course and add another mile ... that could be the end of me!

All said and done, it was a great day! I forgot how much I love riding!! And I do! The weather was great, the smells were great. I felt great - for most of it.  It was all manageable to me until we hit 75 mile! :)

Next up: 105 mile ride in 1 week.  Excuse me 105.42 miles.  In other words, a long day. I'll be better prepared. Got a new CamelBak. I'll actually be wearing it on race day. Don't give me grief about that - I'm not near good enough cyclist for that to be a factor!! The ability to have nutrition, hydration and diabetes supplies with me will be nothing but good for me. I can't quite swing the carbon rear-mount hydration system I want right now, so this was an affordable compromise.  It arrive yesterday, and you can check it out HERE. It'll match my kit, my bike and I will fill it with ICE. My bike only has 2 places to put fluids, and I need Amino Vital as my sugar source, so this will solve the water problem for the century ride and on race day.

I'm exhausted from typing this (or maybe from my 14 hr work day yesterday!) and I need some food and a shower. I'm sorry I'll miss the second Rev3 preview day ... you don't know how badly I want to come :(   But, I have kids, and I really can't ask them to hold tight while I drive and ride for 6 hrs.  Have fun out there, and I'll be seeing you in 3 short weeks on race day!!


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