Just listened to the part of the podcast where they talk about knowing limits without power. It reminded me of my first century (not the metric one haha)…
I was planning on solo’ing the the cottage which was roughly 165k from home. The plan was leave early take a camelpak with me and some granola bars and the wife would meet me someone along the route to top up my water. ps… i should mention that I had very little in the way of proper training or long riding in general, I am a super salty sweater, I am also super prone to cramps.
So being so loose of plan as I am, I ended up leaving late on a super hot and sunny Saturday. According to Strava I left at 11:57a. face palm. But not really thinking any of this through, as you can imagine. I get going and things get hot. Since I left so late the wife caught me about 30k into the 165. At which point I had drank a considerable amount of water but I hadn’t really any idea of what was about to happen.
I tried to pace myself just by feel. But feel is kinda hard when you don’t really train enough to know what easy easy actually feels like. Legs start cramping. I’m halfway through. I’ll try and go easier until I reach the next town at 135k.
No more than 25k later legs are in full spasm mode. If you’ve never been there be thankful. Theres nothing worse than having something cramp on the bike, then as you ungraciously stiff leg your way off the bike something else goes. And all you can do is wait for the legs to reset. Another side note… Having said extreme cramping and being run off the road (I was biking on one of the main roads) by a 48’ sucks. It sucks even worse when off the road is super loose gravel and your bike handling skills are a C-minus at the best of times. Basically it just means falling over sideways.
At this point it really is a bike 5 minutes , rest 10 minutes sort of deal. My phone battery is dead. There’s nothing but corn between me and the next town. I am stubborn as a donkey but my spirit is draining quickly. Nothing I can do but go forward.
Reach the next town. Finally. Lady luck is also on my side. See… on Saturdays in small towns out here everything closes at 5 or 6 if they even ever open. Also something I should have noted beforehand. I feel like I bought most of the store. I sat down and found some more resolve. I thought this rest was just what the body needed and I could forge ahead. I found a payphone to let he wife know I still alive and that I should be there in another hour or so.
My legs did feel better. I managed to bike without cramps again until I met my first hill. That “hill” put my legs right back into the cramp zone. If there was ever a moment to cry this was it. But again, nothing else I could actually do but just keep going forward.
Two hours later I’m cooked. I’m so super cooked. I have been cooked for the past four hours. And spent the next four in a super stupid zombie mode. This was the least enjoyable bike ride I have ever done but I’m past emotions at this point. I don’t have the energy to be angry or sad. The sun is setting. Did I mention I didn’t have bike lights? Sigh. The only thing I have got going is that my speedometer says I have marched 155k. Five left until I reach the city where the cottage is and maybe another few to get to the cottage. There’s a familiar car. My father-in-law and wife have doubled back to find me. My wife was freaking out but relieved. Did I mention she was pregnant at the time? Not a very nice thing to worry her like that. My out was right there. But … I was 5000 measly metres from my “goal”.
Would you stop? I’m guessing most people who have read this long already would probably answer the same way I did. I told them I just need to go 5 more k. They could follow behind me if they wanted. As soon as I trickled over 160 I would pull over and they could collect what was left of my carcass. I told them I would probably be stopping every km so it might take a while. But I needed to just do this for me.
So I got back on the bike… those last five kilometres… holy s***. Not only did I bike it all the way through. But I was averaging nearly twice the speed I was not more than 5 minutes before!
Where did this energy come from? How was this possible. That is my story on how effed up the mind/body relationship is. Thanks for reading haha.
Use trainerroad. Listen to every minute of aacc. And try to avoid worrying your pregnant wife unnecessarily.