Some friends and I generally meet up for a Saturday morning ride, and lately they have been getting longer and longer. This weekend we decided to meet up at the trailhead for a local limestone trail, the MoPac East trail:
Now, beforehand I had figured that it would be very easy for me to get a metric in that day. All I'd have to do is either take the "long way" from home to the trailhead, or the "long way" from the trailhead to home. Maybe I'd have to take one of the city trails a little longer to fill in some miles, but should be do-able... I thought!
I awoke at 0639 after hitting the snooze button once. The peanut-gallery-enabled better half commented "6:39! Sweet! We slept in 39 minutes!" Of course by the time I got back upstairs from changing and showering, she was dead asleep again. I made a quick "power shake" before departing, knowing that I'd need some power. I still hadn't decided to do the metric or not, but knew I'd ride to the trailhead.
By the time I finally got onto the street, it was 0705, not too far behind schedule (only 5 minutes at this point). I climbed the half-mile hill to the local Kwik-E-Mart to fill up my tire, grab some Gatorade for the ride to the trailhead, and grabbed a couple Cliff bars. THiS WAS MISTAKE ONE! I spent far too much time organizing my stuff, filling tires, and basically getting ready to go. As such, I looked at my clock and it said 0727.. with the "long way" still being 11.5 miles. I could say that if I pushed, i could have made it. In reality I know that no, I couldn't have made an average of 23mph across the city .
I took the "short way" of 6.5 miles and arrived at the trailhead 20 minutes later, well ahead of the rest of my crew. I enjoyed half a Cliff Bar and the rest of my Gatorade, refilling the bottles with water. Shortly after, the rest of the crew arrived, and we departed at 0815. For the first 4 miles, we made some seriously good time. There were four of us, one that I ride with on a regular basis and two friends who ride a lot but I had never ridden with before. Suddenly after mile 4 they slowed from 20mph to about 12 or 13, admitting that they were pushing their "20 mile" pace. We all slowed to about a 15mph average, and kept zipping down the trail.
One of the crew was having a hard time, as she had awoken at 0300 to work, and had not eaten anything yet that day! By the time we hit mile 18-ish, Elmwood Nebraska, I figured she was likely ready to eat anything.
And here comes mistake two - we stopped at another conveinence store! Not so much a mistake in that we stopped there, but in that we took time stopping there. Time for the sun to get going, and time for legs to start running out of steam. Three of us were pushing on the 4 miles to the end of the trail, so we bid Andy's wife a good ride back, and headed off.
Now we all made mistake three together - we all started pushing hard, chasing each other for the next 15 miles. The lead biker pushed the hardest, riding at his max HR for about 10 miles or so. I was in second, 15 minutes behind him with the other rider about 10 minutes behind me. On the ride back, the heat started to kick in with a vengeance. Someone I passed was emptying their camelback on their head (more on this later - excellent idea!) and said their watch said it was already 85 degrees - at 11am! I was about 5 miles outside of the next town when I really started to feel the heat. I stopped twice to hydrate and eat a cliff bar, also waiting for the guy behind me to catch up. I arrived into Eagle, NE to see the lead biker waiting for us. His Camelback was empty, my bottles were at critical, so we hit the town store to get more water.
Yup, you guessed it, that's mistake four - we stopped again! I picked up more Gatorade, while rider 1 picked up a gallon of water. I ate another Cliff Bar, slugged some water and Gatorade then refilled for the last 10 miles home. We're up to mile 40 at this point, and the temps are getting in the upper 80's with 45-ish percent humidity.. and it's almost noon. As rider 1 put it "the next 10 miles are going to be how slow can we go!"
And slow we did indeed go. I had told the better half that I'd have "no problem" making it home by noon.. well she called me at 11:30 and I was still about 5 miles from the trailhead, or 17 miles from making my metric... and that heat was killing me. My legs were great, but I was sucking down water and Gatorade with reckless abandon.
Then it happened, the inevitable mini-bonk. Thankfully rider 3 and I had our mini-bonks at the same point, ironically right abotu where I had my major bonk on my last long ride. We rode next to each other, reminding each other that it was only 3, or 2, or 1, or .5 miles to the end. The mini-bonk was around 13mph, which is a far cry from my major bonk, where I was putting out everything I had to keep the speedo close to 10. And by 1 mile out I had finished off the last of my water and Gatorade, but was crazily thirsty.
We did indeed make it back to the trailhead, with both of us making a respectable 20mph push for the last half mile into the trailhead. But I knew it was over. I had that dehydration headache kicking in, and it was already past noon. Had I continued home, I knew I wouldn't get there for another hour, and I would be dead. The temp was now nearly 90, and I was wearing my black UnderArmor. So I asked rider 3 for a "ride of shame" home, which he was gracious enough to provide. Rider 1 was going to join us, as he had already finished a metric for the day, but ended up riding a very direct route to his home, about 7 miles away. The heat had definitely taken it's toll on our group.
The better half greeted me as we pulled into the driveway, worried that I was dehydrated.. of course not, I told her...
So the ride stats were:
-96 ounces of Gatorade
-100+ ounces of water
-2 Cliff Bars, 2 Snickers Marathon bars
-20-ish ounces of water dumped over my head
With one final stat. I didn't think it would happen, and I joked with the better half that it would be funny if it did. On the 15th I had weighed in at 374 lbs, hoping that I would have hit the 200 lost (I was 567 lbs on June 15, 2005) mark, but falling a little short. Well.. I hit the door to the house and had a big jug of water that she demanded I have, then headed directly for the shower. I resisted for a second, then jumped on the scale..... 366 lbs! It said it twice! That was it, that's all I needed to not beat myself up for missing the metric mark.. I dehydrated myself enough that I hit the 200lbs lost mark.. LOL!
Of course the second I got out of the shower I was back up to 372 (I drank a big bottle of water while in the shower... LOL!), but hey, I was there!
Anyway, I'll post some pics later, it was an epic and enjoyable ride... with a great bonus prize at the end!