I have recently begun training for a local charity run, the Tri-States 100, after getting my Allez tuned up and on the road. I have ridden some short rides getting my body accustomed to the bike and awoke Sunday morning very energetic. I live about a mile from the start of this ride through Rual SE Alabama/Georgia/Florida so I have been riding the past routes somewhat.
Since that the routes are color marked I set out originally planning to ride the 25 mile marked route. As I focused on the ride and haveing a great time I began to think that I was not on the correct route. The area was vaugely familiar and I was on route so I assumed that all was well and I was just beginning to tire somewhat. After several hours of riding and having to stop several times to stretch and refill my 2 water bottles at an old A.M.E. Baptist church I began to wonder exactly where I was and how much further I needed to go to finish. Since I had just refilled my water and was in good spirts I felt pretty confident that I was near the end.
After rounding a corner I recognized the road I was now travelling on and realized that I was nearing the finish, but after 30 minutes of riding I began to think otherwise. Then I past the "Welcome to Florida" sign and my heart sank as I knew this was at least 30 miles from the start point. I contemplated turning around and did so for a few feet only to turn back and head on. I realized I was on the 100K route.
As I rode past cattle ranch after cattle ranch then finally back into Alabama I would feel myself fatigue then refgain my energy. The rolling country side was beautiful and the total lack of traffic made the ride very enjoyable. Along the way I noticed a holstine that somehow made it outside the fencing. As I costed past I quietly uttered half outloud, " Gee Mr. Cow, you are on the wrong side of the fence." I guess I scared him as he turned and rammed into the fencing several times finally charging past the electric wire and into the field!
After the 4 hour mark I was beginning to tire rapidly and was low on water as I began to wonder if my choice not to turn around was a wisw choice or not. I was becomming saddle sore, and began to chafe a bit, and I could feel the onset of a sunburn coming on. I had stopped several more time and walked the bike up a hill and contemplated thumbing a ride, but once I reached the top of the hill I climbed back on the bike and rode down. I missed a turn marker and realized I was not sure of where I was and stopped to ask directions. I wasn't too far off and made it back on track. After a few more hills I bonked. I stopped, rested, took one of the final sips of water left, and began walking up the next hill.
A pick-up past me and just as it was disappearing over the hill I saw it backing down towards me. It stopped and the folks inside asked if I was ok and if I needed a ride. I accepted, with much relief, and told them my story and they said they would give me a ride to my truck. I wasn't too far away about a 7-8 minute drive, and after I checked the map I found that I was short of the 100K by 5-6 miles.
After thanking my new freinds for the ride and arriving home I ate some fruit and mixed up a gallon of gatorade, stretched and took a shower. I felt pretty good after eating, except the sunburn on my arms ending at my knuckels,
The ride wasn't that difficult and I was riding for 5 hours. I plan on doing it again but this time with food, and electrolite support. Right now my legs hurt everytime I stand, but not too bad the stretching in between stops helped quite a bit.
So here's to the next time