(Thanks to whoever offere the quick deep breath advice pre/post drinking-I think it helped)
Another incredible day on the road in Co. We are in Durango this pm and it appears to be a neat town.
Today's ride had just about everything. The 15+ mph headwind the whole day made it even harder. Flags on flagpoles were stretched straight out. We came through several canyons and that probably made the winds stronger. It was also whistling even stronger at 11,000 ft.
Today's ride had at least 3 long climbs and then several 1 milers. Our end point is at a college overlooking Durango. We arrived at town level and ended the day with yet one more hill. At least tomorrow we can start out downhill.
I don't know how but I keep getting to the finish with the early crowd. I rode horribly for stretches today but maybe others were feeling the miles as well. At least it gives me my choice of tent sites plus the showers are pretty empty.
I got a great night's sleep last in my tent which was wonderful. The previous night was just the opposite as I got really cold plus my stomach was having a horrible time digesting supper. My tent and air mattress are just perfect for my needs.
It takes me forever to get everything packed in the mornings. Today I had everything organized and ready to go last night but my luggage was on the last of 3 bag trucks. Maybe it's because I had to refold my tent 4 times to get it in my bag??
Today's ride was incredible in many ways. The views were spectacular. There is nothing like seeing sights like this from a bike. There is also the reward of long, fast dowhills after climbing hills for 2-3 hours.
I was really worried about today's route with the 3 long cimbs but I got through it. I did reach another highest elevation mark at well over 11,000 ft.
Everything did not go perfectly or even well today. Cyclists know what bonking is and it hit me extremely hard at about 3hrs into the ride or about 25 miles into the ride. Bonking is when you just don't have the energy to keep pedaling. It typically comes on without warning which happened to me as well. The only other time it had happened to me was doing the longer route of Mitchell a few years ago when they had to route us through Asheville. Today when it hit me it took me a while to figure out what was going on. I was a couple miles into a 9 mile climb and just could not get the pedals turning like normal. People I had cruised past before were easily passing me. At first I thought it might be some altitude stuff going on. It was a really discouraging point as I had only gone 25 miles-there was 14 more miles to the top of the last major climb and 50 more miles to the finish. Plus noone else seemed to having issues. At that point I did not see how I could finish the day.
It dawned on me I just needed to get something in my system. I ate a couple things I had with me and drank some fluids. That helped a little but not nearly enough. I was trying not to use my easiest gear on my bike for pride's sake but that went out the window. You do a lot of soul searching in stretches like that. I slogged along at a snail's pace and somehow managed to ride about 7 miles or an hour plus to the next rest stop at the top of the 2nd climb. Fortunately they had my miracle drink-Coke. I grabbed one and also a chocolate brownie.
After resting a couple minutes I hit the road with some fear and a lot of doubt as I didn't really feel much different. However, it didn't take too long for the sugar and caffeine to do its thing.
Without boring you with all the details, from there on I was not only back to normal but probably even better performance wise. I hooked up with 2 groups of 2 others twice and had loads of fun screaming down the road taking pulls out front. Even with steep dropoffs that could cause issues for missteps! It is the type of thing that makes riding as fun as it is. I even had plenty left for the last hill at the end.
All that and I still got to camp early-go figure.
I'm learning for these tough back to back days you have to eat more and the right foods. While the margaritas yesterday really helped me sleep better it probably didn't help the cycling. Now dark beer has more carbs so I think I'll give that a try.
This is just a great event in so many ways. There are people here of all abilities and bike types. I've greatly enjoyed meeting other cyclists and seeing "paradise" as my sister describes it. The views today included spectacular rivers raging from snow melt, water falls, canyon views and snow covered peaks.
Four days down and 3 to go!