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My first half century. Ride report from hell

Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

My first half century. Ride report from hell

Old 08-30-08, 06:46 PM
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Copperhed51
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My first half century. Ride report from hell

So I decided it was time to stop being a pansy and go do my first half century. I plot my course on google maps and it takes me out into the farmlands of Kansas where I figure I can enjoy some lovely rolling hills, few cars, and only have to avoid the occasional snake and turtle crossing the road.

Since I'm a complete moron, I forgot to eat any food all day before I left. I like to think I'm tough so I bring plenty of Gu with me and fill up my 2 water bottles and hit the road. I start off with the first 5 miles all uphill into a steady 10mph wind. Perfect for when I'm tired on the way home I figure. I get out in the country and begin looking for the roads I'm supposed to turn onto. One of the roads I'd planned on riding was gravel so I took a different road and figured I'd make up the couple miles somewhere along the ride. Well, unfortunately by taking a different road, I completely confused myself and ended up getting somewhat lost. No problem though, all the roads are laid out in a square pattern and I'll just kind of make up my ride as I go along.

So I finally get to the point where it's time to turn around and holy crap the headwind going back East is strong. Oh well, it'll only make me stronger. I head for the road I'm planning on taking all the way back to my house and realize that out here, 100 blocks from my house, it's gravel too. Crap, on to the next one...gravel...not cool. At this point, I realize I'm starting to run out of energy thanks to not eating all day. I suck it up and turn on to the gravel road figuring it can't last that long. I'll just take it slow and hope my brand new Rubino Pro's don't find any sharp rocks. Up ahead I see a train inching it's way along some tracks I'd need to cross. Cool, I'll just take a little break while it passes. Then the train just completely stops. I can't see either end of this thing. I ponder the chances of it starting to roll again just as I'm crawling under it with my bike in tow. Screw it, I'm exhausted and can't afford to turn around so I crawl under. The train doesn't move and once I'm on the other side, I take the opportunity to piss on it.

While I'm pissing, I notice that my vision is starting to blur and I start to pass out. I manage to finish pissing and lay down next to my bike. Now what the hell am I going to do? I suspect I just need to get back on the bike and get my legs spinning and the blood flowing again. So I hop back on and continue my way along the gravel road. I don't feel good, but I'm not feeling like passing out anymore. At this point I'm still around 15 miles from home and am almost completely out of water and am hardly sweating. I keep finding dead end roads and more and more gravel. I wasn't entirely sure I would live through this experience and had started saying "just keep swimming, just keep swimming" like Ellen said in that Nemo movie. I laughed at how ******** I am, cussed repeatedly at Kansas roads and kept inching my way home. Somewhere during this time I ran out of water. I make it back onto paved roads and am excited to use the expected tailwind to push me home. Well, of course the wind had shifted and was mostly a crosswind but oh well, I could see civilization ahead.


The last 5 miles were hell, my legs hurt like crazy and I got yelled at by some idiot high schoolers to get off the road. I'd have kicked their mirror off but my legs were too weak. Finally I turn onto my street, head down my hill and turn into my driveway. I open the garage, lay the bike down, go inside and lay on the floor because I start to pass out again. I just had to lay there with my legs elevated for about 20 minutes until I felt a bit better. My dog refused to stop trying to lick me. I grabbed some water, headed to the shower and sat there for another 20 minutes. Finally I felt a bit better, went downstairs, grabbed some food and now here I am typing this out.

The moral of this story is obvious. Don't do anything I did. I am a complete idiot. Food is a good thing. Water is also pretty good. Trains are bad. Gravel roads were designed by the devil. Most roads further south than 167th street in Johnson County, KS are dead ends and are made of gravel. Driving your planned route ahead of time is not a terrible idea.

All this and I only did 44 miles. I must say the Rubino Pro's were really sweet though. No flats and they were quiet and fast compared to my old crappy tires. I'm sure people are just going to call me a moron here but I'm fully aware that I was an idiot and am hoping to prevent anybody from doing what I did. Now it's time for a few beers, some football watching, and rest so I can get on the bike again tomorrow.
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Old 08-30-08, 06:52 PM
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This may help you find routes in the future:
http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/coun...138/city/41930
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Old 08-30-08, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Febs View Post
This may help you find routes in the future:
http://www.bikely.com/listpaths/coun...138/city/41930
Sweet, thanks.
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Old 08-30-08, 06:57 PM
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Ouch.

Well, it sounds like you wont repeat those mistakes again.
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Old 08-30-08, 06:59 PM
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My day wasn't so bad after all!!
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Old 08-30-08, 07:00 PM
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A lot of us have learned the hard way to drive boondocks routes first. Glad your lack of planning and bad luck didn't sour you on getting back on the saddle. So, what's for breakfast tomorrow?
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Old 08-30-08, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Kambei View Post
A lot of us have learned the hard way to drive boondocks routes first. Glad your lack of planning and bad luck didn't sour you on getting back on the saddle. So, what's for breakfast tomorrow?
Ha, I don't know. I have to be at work at 6am so I'll probably grab some yogurt and cereal for breakfast and pack a sandwich for lunch.
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Old 08-30-08, 07:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Copperhed51 View Post
The last 5 miles were hell, my legs hurt like crazy and I got yelled at by some idiot high schoolers to get off the road. I'd have kicked their mirror off but my legs were too weak.
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Old 08-30-08, 07:10 PM
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What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?
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Old 08-30-08, 07:27 PM
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Well written, I enjoyed reading that. Sorry you had to experience it though...
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Old 08-30-08, 07:40 PM
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also...don't head out with a tail wind. You'll get a better workout and feel a lot better if you head out into a head wind and then come back with that tail wind. I also learned this the hard way, or well I made my friend learn it the hard way when I trying to get him back into the sport accidentally went out with a tail wind, he died on the way back, of course he also drank poorly and who knows what his nutrition was like the previous day.
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Old 08-30-08, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Szczuldo View Post
I made my friend learn it the hard way when I trying to get him back into the sport accidentally went out with a tail wind, he died on the way back
I guess he won't make that mistake again
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Old 08-30-08, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Szczuldo View Post
also...don't head out with a tail wind. You'll get a better workout and feel a lot better if you head out into a head wind and then come back with that tail wind.
Have you ever killed yourself into a strong headwind for a long time, dreaming about the tailwind that will blow you home, and then turned around to see the black wall of a cold front right on your heels? That happened to me once. I ended up taking a nap in a ditch in a cold, cold rain.
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Old 08-30-08, 07:59 PM
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man that really sucked for you but it was hilarious to read. sorry to laugh at your misery, but that writing is too funny
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Old 08-30-08, 08:05 PM
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Originally Posted by mollusk View Post
Have you ever killed yourself into a strong headwind for a long time, dreaming about the tailwind that will blow you home, and then turned around to see the black wall of a cold front right on your heels? That happened to me once. I ended up taking a nap in a ditch in a cold, cold rain.
I take it you did not take a look at the radar then? Weather is easy to forecast 4 hours into the future and I've started looking at the radar if I ever believe it will rain.

if I'm heading out when it's forecast to rain, i look at the radar and make my own forecast for the next couple of hours, if there is going to be a good chance i'll get caught out in the rain then I will cut my ride short, especially if it's going to be cold and heavy.
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Old 08-30-08, 08:07 PM
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i liked the part about the mirror. must've been hot as h3ll there, too.

I can't believe you can ride in KS
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Old 08-30-08, 08:10 PM
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Ahh, to be young and stupid. Excellent ride report, though -- it's well above the standard for BF.

Don't feel bad about this. I have yet to meet a seasoned rider who's never done anything really dumb on a bike.
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Old 08-30-08, 09:37 PM
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Great write up. Almost like a stand-up skit. I was expecting the train to have moved and you struggling to get out. It's pretty hilarious and you are a good sport. I am waiting for the first century story down the road.
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Old 08-30-08, 10:03 PM
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Thats a funny story. I lived in Overland Park, and grew up in Lawrence, so I have the perfect picture in my mind of where you were.
I now live in Excelsior Springs, MO, which i'm sure you know, is the same country roads and terrain as you have over there. We rode 48 miles today, and DEFITNATLY felt the wind! It was pretty bad today. Especially when you are on a very long open flat road with a headwind.
Great story again. Thanks for sharing!

-Dustin
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Old 08-30-08, 10:08 PM
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See, I had to go back and read that after skimming the comments and reading about you crawling under a train. I give this thread A!
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Old 08-30-08, 10:16 PM
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My first 50 miler was unpleasant too. The roads were "as expected", but I didn't have enough on-the-bike nourishment with me, and ran out of energy at about 45 miles. It's a lesson I've had to learn the hard way a couple of times.

Once you gain a better understanding of your body's needs, and once you get a lot more miles in the saddle -- particularly on longer rides -- you'll find that the 50 miler is just a really good warm-up.
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Old 08-30-08, 10:19 PM
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NEWS HEADLINES: Train derails in Nebraska. Apparent cause is a rusted wheel. Source of rust seems to be very caustic urine. Investication continues. Now back to you Fred in the studios.
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Old 08-30-08, 10:21 PM
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Learned a few lessons????
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Old 08-30-08, 10:37 PM
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Sounds like you bonked.

Next time eat plenty during the day and fill one bottle with electrolyte drink, like Heed and if you're riding in the sticks take an extra bottle of water in your shirt pocket.
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Old 08-30-08, 10:40 PM
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Good report! I think most of us have done similar mistakes at some time. However, the idea of crawling under a train is scary! I was tempted to do so once, but didn't do it, and the train started to move.
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