Today's lesson is a cautionary tale about a cyclist, a 50 miler, and a few important details that should never be overlooked.
"Proper hydration starts the day before, not the morning of..."
"When in doubt, drink a little more early in your activity."
"Don't change all your nutrition in one day."
"Masters swim at 6:30 p.m. followed by a 50 miler the next morning is probably not a brilliant plan unless you are going to meticulously hydrate in between." < ~ and I so didn't...
"Even if you are feeling perfect and fierce for the first 25, you probably should take it easy if the humidity is typical for a Central VA 4th of July and you're not adapted to it."
On one hand, I had the best 25 miler yesterday. I felt strong and amazing. I noticed I was sweating a freaking LOT, but the wind created on the bike is pleasant when one is sweating and it whisks the moisture away before it becomes a nuisance.
I noticed early in my ride that my jersey was completely soaked through. This is my favorite jersey, and I don't normally notice that sort of thing. Still, I had 2 full bottles on board, and was doing well. Wait, why were they full still at mile 5?
Also, Because of the size of my bike frame, I was packing a 24 oz and a 20 oz bottle. Both were filled with the NUUN/Coconut water mixture I'm fond of drinking. However, 44 oz is probably not enough, when considering that by mile 10 I was probably already down 2 pounds (32 oz) of sweat.
Driving to the ride I realized I was missing a handful of equipment.
Typically before I leave my house I bring a 16 oz bottle of water to drink on the way over, my sunglasses, a clif bar cut in half to eat as I'm mounting the bike, and the route.
I had none of these things. I found a spare random "sampler" bar in my bag, and ate half. It was about 95 calories.
Fortunately, I have friends who had a spare pair of glasses & a handful of Bonk Breakers to bring on the bike.
Starting the ride I was down 16 oz, 35 calories.
Since my breakfast consists of 1 small banana (90ish calories), those 35 calories are fairly critical...
I felt really great though, as I said, for the first 25.
And then we turned and had a fierce climb. Followed by a long slow climb that goes a while. Followed by a few pesky climbs. And by the time we turned off the last of the climbing roads, I was dry heaving on the bike, and down to a few swigs of water.
and I wasn't sweaty.
But I clearly wasn't hot, because I was covered in gooshflesh....
At mile 42ish I had a wave of dizziness wash over me that almost took me off my bike. I could barely keep it upright. My legs, back, arms, and chest were cramping.
At mile 45 the route passes a gas station, and I pulled into the lot heaving like I'd just done a hard sprint. I'd barely been rolling at 10 mph. The Good Dr & British Gentleman were with me at the time, and I said, "I don't have 20 minutes left in me" and shocked myself when I said, "Dr, can you go get the car?"
He handed me a $5 and sent me to buy a drink while he pounded at 22mph back to the start.
I drank 32 oz before he arrived to get me.
And another 10 oz with him before I could even get in the car.
Oddly enough, or perhaps, not odd at all, I felt pretty good after rehydrating myself with about 64 oz of fluids, and my mind started wandering. I questioned whether or not I could have finished the ride.
And then I came to my senses.
No, I could not have finished the ride. I might have fallen off the bike, or worse, caused an accident in the pace line. What I needed was air conditioning, liquids, electrolytes and more liquids. More miles would have been a fail.
This just proves that even the most thoughtful athlete, educated and practiced in the ways of hydration, can have a day that reminds of them of their mortality. Happy 4th of July weekend, and be safe out there in summer heat.