Monday, May 12, 2014

The Things We Do

Without going into too much detail, The Good Dr had a Bad Cycling Weekend two weekends ago.  It just wasn't his day.  We all know what that's about.  Anyone who's ever participated in an athletic event knows that there are those days that just aren't your day.  It doesn't mean you are less than amazing, it just means you may have had a less than amazing day.

So when The Good Dr was beat up by his bike, I suggested that he do something completely crazy like go for a bike ride to shake it off.

True story.

Not only that, I suggested he go for a nice reasonable distance like 100 miles.  "No problem, you've got this".  Ride from Richmond to Williamsburg and back.


Now, the ironic thing about this is that I convinced him that this was a good idea because I said I would go with him all the way.  For the whole 100 miles.

Never mind that I had only ridden a season long ride of 57 miles, and that I was possibly not trained enough to ride 100 miles.
about 1/2 way and we were still having FUN with "Fran",
"Whit", "Bueller? Bueller?" and "Birch".

Thus became the day that I decided to answer the question of "How much training does a person need to ride a Century?" and also, "Where does 'mental toughness vs the wall' reach the point of futility?"

It was a stellar day on Saturday.  Beautiful weather - overcast and warm, but not blistering hot.

We connected with some folks and knocked out a seriously fun 56 or so miles complete with laughs, rest stops, donuts and blue sports drink.

Around 57ish or so, a piece of lawn debris flew off a mower and got in my eye, so I was riding with one eye ball squeezed shut.

My (cough) *valentine* hurt. My eye hurt.  My leg was cramping.  My stomach was rolling.  I had chills and goosebumps.

It was as though the WHEELS FELL OFF THE WAGON.

I realized that I was DOWN on liquid.

Physically my body was trying to SHUT DOWN, and my mind was TOTALLY ON BOARD with that idea, it was the best idea I had EVER HAD, and if I kept riding, my brain kept insisting that BAD THINGS WOULD HAPPEN.

I had to stop and pour water in my eye at the next rest stop until the piece of debris was out (it was a piece of a leaf - OUCH).  When that was resolved, I sat down and sipped on some blue liquid and took inventory.

It's 106 miles to Chicago.... We've got a full a tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark and we are wearing sunglasses". 

My options...

I could lay down in the dirt and take a nap.

I could ride about 12mph for about 9 miles to the next rest stop and see if I sipped liquid the whole way if that would return me to homeostasis.

Or I could sit on my a** and rest for about 15-20 minutes and see if sipping on blue liquid would return me to homeostasis.

Hit it.

I said to Scott, "I have this friend who did a tri a few years ago, and even when she was falling apart, she just kept going.  I'm going to need to Dash from here to the next water stop.  If I'm still completely in bad shape, I will consider getting a ride back on the SAG wagon."

I hopped on my bike (read: awkwardly crawled onto the bike while praying that no one was looking)
Took yet another salt tablet.
Ate a GU even thought I didn't want to.
And pedaled.

I knew in order to finish this event in time, I was going to need to PULL THIS TOGETHER.  And, there were forecast thunderstorms coming.  We were going to need to race the weather.  Only I couldn't make my legs move.
The storms over Rocketts Landing


So, I Dash'd to the next stop.  And it wasn't speedy, but it was functional.  We rolled about 14mph.

It was a long 9 miles.  But I sipped the entire way.  In all, about 40 oz of salted sugar water (honest to god, that's what the blue stuff started tasting like) in those short miles.

At the next stop, I really did suddenly feel better.  "OK, I'm ready".

We Finished!
We hopped out on the road.  It wasn't blistering.  The Good Dr was patient and pulled me or let me pull as needed.

A pace line came up beside us, and as the last cyclist was parallel to me, I geared up and stepped on the pace.  A few minutes later, we were cruising around 18mph with a group.

I just thought, "I need to borrow some of their energy for a few minutes".  And that's what we did.

At the next stop we refilled our bottles quickly, and jumped on a line with a few more strangers.  And cruised back to our car, riding the last few alone.

It was nice, honestly, to ride those last few miles with The Good Dr.

He was strong, and I knew he didn't regret riding 100 miles.  I could tell.

The Celebratory Dinner
After we finished and snacked, a HUGE thunderstorm was eminent on the horizon, so we went home, showered, and went to a "Nursing School is Finally Finished and I rode 100 miles today on my Bike" Celebratory Dinner.

I'd do Cap to Cap next year.  The course was 100 times more wonderful than the Tour De Richmond course, and all in all, it was a great time... except for the part where I wanted to take a dirt nap, but those are the details we tend to forget as soon as the event is over.

~savor the ride, respect the distance~

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