So yesterday I was out all afternoon training for the upcoming 100 miler. It’s the Sunday after the next one which leaves me two weeks to get ready for battle. During my lunch break, I rode up to the top of the local hill. Based on my rough estimate this is a 4-6% climb over a couple of miles for 8 miles total. I met the local bike club coming down in the opposite direction. Imagine a rumble, a whirr, and a breeze combined in one. It is a very impressive sound. They were still coming over the top as I reached the top. I latched onto one on the way back down. I couldn’t catch him, but I kept the distance to him while passing one of the “fitness”-riders (woosh!). Maybe I should start hanging out with the amateurs?

Thus encouraged, I rode home after work making it 20 miles so far. I let the dog out, grabbed a granola bar (read: a, one, single granola bar), and refilled my 1.5 bottles (one is small). I also gulped down a handful of raisins: first meal of the day. Then I went out for a relatively flat 30M ride. I caught sight of a green shirt. When I see another rider, it might surprise you that my first thought is not along the lines of “hey, there’s another guy/gal who is out enjoying a nice ride/staying fit/being healthy”, rather it’s the more visceral “Ha! His/her ass is mine” as I start hammering towards the “target”. In this case it was a green shirt, so I figured it would be a quick kill. Unfortunately, the rider took a side road before I got there, coward!

Halfway out, I ate half of my granola bar. Then I roller back again going substantially faster since the wind was now in my back. I figure 18mph out and 22mph back. Since I was behind schedule(*) DW caught me in a light crossing. “Get some ice cream”, I shouted.

Then I made my big mistake. Instead of going home to refill, I figured I could do the next 20M on my last bottle and the other half of the energy bar. I had been riding for about two and a half hours by then.

Whereas the first 30M was relatively protected, the 20M loop is known for having severe head winds during the first half (usually translates into 14mph) and equally thrilling tailwinds on the way back (usually 26-28mph). Halfway in, I ate my granola bar and shortly after I started bonking.


Glycogen stores gone, I was now on emergency power (pure fat burning). Speed dropped to 12mph (headwind area) and my general tactic of staying warm by going faster or cooling down by going slower was no longer feasible. Furthermore it was getting late with temperatures going towards 50F. Still, the legs, now feeling much like spaghetti kept going. Also the pain in my neck was gone (appearing around mile 20). I suspect endorphines were running high.


There was a 1 mile downhill, which was nice. Of course this was followed by a small climb which wasn’t nice at all. I noticed that I was keeping more of a distance to the side of the road than usual. I was also going a lot slower (14-16mph) than usual even though it felt like 22mph. I was getting speed blind and it was getting colder still. I started thinking about how abandoned sailors in row boats must feel (no way out but to keep going), but I eventually made it home. Doing the 50M took 3:10hrs. That made it 70M for the day. The lesson learned was the one should not run out of sugar or water and that cycling (unlike hiking or walking) is done sufficiently fast that the liver can’t keep up the glycogen supply

I think maybe I should just do 50M first when DW and I go for a wife and husband ride. That way I could be out of sugar while DW would be out of oxygen. This would make a sorry sight indeed. Incidentally, oxygen supply or acid control was never a problem on this ride. Also, today, while I can feel I did something yesterday, my legs feel no worse than after a particularly nasty hockey game.

This means, if I buy sugar stuff for the century, bring the big water bottles and keep the supply flowing I think I can do it in at my present fitness level. However, this is already getting expensive. The day before yesterday I found myself ordering tools and patch kits despite all my clever ideas about spending no more than the entry fee, and now gatorade or whatever on top.

This weekend I will try to do a pure 70M to see if I can manage to eat all the time while riding. If that goes well, I think I’m good.

Originally posted 2008-04-23 07:20:21.