After Saturday’s debacle of a ride where I limped home a bonked, wind hammered, shell of a would-be cyclist, I took Sunday and Monday off the bike. Sunday I went to B’s soccer match, watched footy on TV, drank a few beers and cooked burgers on the grill. Monday I made sure to hydrate, got back to eating good, quality foods and hoped that the bonk I experienced on Saturday was just the result of poor post-ride recovery and Friday night hijinks. I hoped, prayed and fretted that I had not become so fat, slovenly and crap that I could do, 40, 45, 48 and 49.5 mile rides fine, but the mere idea of cresting 50 miles would turn me to a heap of human suck clad in lycra.
So you can understand that as I mounted up and rode out of the driveway today I had some concerns and trepidations about whether I should attempt another 50 mile ride or just do one of my standard thirty-ish mile weekday loops. I decided to play it safe, head south of town, see how I felt, and make decisions on the route and length of the ride on a need be basis.
As it turned out, I was feeling great and at each route bearing intersection, I found myself choosing roads that would take me further. I was also relieved to not feel the telltale signs of bonk that I felt coming on at around mile 25 on Saturday.
Today’s ride was different than last Friday and Saturday’s but I still hit a few of the same roads; including the road ride friendly South Rolland Road. I am not always keen on leaving dirt and gravel for pavement, but Rolland it one of those roads that I just love to ride. It reminds me a lot of some of the rolling and hilly paved farm roads I used to ride outside of my hometown– it’s bliss!
If more roads in my part of Michigan were like Rolland, I would surely road ride more often. But they’re not. Most of them are crumbling, pot holed, flat stretches of paved shit. But enough of the negativity! Rolland is swweeeeet!
After South Rolland it was back onto what the Italian’s refer to as la strade marrone del Michigan* [the brown roads of Michigan], or at least I think that’s what they would call them… regardless, I was back on hilly, deep gravel where getting passed by a car (or two gas well bound trucks) would have one climbing into a thick cloud of dust and praying that there wasn’t a third gas well bound truck poised to flatten any chubby cyclists hidden by said cloud of thick dust.
With fifteen miles to go in the ride I took no chances on another potential bonk and removed my secret weapon from my jersey pocket: a Little Debbie Fig Bar. Not just ANY Little Debbie Fig Bar either, THIS fig bar bounced around in my car for weeks after my last trip home to Pennsylvania, then into my bike box, then into my jersey pocket for about five of my last six rides. Guess which ride it DIDN’T accompany me on? It was a little smashed, a little smushed and a bit crumbly, but it still helped me out with all of its tasty, figgy goodness.
A few miles of gravel roads (complete with random outhouse) and an 11 mile stretch of pavement was all I had left in front of me, and I am happy to report that NO epic fails or gut wrenching bonks befell me.
Today’s 51.5 route was just a few tenths of a mile shorter than Saturday’s ride, and had a few less feet of elevation gain, but to put Saturday’s bonk into prospective, I completed today’s ride 23 minutes faster than Saturday’s. 23 MINUTES! Damn, that ride sure did suck.
It turns out when it comes to riding my bike I’m not completely stupid, I just do a LOT of stupid things that often make me really bad at riding my bike. Of course I do a lot of stupid things that make me really bad at a lot of other things too.