While Wifey has been out-of-town on .gov business this week I did everything a proper father/person should do, and that I do anyway (for the most part): Made all the meals, did laundry, got B to soccer practice, made sure his homework was done, mowed grass, did the shopping, did the dishes, took the trash out, ate properly, didn’t drink booze, smoke crack, shoot up, kill anyone or solicit prostitutes.
Given all that clean living I REALLY thought that I was up for a larger than usual (but not THAT large) multi-surface ride today. Sadly, my want to putz around taking photos, an unforeseen detour, a lack of on the bike nutrition, wind, deep sand, and higher than usual September temps turned me into a gelatinous heap of bonked suck praying for a passer-by to shoot me down like a gimp dog.
It all started so well; B-Man was fed and off to school, I was chowing granola, drinking coffee and formulating a work plan as I looked forward to rolling dirt and paved roads south of town. I planned on riding a little over 40 miles on the Boone and taking stashing the x100s in my newly acquired, not at all feminine, not at all Fred-like, not at all aerodynamic, bar bag (not a bar hag).
The roll south of town was OK, but featured a bit more traffic than usual due some traffic be routed on to dirt roads from a major paved artery under construction. Thankfully that didn’t last too long and soon enough I was rolling along happily… or at least as “happily” as someone like me can be.
There was pavement, there was dirt, there was gravel, there was more pavement, there were cops with M-16 rifles. What-WHAT? Yeah, you heard me, cops with machine guns.
I was rolling Freemont Road–a dirt road that I have ridden many times before–when I saw flashing lights ahead. I kept looking over my shoulder, fearing that– unbeknownst to me–I was in the cross fire of something. As I approached the coming intersection there were two cars, two sheriffs and two M-16 rifles. Based on news stories and what I’ve seen in the past rolling down that road, I knew why they were there before I even approached, but that didn’t stop me from talking to them.
Me: Hey, how you doing, what’s up?
Sheriff: Do you live down this road?
Me: No, I just ride out here, what’s going on?
Sheriff: Well, we have a “situation” going on, and you can’t go down this road.
Me: Oh, yeah, I think I know who you’re talking about, I’ve been past his house before, I figured this was coming.
Sheriff: (laughing) Yeah, well sorry.
Me: No worries, I can reroute, just be safe.
Sheriff: Thank’s, you have a good day.
So I continued on. Had I stayed the course I would have been on pavement with a tailwind at my back sooner rather than later, but as it turns out I was now riding down DEEP sand road, putting out power that a fat man like me should not have to put out, while sweating like a goddamn fool in the midday sun.
Before I go on, please keep in mind: I’m older, fatter, even slower and dumber than I used to be, a 35 ride is my norm and a 50 mile ride is a damn good day on the bike these days. With that said, what looked to be a 45 to 47 mile ride should be totally doable–even for me. Yet I found a way to fuck it up.
The time I spent putzing around with my new (to me) camera, talking to cops and looking over my shoulder for gun wielding militia kooks started to cut into my time. The day was getting warmer, the winds were getting stronger, the dirt roads were getting sandier and I slow…ing..dow…nnnn.
I had no gels or bars with me, just two bottles of water. I had blown through one bottle already and was into my second with about fifteen, mostly road, miles to go. I’ve gotten used to not needing much on my rides since they’re shorter now and I’ve learned to survive on plain old water and my fat reserves get me trough most rides. The problem with this ride is that I had a small bowl of granola and coffee two hours before I even left for the ride and I wasted a lot of time stopping to take pictures. Now four hours later and several miles of deep sand dirt roads later I was starving! Around this time I remembered the leftover beef and bean burrito waiting for me in the fridge when I got home. I was STOKED! Stoked, but still starving, dealing with hot sun, fighting the wind and running out of water.
My lips were getting dry and crusty, so I finished a long stretch of rolling pavement, turned onto a short section of dirt, stopped and drained the last drops of water from my bottles. I had just four miles to go. I had that almost forgotten taste of race bonk in my mouth that sort of tastes like a mixture of pre-puke, bile, salty sweat and hobo crotch. I looked down to see that my kit was covered in salt stains and thought about what an idiot I was. Then I headed off into the headwind to finish off the ride once and for all, fighting off cramps in my legs the whole way.
I’ve bonked in many, many, MANY races, and I’ve bonked on rides, but I usually had an excuse in the form of a hangover or poor sleep on those rides. As far as the race, I just sucked. This week I ate well, hydrated well, slept well and had only rode 25 miles the day before. Yet here I was wrecked from a mere 47 mile ride. I walked in the house, went straight to the fridge and grabbed a bottle of water and a Gatorade that didn’t even belong to me and started alternating chugs. I wanted to drink, eat, sleep and puke all at the same time.
It had now been over five hours since I last ate, yet the thought of the burrito I lusted for with fifteen miles to go made me want to gag. I showered, cooled down and forced the burrito down anyway and headed off to finally get all the things done that I need to do. I didn’t feel “right” until I got my hands on a the sugary, caffeinated goodness of a cold Cherry Pepsi. And I didn’t start to REALLY feel good until my belly got filled with a shit ton of pasta covered in homemade basil pesto later in the evening.
Despite the epic bonk I had three great days of riding and picture snapping. Wifey is due home from Baltimore Friday morning and there are thunderstorms in the forecast. My plan is to get some work done, hang out with Wifey and watch it rain with a beer in my hands later in the day.
If you read all this, you’re probably wondering why you did. Don’t worry, I’m wondering why I wrote it.