Monday, June 29, 2009

2009 Cow Creek Country Classic Ride

(or How I Discovered What Dehydration
and Debilitating Cramps Feel Like)

Let me start with a few observations about myself.

First, I am not a cyclist. I ride my bike a few times a year, mostly 100km or century rides. But I don’t train. That is not an exaggeration. When it comes to cycling: I. Do. Not. Train.

Second, I am out of shape. Since ultramarathon season ended a few months ago, I’ve run here and there and lifted, but I am nowhere near as fit as I was back in February. My conditioning has me, to quote Paul Simon, “soft in the middle now.”

Third, I have an inflated self-image when it comes to my endurance abilities. I tend to overestimate my capacity to cover long distances in less than desirable conditions.

Now, keeping all three observations in my mind, choosing to participate in a 100 mile bike ride in June in North Texas during a red ozone alert and 100+ degree heat might—just might—NOT have been the best decision.

I met up with pAppy and The Flying Pumpkin at the Waxahachie Ninth Grade Academy about 15 minutes before the start of the ride. TFP has been hammering it pretty steadily for awhile, and his cycling endurance these days is impressive. The two of us were set for the 100; pAppy was going for 36 miles. (yawn)

10 miles into the ride, TFP had already zoomed ahead. I resigned myself to hanging back, taking it easy. After 20 miles, I was averaging around 15 mph, including rest stops. It was hot, but I was sucking down water and Gatorade. Two bottles and 1.5 liter Nathan pack were there to ensure that I didn’t run out of water.

At mile 40, we veered southwest. The temperatures were beginning to soar. Fatigue was setting in. After mile 50, I convinced TFP to knock down the 100 to a 75 mile attempt. No complaints.

At the mile 62 rest stop, TFP motored past me. I took some extra time and decided I needed a few more calories. “We got hotdogs! Anybody want a hotdog?” Well, sure, I thought, why not a hotdog? Sounds good.

This was not a wise decision.

Five miles later, I found myself on the side of Highway 77, retching away. The hotdog and all other contents of my stomach soon splattered on the asphalt shoulder as 18 wheelers whizzed by. I was nauseous, dehydrated, and just all around ugh. I tried to ride, but my legs teetered on the edge of complete cramping.
So I walked.
And walked.
After about ten minutes, I tried to ride again. It was slow, but I was moving. I took a swig of Gatorade only to spit it immediately up. Not good. 14 miles to go, and I couldn’t keep fluids down.
Let me emphasize: NOT. GOOD.

Somehow, I made it back to the start/finish. I was a bit woozy. I took a quick shower, forced myself to chug a bottle of water, and got back in the car for the 45 minute drive to Fort Worth. Famished (remember, I'd thrown up everything in my stomach and then some), I made my way to Chic-fil-a to pick up some chicken nuggets.
Anybody want to take a guess about what happened a few minutes later?
Here’s a hint—bleh, bleh, bleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeh! Oh yes, my friends. I had to pull over on the side of Highway 287 to yet again hurl.

All puked out and exhausted, I finally got to the house, where I collapsed on the couch. Thank goodness I’m home and it’s done, right?

For some reason, my right inner thigh decided to spasm and lock up on me. Pain. Pain. Pain. After I massaged it out, I drank 60 or so ounces of Nuun and another 60 or so ounces of water. Sometime around 5 p.m., my body eventually normalized.

So… uh… all in all, it kinda sucked.

But no worries, amigos. I still made it up for a 5 mile run with Ezra the next morning. I.I.T.S.


Mark said...

Oh lordy, that does not sound like fun. Makes me want to go home and spit on my bike :-)

pAppy said...

Methinks thou should have joined me for the 36-mile ride. It was, relatively speaking, quite pleasant. It also would have allowed you to join me for Sunday's 18-mile run.


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