Monday, October 19, 2009

Seconds from Disaster

Well, my 200k in September was so unexpectedly hard that it has taken me 3 weeks to even write about it. The same day Graeme was going through the VT50 I went to Melbourne FL to do a 200k. It should have been fine but somehow so many little things added up to a 125 mile day of suffering starting at mile 20.

We started on Wickham Parkway in Melbourne on a route that looked like a bow tie and mainly went North South . . . with a good breeze from the west. We had a tail wind for the first 1.25 miles and then turned south. It was a noticeable cross wind for the three of us starting out. Then there was the 20 miles of A1A- uggghhh. Now I know why everyone down there fights about it- bicyclists against motorists. Anyway, it was getting pretty warm by mile 28 and we stopped at a convenience store. It was a longer stop than I cared for but both the guys I was with seemed chatty. Oh well, 20 minute stop. At mile 50 we had checkpoint 3 with a headwind in between. Another 20 minutes plus of a stop waiting for one guy who was suffering. Turned out he dropped off and headed for the start shortly after we took off.

We faced a long, straight, hot road with no shade and nothing for 13 miles after that stop- at midday, humidity and heat that made it feel like 105 degrees. At one point I said to my riding buddy "well we are halfway done!". If we had been lesser individuals with less desire to reach our goals I think both of us would have called a cab right there.

From there the rest of the day is a blur of wind, heat, and pain. On the way to the northern turnaround it rained a little. Even with the respite from the heat and sun, we were hard pressed to ride above 16 mph.

If you have ever seen the show Seconds from Disaster that was the story of that day. There is almost never one single thing that contributes to some catastrophe, but a series of events that aligns to create a disaster. This was not a disaster as the two of us finished, but it was one of the absolute hardest rides I have ever done.

The night before I had to run errands and when I got home I was busy. I realized that it was 9:30pm and I had not eaten. I thought "Oh well, I will eat in the morning". I didn't eat before the drive out there, ate a souffle from Panera Bread right before leaving, and could not have planned to mess up my nutrition any better.

I also could not sleep the night before. I got a couple of hours but when I woke at 1:30am I never really went back to sleep. I had been caring for a very sick little puppy and I was worried about her. Mental Fatigue and stress. As evidenced by the fact that my period was late and chose that day to start. Sigh.

As the 9th of my 200k's en route to my R-12 I thought I had it all down and could just roll out of bed and knock out a long ride. Yeah, maybe a little more prep time and effort, especially mental would have been better.

Another lesson learned about taking thing for granted. The weather has gotten cooler here in Florida so hopefully the next one will really be a beautiful ride. I expect I will be able to write about that one right away instead of having to wait for the experience to fade a little before reliving it!