I woke up at 5 am to get my system going. Some coffee, a lot of water, some peanut butter toast. I can't eat much because I feel nauseas. I can't eat at 5am on a normal day. My body simply does not function at that time of day. Once, I worked at Starbucks. It was a great job with great people. My manager decided that I was doing such a good job, she would schedule me for the morning shift. The morning shift starts at 5:30 am, to prep everything to open at 6 am. Even back then, without knowing much about nutrition, I knew that I would be non-functional at that time of day. I recommended that she not schedule me for that time. I told her I was not being lazy, just that I would not be functional. She smiled and put me on the schedule anyway. The day of my first morning shift rolled around. I showed up on time and proceeded to attempt to function. I did not do so well, and she never scheduled me for that shift again.
So, we loaded up and headed to Mars Hill. Check-in , registraton, rider's meeting, start. Off the line the pace was hot. I was 45 riders from the front. At the first turn, I saw Andy and Cara Applegate, 2008 Tandem RR National Champions leading, I hung with that group for 30 minutes. My idea was to push a little harder, get some fast pulls and get a jump start on the day. First mistake. I should not have gone out that fast. ( I have trouble learning that lesson). I didn't realize that until later.
I felt fine, for the first 50 miles. I felt good going up the 6 miles of Doggett Mtn, a really cool winding road that I want to ride again. 1 hour into the ride and the temp was already hot. I was dripping sweat which is good. One of my new strategies is to drink everytime I think about drinking. Even if I glance down at the water bottle, I drink. I'm trying to make this more of a habit. I'm also trying to empty my two 20oz bottles between rest stops. I came close to this in the first 50 miles.
I rolled into Hot Springs, which is the half way point. Rhonda and Jubal were there waiting and we talked about how hot is was getting. There is a 2 mile climb out of Hot Springs where I started to falter. I had drunk an energy shake at Hot Springs and by the 2 mile climb was over, I was already hungry, I should have eaten a PB & J. I continued on. On the next climb I cramped. It was my left inner thigh. I stopped, streched, rode, drank. I remembered the first 30 minutes, and realized I should have gone out slower. I really need to ride my own ride/ race my own race.
On the climb to the final rest stop, I bonked. I made the mistake of trying to make it to the next rest stop before eating. I need to add, " eat now" to my " drink now" strategy. I guess it has finally dawned on me that with my faster speeds, I am putting in more effort, which in turn means that what has worked in the past, will not work now. " Eat now, Drink now".
I got to the last rest stop at Sam's Gap. The sun was blazing, but the air was cooler, and I was still sweating. 15 miles to go. 2 miles downhill at 40 mph.
Up until this point I had been drinking NUUN and water. No Gu2O. I figured I would switch it up and have GU2O for the remainder of the ride instead of NUUN. I thought the extra carbs and calories in the sports drink would be helpful. After getting halfway up the next hill with 10 miles to go, I took a couple of swigs of GU2O. 30 seconds later, WHAM, a wave of nausea. I had not felt nauseas up to this point. I had felt hungry, tired, cramped, but not nauseas. So, it must be the GU2O that is part of the problem. Now I have a useless bottle of sports drink that I don't dare use.
I get off my bike in some shade, stand there for a few minutes, get on , ride uphill some more. Stop again. I take a swig of the water bottle that has plain water, and it tastes really funny, not pleasant at all, and it is difficult to drink. By this time I am not sweating, and I should be dripping. I decide to call it a day and start looking for a SAG vehicle. Grant Grosch comes around the corner, but his car is already full. People are dropping like flies. Grant tells me he'll be back in 15 minutes. I say cool and sip that funny tasting water. I get on and ride a little more, and then I start sweating!!! Then I sip a little more and keep riding. 5 miles to go, Grant comes back, but I refuse to stop at this point. I keep going, and manage to make it across the line in 6:52.
I didn't get either of my goals but I definitely learned a little bit more about my body and what I need:
-I'm through with GU2O for longer rides. I'll drink it on a 30 miler but that's it. I'm not sure if it the sugar of what, but I'm going to cut out all sports drinks.( for now anyway)
-NUUN rocks. It always tasted fresh, and never really got old. I should not have switched it out at the last rest stop. I'll keep using it.
-" Eat Now, Drink Now". That's my new mantra.
The Off-Road Assault on Mt Mitchell is in 2 weeks. I'm looking forward to that. I'm looking forward to trying my new mantra and racing my own race.
Fool's Gold 100 is in 4 weeks. I'm considering only doing the 50 mile option. But, I know I can do 50. I want to do 100 miles, and do it well. The 100 miler is the 50 mile loop 2 times, so it will be logistically easy to bail after 1 lap if temps go crazy hot, or any other reason.
I now have 2-3 days off the bike to recover. What am I gonna do with all that extra time?
Have a great day.