Sunday, August 25, 2013
The day started with the fog lifting nicely, a cool breeze and a bunch of fun people. I wasn't there to have fun though, I was there to test my race fitness and try something a little different. Ok, I was there to have fun too.
I decided that since this is a supported ride with rest stops, I would try to ride without a Camelbak. I would carry two bottles on the bike and a smaller one as a back up in my jersey pocket.
After the raffle we rolled out. The group of juniors rolled off the front and I settled into my pace. I rode with Patrick for a little while then Joe and Chris. Chris and I passed each other the rest of the day. We had very similar pacing.
I don't know the names of all the trails out at dupont, but I do know that after a big loop somewhere, we rode down Ridgeline, then up Jim Branch. After that, everything is a blur.
The first hour and I was eating and drinking fine and feeling great. The temps were not high but the humidity was. I was pushing my pace a little bit to see what I could sustain over time. This sport is about trial and error but it in endurance events, you don't realize the error until 3 hrs into the ride. It is difficult to find what works and what doesn't for that reason.
The first hour and 12 miles rolled by. I was cruising. We had not yet done a lot of climbing though. At the start of the second hour, I realized I wasn't having much fun. I thought about the 20 folks wearing tutus, taking their time. If I didn't have somewhere to be, I would have stopped and waited for them. Climbing up the gravel rd and turning onto the airstrip, I realized that I should have emptied at least one bottle by now. I had only taken in about half of one and not nearly enough of the second. I chugged most of the water out of one bottle and I'm pretty sure that messed up my system for the rest of the day.
I grabbed a sandwich, refilled the bottle and kept pedaling. Lots of tight, twisty single track, up and over a mountain and I was at aid station 2. 2 hrs had come and gone and I was not feeling great. Not terrible, just not great. I was able to keep the pedals spinning, but my heartrate was low, I had a headache and the glare of the sun was annoying. 2 out of 3 negative symptoms.
I continued on, around the loop and back through the I-9 rest stop. I grabbed a little cup of trail mix to eat as I rode. 200 yrds later, with a mouth full of half chewed trailmix causing me to gag, I had flash backs to the Alleghany Mountains Loop trip I did about a month ago. I knew at that point that the goal for the rest of the day would be to minimize damage and make it out alive.....
Only 20 miles left to go, I can do it. I prayed for strength and wisdom. I sipped, and ate some gels. Grinding my way to the 3rd aid station I greeted Karen and the Neuberts. I estimated that I had 10-15 miles left. I felt ok, and was able to eat some more sandwich. I had been snacking on my Fritos (which I accidentally dopped and a local photog got a great picture of) but they were not bringing me back as they had done in the past.
Chris N was trying to get in position to snap a photo, but I didn't have the patience at the time to wait for him. Sorry, Chris.
The farther I rode, the more of a blur the ride was. I was riding down an awesome trail that should have been a blast but it wasn't. I was feeling ok, then suddenly bouncing down the trail around a switchback, nauseousness hit with a fury. I stopped, took some deep breathes and managed not to puke. There was a small creek running across the trail and I sat in it. Dousing my arms, legs torso and dripping some onto my head. I sat for just a couple of minutes and started shivering almost uncontrollably. I wanted to lay there and fall asleep, but knowing that I could send myself into shock fairly quickly, I got back on the bike and continued on.
Riding down the rest of the hill, I was shivering but it felt so good.
A couple more climbs, a stream crossing or two, I can't remember and then to forest opened up into the Guion Farms parking lot. What a relief. No sprint finish, just a grind up to the pavilion to tell Jon Cartwright thanks, grab a half cold Coke and then on to the truck to change and head back home.
4.5 hrs, 39.5 miles ( I skipped the Poplar Trl Loop)
Another good day on the bike, another lesson learned.
Thanks Pisgah Area Sorba for helping us keep our trails open!!
Posted by Stephen at 9:32 AM