Saturday, Mrs. Noob and I are entering our first organized ride of the year. We’re going to do the LBJ 100 in Stonewall, Texas, on the ranch of former President Lyndon B. Johnson. Pat’s doing the 30-miler, I’m doing the 65. (There’s no 100-mile ride. It’s called the LBJ 100 because the inaugural event was in 2008, what would have been LBJ’s 100th year.)
Anyhow, I got to thinking about previous organized rides I’ve been on. One of the attractions has always been the rest stops. They’re usually spaced just far enough apart that about the time you’re ready for a break from pedaling, you come upon one. They’re a chance to stop, stretch your legs, maybe sit in the shade and rest, if need be, and replenish your stores from the selection of food the rest stop volunteers put out for you.
I’ll almost always grab the chunks of banana, or maybe an orange wedge. Once in a while, I’ll take one of those little peanut butter & jelly sandwiches. There’s usually a nice selection of salty snacks, like goldfish, or pretzels, or potato chips — not all that good for you nutritionally, but they replace the salts you lose through perspiration.
However, a lot of riders I know skip most of the rest stops. On a 65-miler like I’m doing, they may stop at one, and that’s mainly to refill their water bottles. Then, they’re back on their bikes and down the road.
Oh, they replenish. They usually pack their own food in their jersey pockets. So they can grab an energy bar of some kind, maybe a banana of their own, or some pre-packed trail mix type stuff they brought from home.
Their concern is that they waste too much time at rest stops, and could just as well eat in the saddle, and eat stuff that they know will agree with them.
After several years’ experience with organized rides, I’m starting to come around to that way of thinking. I used to spend way too much time at rest stops, to the point of having cooled down and requiring some easy warmup pedaling once I got back on the bike. Rest stops usually pop up every 12-14 miles or so, and I’m used to going much farther than that without stopping, on my longer weekend rides. I suspect that this weekend, I’ll stop for only three out of the six stops on the route. I’ll keep my time to the bare minimum, refilling my bottles, grabbing some food, but not a lot, and getting going again.
What’s your take? Do you welcome the breaks in the ride? Do you partake of rest stop food, or do you bring your own? And if so, what?