“See ya,” I called to my wife as I left for the Sunday club ride.
“What did you have for breakfast?” she asked.
“Coupla pieces of toast and jelly, orange juice and coffee,” I replied.
“That’s not enough,” she said. “You need more.”
“It was fine yesterday,” I answered. “Did 30 miles [really 28] with no trouble.”
She looked doubtful, but I headed out.
Now, I usually do eat a decent breakfast on club ride days. But our stove was on the fritz today, and I couldn’t do my usual eggs. I had been pleased the previous day that toast and coffee fueled me adequately for my ride that included some decent little hills. I figured I’d just repeat that today.
The club ride was deliberately routed south and east, to avoid traffic. The Republic of Texas — or ROT — Rally is in town this weekend. It’s a huge motorcycle event, and we wanted to avoid roads that we knew would get heavy motorcycle use.
We made a tight-knit peloton as we rode through suburban streets to get out to the main ride area. Twenty-one riders showed up today. We didn’t schedule a separate B ride, although about five or six B riders were in the group — we just went as one big club ride. Although the A’s separated from us on the road to Buda, they waited at a parking lot there and we all regrouped.
The ride leader took us through some Buda streets we hadn’t used before, so we got a look at some new stuff (Frankly, not much to see). We rolled down a side street at about a 17 mph pace, and Laura regaled me with a story about some bubbas who once took a swing at her former husband with brass knuckles, when he protested their pickup passing too close to him while he was on his bike. The cops — WHAM! Up ahead in the pack, a rider lost control and took a bad spill. We all stopped, and avoided any more mishaps. The fallen rider was Donald, whose front wheel had apparently nipped the rear wheel of the bike ahead of him.
We milled around making concerned noises as Donald checked himself out. He didn’t look to be too much the worse for wear.
“Are you bloody?” asked Mike, who just happens to be an emergency room doctor.
“Bloody mad,” replied Donald, our resident Brit, in his best received English accent.
Donald had some derailleur issues, and had to nurse his bike back home. We continued on. I noted with some satisfaction that I had done the 15-mile ride to Buda faster than I ever had before. I’m not crazy about riding in a pack, for the very thing that happened to Donald, but I had to admit that the group does pull one along nicely.
Out in the country, passing slapped-up apartment complexes, double-wides, and an occasional nice housing development, we hit some extended rollers. I was in my customary position, at the back of the pack, but feeling good. However, I could see I was not going to acquit myself well on the rollers today.
I crested a hill, only to see dots in the distance. I was falling farther behind the group on every ascent. By the time the route started turning, I had to stop to fish the cue sheet out of my pocket and see which way to turn. My speed was falling fast. I knew of a convenience store up ahead, and made a beeline for it (if you consider riding slow enough to be passed by a guy in everyday clothes on a hybrid to be making a beeline for anything).
At the store, I plopped on a bench, downed an energy gel, and ate part of a Clif Bar. I finished off one bottle of water and started on another. I just happened to look up, and saw a bunch of our B riders pass by. Ah ha! I knew what happened — they had diverged from the written cue sheet and gone to the store in Creedmoor to refill water bottles. I got my stuff together as quickly as possible in hopes of catching up to them.
It wasn’t to be. The caffeine-laced GU gel gave me a boost for a short time, but I got stuck at two stoplights, and they were already around a corner well ahead. I pedaled on alone, slower and slower. Finally, just a mile from the finish, I stopped in the shade of a large tree and sat on the curb. I remembered the bonk feeling — physically, I felt all right, but I was simply unable to turn the pedals. I finished off my Clif Bar and my water, and finally got back up on the bike. I made it to Starbucks, where Donald was telling the group about his fall.
I took stock of my situation. The toast I’d had the day before was spread with peanut butter, which no doubt provided a little extra nourishment for a ride that lasted less than two hours. The toast I had today was spread with strawberry jelly. Good, but not enough to sustain me for a 42-mile ride.
When I reached the house, Pat told me she’d had a great ride — after making herself a breakfast of oatmeal. She got the stove to work, too, jack of all trades that she is. I took a two-hour nap.
I know better — I’ve even visited this topic in the past. I pledge to eat better before rides from here on out. What do you recommend for breakfast?