…has got up and went.
It’s been a good week for riding, but today reminded me of what happens when I try to go too far beyond my typical training regimen.
The B’s were looking forward to a run to Creedmoor. That’s 36-mile round trip, and would have been just right for most of us. It would be a long enough ride, but not too long. That’s important when you consider that the temperatures will rise into the 90s (32-35C) quickly after the overnight low only got down to about 75 (24C).
We sort of stayed with the A’s until about three miles into the ride, when they veered off onto a road we haven’t taken before on club rides. The B’s didn’t follow, but continued on our route. At the next light, we caught up to several A’s who had jumped out ahead of the pack, and missed the turn. They had to scramble to try to intercept or catch up to the main body.
Meanwhile, we had an uneventful run, with only one minor incident: An oncoming car laid on his horn. Why, no one could figure out. We were two abreast in our lane with no cars behind us. This guy had the road all to himself. Asshat.
As we approached Creedmoor, I could feel myself flagging. I had done that Fourth of July ride the other day, and then Saturday I did a route of about 20 miles, but with lots of hills — some of them pretty tough. Now, I watched as the rest of the B’s became little dots on the horizon, and I didn’t feel particularly interested in trying to catch them.
At the convenience store in Creedmoor, I joked that Buddy had used the facilities, bought some Gatorade, and almost finished the bottle by the time I got there. But I think everyone was happy for a break. The heat had moved in already, and we were all drenched in sweat.
When it was time to leave, I made sure everyone knew the turn we needed to take. “The road turns right 90 degrees,” I said, “and then you bear right almost immediately. I want to make sure you know that, because you’ll be way ahead of me.”
Sure enough, I was dropped coming out of the parking lot. They scampered off in the distance, while I pedaled steadily, just putting miles under my wheels, but not trying to catch them. The sun beating down on my back was wearing me out.
Just before reaching I-35, I could see Buddy ahead of me. I held out my arm to signal that I would be pulling into another convenience store lot. He apparently didn’t see me, and kept going. I stopped anyway.
I got not one, but two full bottles of ice water, and went through both of them. I finished a Luna bar that Maggie had given me back at the first rest stop. And I rested. I’d come less than 10 miles since Creedmoor, but I was done.
The route isn’t terribly hilly, but there are some good rollers. And I knew that on the way back, I’d have to climb Davis Hill from the backside. That prospect didn’t appeal to me at all.
So I made an executive decision. Slaughter Lane has a bike lane almost all the way back to the Starbucks. It’s seven miles, and Slaughter is a four-lane divided street with heavy traffic that likes to exceed the speed limit. Just the kind of road I hate to ride on. But it was a straight shot back, and would probably cut about two miles off our regular route.
At one point on that stretch, I could tell just how tuckered out I was, when the front tire went into the gutter, and rubbed against the slightly raised asphalt as I corrected the steering. The asphalt was just high enough about the gutter that the edge grabbed the wheel, and I thought for a terrifying instant that I would fall over, into the traffic lane. Bye-bye Ray.
I recovered, and redoubled my efforts to stay with it. I did get the rest of the way to Starbucks, where everyone was enjoying their drinks on the patio.
It turned out that they did some bonus miles. Buddy was far enough behind them that he couldn’t tell them the correct turn at a certain point, and instead of going south, they went north. By the time they’d figured out where they went wrong, they had to add about four miles to their trip.
For me, this was an annual reminder. I seem to get caught riding too far, too long, without a) enough base mileage, or b) enough rest. Our good riding in Texas happens in the spring and fall anyway. Forget summer. For the next month or two, I’ll ride within myself, and when September comes, think about piling on some more mileage. In the meantime, I’ll make sure I’m as diligent about taking my rest days as I am about my ride days.
Good advice. People often ask me how long it takes to get back to normal after a long ride. I find that the real challenge is many days in the saddle without a break. I wear down and finally don’t have anything left in my legs.
I know that feeling. Right now, our 5AM Wake-Up Ride group is doing a ‘Tour De France’ challenge with several of us riding every day the tour rides. That is also the reason you saw me put in a couple of rides in Austin, even though I was technically on vacation. In any case, all of the folks doing that challenge are just happy today is a rest day 😀