Fail #1: The rail-trail ride I had planned with some co workers collapsed. I kind of expected this.
Fail #2: I left at 5:30 with Super-T for a 45 mile hilly ride. 2 miles into the ride I had a flat when I grazed a large rock on the side of the road. My sidewall was cut and the tire was ruined. I decided to patch the tube and just go home.
Fail #3: About a mile from home my patched tube blew and I rode it in on the flat.
Fail #4: While putting another tire on my hand slipped and I cut it on one of my bladed spokes. Not that bad but it would hurt the rest of the day.
Fail #5: The tube I used had a short stem and I couldn’t put my pump on it, got to go through all that crap again.
Fail #6: Walking back down the stairs with my bike shoes on I fell and landed on my rear end. Didn’t get hurt, but it was starting to feel like one of those days.
Fail #7: I left the house with two bottles of water and some snacks at 7:30AM. I had no specific plan and was wondering if I should even ride, it seemed like things weren’t going my way. The wind was out of the South so I rode South. I seemed to be feeling pretty well and I began to think of a riding a century. I’ve had an idea to see if I could ride a century in under 6 hours all summer. Today seemed like a good day for it since I was on my own and had no other commitments.
I knew I needed to average about 16.6 mph and keep stops to a bare minimum to make it. I was going to do this on flat terrain but I was heading south into the hills and just went with it. Things were going well and at 3 hours, ten minutes I had ridden 50 miles. I was about ten minutes off the pace but I expected I would pick it up on the flatter terrain of the last 25 miles and the tail wind.
I stopped for water at New Burnside at 52 miles and met a fellow rider who was om the rail trail. We talked for a while and I explained my goal of riding 100 miles in 6 hours then I realized the clock was running and I was using up precious time. The rider was very interested on doing some riding with me and Terry, but wasn’t in the shape to come with me today. I explained my haste and we exchanged contact information for the future.
I haven’t mentioned the heat because up to this point it hadn’t been a problem, but it was now closing in on 11:00 and I was beginning to feel it. I drank 2 bottles in the first 2 hours and 2 bottles in the last hour and I couldn’t seem to get enough to drink. The hills felt like there were getting steeper and I realized that even though I had turned back to the North I was still feeling head wind. My pace was slowing down even though I felt like I was working harder.
I realized I had now ridden 4 hours and covered about 60 miles, which meant I had 2 hours remaining to cover 40 miles, even in perfect conditions I couldn’t do it. Even if I didn’t count the 15 minutes of stops I had made so far I couldn’t do it. I changed routes and set a direct course back to Harrisburg.
By noon I was starting to feel some of the signs of heat exhaustion. I wasn’t sweating, I had felt cold even though I was burning up and I was tingling now and again, the worse part was that the water I was drinking was comming back up. I had to slow back my pace even more, which wasn’t a big deal now that I wasn’t trying to make a sub 6, but I desperately wanted to get home out of the sun and heat.
When I made my final turn to the East for the last 15 miles I was stunned to find more headwind. A SouthWestern morning wind had become a North Eastern afternoon wind. Despite the symptoms of heat exhaustion I wasn’t worried. I’ve been here before, I’ve been far worse. I have to tell myself a little more often that the only way to finish is to not stop, and that the only way to cool off is to get home. I saw a bike tourist in the West bound lane pulling a trailer and cruising, I wonder if he has gotten used to living in the oppressive heat, is it something you can get used to? I wished I had remembered to pick up some sun glasses, then I found a crappy pair on the side of the road. I also found another insulated Polar water bottle on the side of the road, SWEET! So yeah I left with no glasses, and no sun screen this morning, not real smart.
I finished the 83 mile ride in about 5 hours 30 minutes. I recovered nicely after cooling off and drinking lots of water and diet soda. I’m going to give a sub 6 another shot sometime before I go back to work, but I’m going to try a less hilly route.