Epic Fail

So today things didn’t go as planned.  But first there was a chicken in my back yard this morning.  Weird. 

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.

You can see that my heart rate didn't want to slow down in hte last hour of the ride, the heat was getting to me.

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.

This hill looked to be nearly vertical.

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. 

Early in the ride I'm feeling pretty good.

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. 

I'm starting to feel the heat a bit to intensely at this point..

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. 

Sweet Camo glasses.

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.


About Matt Gholson

Cycling, school teaching, husband.
This entry was posted in lifestyle, Rides, Stories, training and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Epic Fail

  1. Steve says:

    Wow, after failures 1 through 7, I think I would have just gone back to bed. You attempted a PR for a century. Congrats on the attempt and the still very good time!

    Please be careful with the heat, though. Throwing up water is a clear sign of heat injury. You probably should have found some shade (or an air conditioned building) and rested a bit. Glad to see you made it home safely.

  2. Ondrew says:

    You are one tough dude. Way to rise above mediocrity and just go for it. You should celebrate the effort. Well done!

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