Its kindof ironic that my last post was on mental toughness, and Wes happened to comment on bonking with 30 miles to get back home and it nearly happened to me today. Todays ride was truly a test of my mental endurance.
Today I had a 4 hour ride on my schedule. I made the mistake of sleeping in. I had set my alarm for 5 AM, but turned it off when it rang and didnt reset it. Instead, I slept till almost 8. BIG MISTAKE I will never make that mistake again on a hot summer day. I began my ride at about 11 AM. I headed out to the Silver Comet, which is mostly flat, but there are alot of small hills and one big one on the 33 miles out to Rockmart and 33 Back. I have done this route a few times this year once or twice last year. When I did it last year I was peaking for the half and was able to average about 17 mph. This year, so far I can only seem average just over 15 about 30-40 minutes slower :(. Going the 33 miles out isnt bad. The two times I did it this year, my problem is making it back in.
Today was especially tough. Because I slept in, it was already over 80 when I started. Heading out wasnt too bad. I saw Wes as I was flyin downhill and he was o=heading back towards the start. I averaged more then 16.5 mph. When I reached the turnaround at Rockmart, I was in for one heck of a ride.
This is the profile for the course. The highlighted section is the climb back out of Rockmart. I never really realized it before, but you climb over 400 feet in the 7 miles out of Rockmart.
By the time I got past that climb, I was in bad shape. I didnt feel right. I wasnt sure if it was not enough fluids or electrolytes, but I new I needed to get more into my system ASAP. Luckily on the way out, I noticed there is a gas station not too far from where you cross the road when you get to Coots Lake Beach. I stopped there and picked up two gatorades. I drank one down and filled two of my bottles with the other. At that point, my legs were toast. I knew I had about 20 miles to go and I had to make it back. With Cathy out of town, there really wasnt anyone to come pick me up. Every little climb was tough. I could only manage about 12 mph.I kept telling myself I could do this, I had to do this. I took advantage of the downhills and flats when I could. By the last few miles, I was looking at every mileage sign trying to figure out how much I had left.I pushed through it and finished the ride back 20 minutes slower then the ride out. If the gas station hadnt been there, I probably would have bonked completely.
The most important thing I learned today is to not sleep in on those long ride days. It was so hot out on the way back .I think it was closer to 90. Even the little breeze I had was a warm one. I also need to better control my fluid/electrolyte intake. I think I will start taking my camelback in addition to my bottles. I brought my endurolyte caplets, but didnt start taking them until it was too late. While the perpeteum has enough calories, it does not have enough electrolytes. I may also start taking some gatorade with me as well to mix things up. It is good to know that the gas station is where it is. Thankfully, I had consciously got cash before I headed out so I had some on me.
With each ride, I know I am getting stronger. I look forward to when doing the 33 miles back is no longer a test of my mental toughness.