Half century ride
I finished a 50 mile ride yesterday, and was so dang excited about it that I posted this about 15 seconds after I finished. Quite frankly that is about as much as I can accomplish using the WordPress mobile app, and I butchered the font and picture size pretty badly, but maybe that was just the lack of oxygen that was reaching my brain at the time. Anyway, thanks to the magic of the “Edit” button, it’s all nice and shiny and formatted.
So, how was it? Well, it wasn’t that bad really. It was easily the hardest thing I’ve attempted athletically since I was in high school (but let’s not kid ourselves, the list of my athletic accomplishments in the last 20 years is not a long one), but it wasn’t impossible. It’s a big milestone for me though because I had mentally set this as the first real test of whether or not I’d be able to do the full MS 150. In my head I know that, even if everything else goes south or for some reason I’m genetically limited to riding 50 miles, at least I can finish the minimum course of the ride. And if you had told me this time last year I’d ride 50 miles in one go I would have asked you what medication you were currently taking and can I please, please have some.
I also learned a few things along the way, since I tried to approach this exactly the same way I would the actual ride.
- The PBJ is still definitely going to be my in-ride fuel of choice. Popping one half of those about every 20 miles seems to do the trick. I’m going to have to up my pre-ride meal a bit though, as the yogurt/Grape Nuts combo isn’t quite getting the job done fully, so I’m going to add a banana or a bit more cereal to the equation and see how that works out. Right now though by the time I get to that first 20 mile PBJ I’m pretty much running on empty.
- I used my CamelBak hydration pack, which holds about 70 ounces of water, and it was totally worth it. I’ll definitely be bringing CamelBak on all of my longer training rides. (You see what I did there, “bringing CamelBak?” Get it? What, you didn’t like that? I think I stole that from Paula anyway so blame her for the bad Timberlake pun.)
- I’m still loving my new Specialized seat, the Avatar Comp Gel, but not as much as…
- …the new love of my life, my Sugoi RS shorts, the single most comfortable thing I’ve worn, ever. Seriously, these things are fan-freaking-tastic and I may buy a couple more pairs to wear around all the time, not just while biking. That’s normal, right?
As for the ride itself, I started off at the far end of the Little Econ Greenway, and immediately tackled an old nemesis without so much as shifting gears, another sign of how far I’ve come since I started training. After blasting up the hill I was feeling great and the first 17 miles or so were absolutely fantastic, until I hit the far end of the Cady Way Trail and turned back into what I realized was now a steady headwind. Nothing crazy, but a pretty consistent 10 mph or so. Just enough to make things harder for the next 10 miles.
Everything was pretty uneventful until I ticked past 40 miles. At that point I really started to drag a bit and was really feeling it for the first time. Miles 40-45 were bad, my friends, but once I got past 45 miles and into uncharted territory the excitement of finding out whether or not the GPS would actually register a 5 in the tens space got me through pretty well (I credit the PBJ at mile 40 and the fact that, well, I’m just pretty awesome. Man, I almost typed that with a straight face), and I definitely think I had a few more miles left in me, which is a good sign for the future.
I immediately went home and bathed in about 6 pounds of Icy Hot (seriously, if you can buy stock in this stuff you might think about doing so between now and late April) and took not one but two naps the rest of the day. There’s something oddly comforting and soothing about falling asleep with the smell of menthol pain medication permeating the air. Or maybe that’s just me.
So, that’s another big milestone down, and hopefully not the last before April.