Recipe for two of the worst rides ever

Fair warning, I’m going to whine about two of the worst rides that I’ve ever had (one of which was totally my fault, but at least I learned a lesson. Now granted, it’s a lesson that only a complete moron would need to learn, but it was a lesson learned nonetheless.)

Before I get into that though, some really fantastic news: I have reached and slightly exceeded my fundraising goal of $2500 with a bit under a month to go before the ride. Huge, huge thanks to all of you who contributed and to those of you who made it out to the fundraiser last week at Mellow Mushroom (and huge thanks again to Mellow for hosting). If you’ve not contributed yet but still want to, don’t let the fact that I met my initial goal stop you. Your contributions are still gladly accepted! (Click the Donate link at the top right of this page to contribute). So that’s one major goal achieved (and quite frankly THE most important goal that I set), with another one looming over the horizon.

If you missed the Mellow fundraiser, you missed watching me eat this awesome spinach salad with hummus. Yum.

So anyway, let the whining commence. I got on the trainer last Wednesday sporting a massive sinus headache, not wanting to miss my intervals ride that day and somewhat naively thinking that maybe I could ride out the large anvil positioned on my sinuses. I won’t bore you with the details here, but this didn’t happen. Michelle reminded me of the old axiom that you exercise through sickness or pain from the neck down, but submit and skip the exercise if those afflictions are from the neck up. I always kind of regarded that as one of those old wives tales, like taking only the prescribed amount of medication listed on the bottle or paying attention to expiration dates on dairy products.

Alas, I was wrong, but somehow finished the hour ride. Now granted, I wanted to remove my own head with a scythe the rest of the night, but I took some solace in not giving up. I did, however, decide to skip my ride the next day, which was probably wise. My head is still attached at least.

Friday was a teacher work day at the boys’ school (which was in effect their first day of spring break) that we had somehow forgotten about, so I had to take a day off work to watch after the lads. It was such a great day out that we made the executive decision to head out to Epcot and enjoy the warm, sunny spring day. You should know that I had planned to take a long ride early the next day, so keep this in mind for later. (Cue sinister music foreshadowing later sinister events.)

If you know anything about Epcot you know that far and away the best thing to do there is have a couple of fine adult beverages, walk around, and people watch. You might also know that the Boardwalk sits right outside the back entrance to Epcot and has these surrey bikes that you rent and ride a roughly one mile path passing the Swan and Dolphin and Yacht and Beach hotels on the Disney property. This path has not one but two fairly steep hills that wouldn’t be much of a problem riding on an actual bicycle, but these surrey bikes are little more than glorified tricycles with seats to hold lots of dead weight to enhance your riding experience. They are also crowded with other people walking, you you never really get a chance to build up any momentum to help you get up the hill.  I took the boys for a couple of laps on one of these and swore never to do it again until they were old enough to help pedal. Walking around the paths with both of them strapped to my back would have been easier.

They are lucky that they are cute. If you can't tell by my expression, I wasn't a happy camper at this point.

So, with calves burning nicely we hit the park, remembering that it was the annual Pollen Festival, otherwise known as the Flower and Garden Show. Great, just what an allergy sufferer needs. It did make for some nice scenery, though I’m still trying to figure out how this thing isn’t sponsored by Claritin or some other allergy med producer. A serious marketing opportunity is being missed.

The lads with Buzz and Woody.

Doesn't every back yard have a giant chimpanzee sand sculpture?

Pretty flowers. I sneezed literally 3 seconds after taking that picture.

Anyway, I had the forethought to call ahead and make a reservation at the Chefs de France for lunch, so after a couple of laps around the park we sat down for a very tasty lunch, but one that would do me no favors the next day. (What, you mean lobster bisque, a shared cheese and fruit plate, wine and a creme brulee aren’t optimal riding fuel? Really?)


After a few more hours of breathing in the concentrated pollen, we stopped to listen to a couple of songs from the Guess Who, playing as part of the concert series that accompanies the Flower and Garden show. Surprisingly, they were pretty good, especially when you consider the average age of the crowd. Not to say that the crowd at one of these shows skews a bit old, but it is the only rock show I’ve seen that has what appears to be a large section set aside for Jazzies and other power chairs. (during a very funky version of American Woman this section beeped their “get the **** out of my horns” in unison. Maybe.) I failed to get a photo of this because I was too busy taking pictures like this and killed my phone battery.

That's a shirt for my beloved Manchester City, people! You know your club has hit the big time when their merch is for sale in the UK gift shop.

Given this day of mini-gluttony and all around poor choices (including not a whole of sleep), it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that my planned long ride (I was hoping for 65-70 miles) was shortened dramatically. My head was killing me again thanks to the pollen, I was immediately dehydrated despite drinking a near obscene amount of water (just FYI, no amount of water can combat lobster bisque), and I bonked after 20 miles thanks to a lovely 15 mph headwind. I threw in towel and marked the whole things down as a lesson learned, underscoring the importance of maintaining at least a semblance of proper nutrition in the final weeks before the ride and, most importantly for me at least, getting enough sleep. More than any other factor, a bad night of sleep or two really affects me, so I’m making a point of getting to bed by 11:00 at the latest, even if I don’t plan to ride the next day.

The real lesson here from this rambling 1000+ post of course is that, as always, I’m an idiot. Oh well. Had a good day with the kids at least.



Posted on March 28, 2012, in Cycling, Food and Drink, The Dad Life, The Sporting Life and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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