The last training ride before the MS ride next weekend, and this one really hurt. About 70 miles, it had all the hills of the 60 miler from last week, with the addition of this area called Coyote Pass which devastated me. The morning started off very nice – about 72°. With the dew point at 72° as well, my glasses were actually fogging up. Rolled out with Duane and several other super-riders like last week, and as usual, they laid it down, and I did my best to keep up.
Got to the first rest stop, and they didn’t even have water. This of course on the first day I decided to bring only one water bottle instead of two (though I did have my Camelbak). Since there wasn’t much at the rest stop, we rolled out pretty quickly, hitting the same sets of hills from last week. It was rough, but didn’t seem as bad as last time. When we arrived at Pretty Water (rest stop two) I gave up on rolling with the super-riders and rested for a good while, waiting for the second group to roll in. After waiting for about 20 minutes, the next group rolled in, but they looked pretty tired, and I didn’t think they’d be heading out any time soon, so I took off on my own.
At first I was doing ok, but the temperature had started to climb pretty rapidly, and was approaching 90° with something like 75% humidity. Add to that the ridiculous climbing in Coyote Pass, and the lack of water (only gatorade – bleh) at the second rest stop – and I was a rather unhappy rider. After coming out of Coyote Pass, you hit this really long straight-away, feels like it never ends. I stopped for 5 minutes at a gas station just to sit on the curb for a bit. When I started rolling again, I thought the worst was behind me (and it was), but turns out we still needed to take Avery Rd. (a rather hilly road) to finish the coarse. I’m not ashamed to say that when I started up those last hills on Avery I said out loud, “I can’t do this.” I had definitely hit my wall – or the bonk, as riders call it. But I hate calling it “bonk”, so I’ll stick with wall. Makes it worse when you’re riding on your own, too. With a group, you can trade off pulling and drafting, and you have the others to help you along. On your own, you can’t judge your performance against anything other than speed and time.
Though flat, the last files miles were the worst. It’s a straight, flat road, that doesn’t turn at all. Gives you the illusion of making progress – I’m almost there! – when actually you haven’t traveled anywhere. To make matters worse, I glanced down to check my rear brake, and in that instant, my front tire hit a large hole, and slammed my left wrist pretty bad (my right hand was on the upper bar, so didn’t take the brunt of the hit). I had to ride for about a mile with one hand before the pain subsided enough to hold on again.
When I finally rolled in, I put my bike at the truck, grabbed my water bottle, loaded up with water and sat down in one of the chairs provided by the MS committee. At that point my only goal was to not pass out, and I succeeded (barely). Once I felt I wouldn’t fall over, I stood up, got more water, and picked up a burger and hot dog from the grill they had going. I chowed, and rested for another 20 minutes or so. Then, headed home. I’m told that the MS ride itself isn’t nearly this hard, with cooler weather, less hills, and more rest stops. Here’s hoping.
Total Distance: 68.7 mi
Moving Time: 4:08:00
Average Moving Speed: 16.6 mi/h
Max Speed: 35.7 mi/h
Min Elevation: 624 ft
Max Elevation: 981 ft
Elevation Gain: 2,744 ft
Max Grade: 7 %
Min Grade: -7 %