Saturday, I went for a training ride with my buddy Todd. Our goal for that day was 60 miles. The temps were expected to be in the 90’s and a brisk SE wind to boot. Usually, if I know winds are going to be greater than thirteen mile per hour gusts, I don’t ride. I did that once. Hated it! Anyway, after I got home, I don’t care if I ever ride again
See, it started with Friday night. Friday is pizza night and I splurged and got pepperoni. Usually I only get cheese, but I figured since I would be doing a long ride I could use the extra sodium. It didn’t turn out that way as I became dangerously close to dehydration!
I felt fine the first 21 miles, going North, but as we turned eastbound, I started to feel the burn in my legs. Even when I would begin after coming to a complete stop, they would burn like I was climbing up a hill. After a few minutes, they would clear themselves of the lactic acid and I would feel good. Never experienced that before, so I can’t say what the deal really was.
Once we started our turn to the southeast, that’s when I really started feeling like crap. I was getting tired very easily, and we had close to 35 miles under our belt. I had done a 40+ mile ride a couple weeks ago so why am I feeling this way on this ride? I thought to myself. I couldn’t figure out what was going on. Todd was gracious and took care of me, asking me about my status and keeping an I eye on me.
We reached an open area on the north east side of Aurora, a gravel path that ran along a row of power lines. We stopped in the shade as soon as we turned onto that path and after a quick relief, the clues told me that I was very dehydrated.
So we moved on, in the open space, sun beating down and a brisk wind in our faces. My arms started to give out and couldn’t support me. I had to hold on, but I just couldn’t. I felt like rolling over and crashing in the grass just so I could stop the pain! We finally stopped at a road crossing and rested in the shade of an old wooden information board that had a plaque stating that it was an Eagle Scout project.
We discussed my welfare, what type of terrain would be coming up and where we would next assess the situation at that current time. We mounted and continued southeast bound, knowing that I still had to ride through Aurora, through the east side of Montgomery and before the “Killer Hill”, otherwise known as Boulder Hill Pass. It’s a hill that if you’re fresh, you won’t have any problems climbing. I was far from fresh.
We continued through Aurora, stopping briefly in front of Waubonsee Community College for a quick rest. My arms were feeling better, as were my legs so I was ready to get home. A group of younger cyclists passed us, then we passed them at the corner as they were looking for the Fox River Trail. I told them that it was in the green lanes, so they filed in behind us as we continued our trek southbound now.
We made it through the city and onto a path I hadn’t ridden on before so I was busy looking around. I yelled at Todd that I wanted to stop but he didn’t hear me, which I think was a good thing. He has this way of pushing me to my limits without me thinking about it.
We rode past the Montgomery Dam, then past the Riverview Restaurant, voted America’s Best Cuisine by Guy Fieri. That’s when we took our last break and discussed our plan of attack for the last leg home: either the killer hill or continue southbound for less gradual hills, but longer distance. I just wanted to get this ride done and over with. We opted for the killer hill as it was one shot, then the quickest route home. I took a selfie to let the Mrs know that I was still alive, even though the smile was fake.
We mounted again, and rode southbound along the river. We approached the corner gas station at the bottom of the hill and made sure we were in the correct gears for climbing hills. We started the long trek up, and Todd continued, because I told him "Don't worry about me, just keep going".
I didn’t make it past halfway.
As I dismounted, I was beating myself up mentally. “You’re weak, you need to get back on and finish this hill, you’ve done it before!” “Todd is going to be angry with you!” (although “angry” wasn’t the word I used). I walked up the rest of the hill, legs burning as I took each step, but not as bad as they were while I was pedaling. I rounded the corner to see Todd, stopped and waiting for me in the shade. I was afraid to approach him.
“I’m sorry” I said as he came within ear shot. He turned and smiled “Don’t worry about it”. We talked about the way home and he said hates the way Boulder Hill streets were laid out so he wanted me to lead the way. I told him to go ahead and he said nope, you lead. I think that was another one of his sneaky tactics of pushing me.
We started and got moving, slowly at first, but then, I moved to the big chain ring to get home faster. Pedaling was easy, but it was still a task. As we made the slow sweeping right-hander around the elementary school, I saw the next turn and knew it was just a lefty then a righty then a righty into the drive and I’d be home!
I moved to the middle of the roadway to prepare for the left turn. Boulder Hill Pass used to have a wide median that was grass and tree lined. They removed and paved it to make it wider as people park on the street in front of their houses. They at one point had a turn lane marked for my last left hand turn, and that’s where I navigated to.
Through the left hand, I down shifted because of the slight incline, then up-shifted to gain more speed. Passed a couple of parked cars, then made the right hand turn. There was a little bit of a climb, but I muscled through it and then coasted to my driveway. As I approached my driveway, I made sure I was in the right gear and stopped right in front of the door. Todd rode to his van, which was parked in front of the house.
I couldn’t get off that bike and get the garage door open fast enough. I was wobbly as I walked the bike inside and leaned it up against my work bench. I had to make sure that I saved my ride on the Garmin first, but I could feel myself getting foggy. I then leaned up against the car and ripped off my shoes and socks. I stumbled to the place where I left my “after ride” sandals earlier in the day and tried to gracefully put them on while attempting to stay upright. I walked down, said thanks to Todd, and we parted ways.
Walking into the air conditioning was, what I thought to be heaven! I leaned against the counter, ripped off my jersey and took a swig of cold water. Making my way to the bedroom, I was exhausted and I tried taking my bibs off, but needed assistance. Thankfully the Mrs was there to help. I laid on the bed completely wiped, trying to regain my situational awareness. With the fans blowing on me, I was still sweating and parched. My wife gave me a water bottle with a straw and I sipped that as the bed (we have one that has a massage feature) soothed my aching muscles. I tried sleeping but hunger overcame that and after a while, I got up to eat.
Today, I am sore. Today, I’m feeling better. I walked into the garage earlier to take out the recycling and growled at my bike. I despised it. I never wanted to see it again. Then, I remembered, I have a big ride to do in a couple weeks. I need to be a hell of a lot smarter in my eating habits. It’s not the bike’s fault. So, as I sit here writing this, it’s a cooler, windier day today. I may put the bike on the trainer to do a few minutes of recovery ride. Not sure yet though, but for now, it’s me and the computer. Riding will come later.
Until next time,
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