half century tale

I’m pretty stoked to be at 600+ miles for the year so far. I know a lot of folks ride a lot more, but for me that is a pretty good haul.

I did a half century on the fixed gear. It was at Big Creek Greenway…a series of out and backs. I like calling it a half century instead of just saying “50 miles”…for some reason it seems bigger that way.  It wasn’t pretty.  For some reason i did not eat hardly anything beforehand and at mile 36, as far away from the car as I could get, I hit the wall. big time. I don’t know if what I experienced was what they call bonking, or if I was suffering from some sort of low blood sugar type thing, but it was brutal. I felt like I was going to pass out and had nop strength at all. All I could do was lay on the bench in agony. If I tried to get up, I just got lightheaded and sort of fell over, so I stayed laying down for a long time. To complicate the matter, it had become apparent around mile 25 that I had to take a major dump.

It was so bad that I actually mulled over calling for help. At this point I was only  1/2 mile from the Bethelview road trailhead, but going there would be pretty much no help. I had to get back to the car. It took some doing, but I mustered up enough strength to get the one gel pack I had out of my underseat bag and choked it down with some water.  Just doing that sapped my energy so much that I just had to lay back down for about 15 minutes. Mentally i knew I had just ate enough to probably get me back to the cfar, but physically all the gel did was make me have to crap even harder. Ugh it was so bad.

So I developed a strategy. Just try to make it to the next bench. The benches are about 1/2 mile apart approximately.  I got on and started and the cool air seemed kind of helpful, but sitting on the seat was almost impossible.  Eventually I made it to the next bench and layed back down for about 20 minutes. The gels effect on my system was getting worse. Now I had integrated looking for a place to dook into my plan. There was no place possible to do it at this bench, so I gathered myself up slowly. climbed on, and headed to the next bench.

It seemed like forever before the next stopping point. When I got to the bench, I just collapsed onto it, practically doubled over in pain. It took about 15 minutes for me to get it together enough to scan the area and realize that there was a pretty decent clip of trees right across from me. I knew it wasn’t going to be fun, but it was time to get rid of the waste products, because if I didn’t do it soon, it was going to come out whether I liked it or not.  So I dragged to the bike back into the trees, which was a huge effort with no strength. When I got far enough back that no one could see my bike from the trail, I left the bike there and kept walking until I could barely see it.  I figured this was far enough.

What happened next could only be described as one of the top three dooks of my life. Sweet sweet releaf, but not only that, it was goddamn thing of beauty. The sheer volume would have scared you, and the way it coiled around into a perfectly symmetrical pyramid was high art. I couldn’t have sculpted a more perfect pile of shit. I actually -almost- took a picture of it I was so proud, but I was still in panic mode about having no energy and fearing not making it back to the car, so I stuck to business and moved forward w/o getting the shot.  I know you are wondering…did I wipe? No. It was a clean pinch,  a perfect 10…I didn’t even need to.

Mentally this was a huge success. I had now solved one of my problems, so now I could focus entirely conserving energy but making progress. The next 4 miles were absolutely brutal. I continued my program of going from bench to bench with lengthy rests at each stop. There are mile markers every 10th of a mile which helped greatly…”just one more tenth man, just one more and you’ll be that much closer”.

It took a hellishly long time but I eventually made it back to the McFarland Rd trailhead, and loaded the bike on the car. My original plan was to celebrate my big fifty with a nice dinner at Tim Drum , but that plan had changed to getting to the nearest available food source and getting something in me as fast as possible. My bike computer read just over 42 miles. I felt pretty defeated, but at least I felt safety was within reach.

The closest food joint was an Arbys, which is less than 1/2 mile from the trailhead. I got couople of jr roast beefs and drank a non diet pepsi, thinking that if what happened to me was a sugar issue, the non diet stuff might better to get back to normal. I’m not real knowlwdgeable about how all that stuff works. One thing I did know though…this whole feeling of almost passing out and losing all my strength has happened to me before, and when it did, about 15 minutes after eating something i felt fine. I was thinking “You know, I bet I am going to eat and then on the drive home I am going to start to feel fine and then I’ll be pissed that I didn’t finish the ride”.

Sure enough, before I even left the Arbys, I was feeling much better. So much so that i decided I would go back to the trail and -try- to finish my 50. My plan was to just ride out a mile from the car, then ride back, and repeat until I had logged the mileage I needed…that way if I started to feel ill again I wouldn’t be stuck far away from the car again. As soon as I got under way I knew I wouldn’t have to do one mile out and back though…every pedal stroke I felt better. I ended up going out to the second road crossing which is at about 4 miles, but WISELY decided that even though I felt fine noiw, I wasn’t going to try and go all the way to Bethelview, which was another 2.8 away. Turning back at the second road crossing allowed me to log just over 50 for the day.

Lately I have been setting the bike computer on “timer” so I can watch how long I have been riding instead of how far i have gone. But for the last few miles of this ride I switched to to “distance” so I could watch it roll up to my goal. It was a very satisfying feeling and I am so happy that I went back and finished.

What did I learn?

1. Even though part of the reason I am biking is to try and lose weight, if I am going to go on a ride this long I have to prepare better nutritionally. I can fart around with creating calorie deficits and losing weight on my shorter rides…

2. Next time I do this kind of distance I think I will use one of my geared bikes. It would have been nice to be able to pedal a little easier gear when I did get into my -emergency situation-.

3. Next tiome I try to do a big mileage day, I won’t try and do the whole thing at Big Creek Greenway. Too much boardwalk. I am sure that spending all day riding on boardwalk helped rattle that megaq sized turd into the launch position.

4. Always carry a stash of toilet paper.

Now I have started ramping down the mileage and ramping up the amount of climbing and doing intervals. I am hoping to get more results out of shorter distances by making the workload a little tougher.

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