I Am An Idiot
We’re on our annual summer vacation and I’ve been looking forward to some long rides over some real hills in New York and New Hampshire.
Usually we try to do a little something extra between visiting my parents in New Hampshire and Jessica’s in Pennsylvania. This year we started our vacation at a family reunion in Michigan, then made our way through Ontario to the Adirondacks. Absolutely lovely trip. We camped one night at Presqu’Ile Provincial Park on the north shore of Lake Ontario, and the morning before we left I did two quick laps around the peninsula to the tune of about 12 miles. I was feeling pretty good about longer rides in the Adirondacks, and I had planned a doozy of a 35 miler for the next morning.
We camped two nights at Fish Creek Pond campground, which was a fabulous spot between Tupper Lake and Saranac. Every campsite is on the water, and the whole site is in the middle of a stand of tall, straight white pines. The previous night had been clear and cold, and the morning was just as beautiful. I munched a couple granola bars and an apple, loaded a few more into my pockets, stretched out, and hit the road.
I was tooling along at around 18-20 mph, not really pushing myself too hard, just trying to enjoy the ride. About the only thing that was keeping me from feeling really good was a slightly pulled back from pulling out tent stakes two mornings before. It was giving me some twinges in my hips, but it seemed as though the Advil was holding it at bay. I took the first major hill with little difficulty, and enjoyed the technical descent immensely. By the time I pulled into Saranac around the 15-mile mark I was feeling tired but still pretty good.
The road out of Saranac was a major two-lane highway. Designed with large trucks in mind, it was very straight and very open. On the plus side that meant it had a nice wide berm specifically for cyclists. On the down side it was straight, boring, and offered no shelter from the wind, which was now hitting me straight in the face. I pulled the first two hills decently, but the next one was long one, just steep enough to break a person’s soul. I cracked. Hard. I stopped and ate the last of my granola bars and labored on. I was starting to get clammy. My legs felt like jelly. I couldn’t hold a line.
At around 25 miles I pulled into a parking area and sat down. I was used to being able to recover pretty quickly if I stopped, but for some reason today I couldn’t pull it together. I thought about calling my wife to come pick me up, but she’s not good with directions and I didn’t want her to get lost trying to find me. Wearily, I got back on the bike. As I was about to pull out a hiker saw me with my Discovery team jersey and started asking me if I was training. I smiled and said that I was just out for a fun ride, but I felt awful. I almost felt like I wasn’t worthy to wear the jersey (recent disbanding of the team notwithstanding).
I morosely pedaled on. I was lucky to be making 7 mph up the hills, and just coasted down them. I pulled off onto a back-road shortcut, knowing there was an awful climb if I stayed on the highway. I had gone less than a half mile when I hit an absolute wall of a climb. I muttered “fuck this shit,” and dismounted. That was almost as much of a mistake as staying on. I barely made it to the top of the hill and then resolved not to get off until my ordeal was over. I limply pedaled on. Down what should have been a beautiful descent, over a couple smaller hills, and back to the campground.
When I left that morning I shot out of the camp at 20 mph. I limped in at 12. I got back to the campsite, absolutely starving to death, and discovered to my horror that the girls had taken the car, and with it all the food, to the showers. I collapsed in a chair and didn’t move for a half hour until their return. When they got back I devoured half a calzone from the previous night’s dinner in less than a minute.
When we got to my parents’ I entered my pitiful time of 2:36:25 over 38.09 miles into my training log. I auto-calculated the pace and speed, and then looked at a little feature of the site that I don’t usually pay much attention to: calories burned.
It calculated that I had burned 2094 calories on that ride.
I had eaten 5 granola bars and an apple.
The granola bars have 110 calories each. An apple has about 60. I had consumed 610 calories that morning, only 30% of what I had burned.
No wonder I died. I had literally run out of fuel. No wonder my legs still hurt. My body had started consuming my muscle.
Suffice it to say; I’ve learned my lesson. Big meals before a ride like that, and invest in some energy bars.
Next time, it won’t kick my ass.
Entry filed under: Cycling.