This past Sunday was another long ride. The plan was to ride the first two loops of the Great Floridian course and then run for about 2-4 miles.
Speedy Jan, Casey, Dave and I all showed up at what will be the start line of the GF. The morning seemed a little cooler but the humidity was still there. I led out the group for the first few miles. I pulled at about 20 mph because I felt good. I of course forgot all about that pacing thing and the 70 or so miles left ahead. I move over and then Jan takes the lead. As she is starting to pass, she says, "remember your pace." As she takes off.
The hard thing about group rides is the pacing pulling part. When you are pulling you want to try to go fast since you are the lead dog. Thinking that everyone behind you also wants to go fast. That is a mistake I have learned in the past. I should have dropped my speed early on. Shame on my as usual.
The first lap included Sugarloaf Mountain. Now it really isn't a mountain but it is a long steady climb for Central Florida standards. We all four made it up that climb pretty much together. I sat the whole time and used my lowest gear. I was giving it all she's got. We regrouped at the top by this house where the owners provide two jugs of water with cups for the cyclists during the weekends.
This is where I learned a new bike term from Casey. "Kit". Seems there was the female rider that arrived just after us. She was on a fancy bike and was wearing this matching black and pink jersey shorts combo. Also bright pink socks. I asked Casey if "kit" was for the bike or the clothes. She said the clothes. I then. Seems this woman raced for the team the she displayed over her body.
We finished the first lap together. We took a break to refuel, potty, eat and then debate. I should have picked up on the clue that during my brief potty break, the color of my pee was the color of burnt corn. Is that good or bad?
Off we went for round two. Pretty much the same as the first one but without Sugarloaf. I again for some dumbass reason started pulling. You would think that the others knew the course by now. But I am a grown damn man and could have pulled off. I pulled at 20 mph again. Once I dropped off, I then decided it was my time to do my own pace. Regardless.
The three of them waited for me at the next major intersection. This happened one more time. I told them not to wait anymore. I very much appreciated it but they should enjoy the a/c of the car soon.
Just outside of Monteverde, I was starting another climb when both my thighs locked up with massive cramps. I quickly unclipped and put my feet down before I fell over into the road. I stood there for what seemed like15-20 minutes. This was probably not good. But this time I was not calling Jan to come get me. "Suck it up" is what I would expect her to say this time around. I walked my bike up the rest of the hill. Other bikers rode by asking if I was okay. "Just a little cramping" is what I said. "I am a dumbass" is what I said to myself.
I stopped at the next convenience store and bought several bottles of cold water and a Powerade. I soon realized that even though this felt good and refreshing, I was past the point of it having any immediate benefit. Mentally yes. Physically no.
I was still able to average about 14 mph for the remainder of the ride. The last hill was the do or die hill. It was a short steep hill and only 1/2 mile from the finish. I again had to get off my bike. I did stay in my aerobars though. It's as if my bike was a walker. I felt like shit and just wanted it over with. The good thing is that once at the top of the hill, all the rest was down hill. I just coasted to the finish. I could see all three of the others sitting in the cars with the a/c on. They get out of the cars and ask me if I am ready to run now.
I stopped my bike. Leaned it against a pole. Unlatched my helmet and let it fall to the grass. Pulled my jersey off and dropped it on the ground. Grabbed a Powerade and walked right to the shower. I was beat down. Fail for this day. I was sort of glad to hear the others say that they also felt dehydrated. Maybe they were just saying nice things to me at this point.
All I was thinking was that I would have to ride one more lap and then run a marathon. Yay for me. Shit that ain't happening today if this was race day. Jan assures me that race day will be different and that it was hot out today. That is what I keep thinking.
Later that night I looked over this article I had printed that gave me a nutritional guideline for the bike during an Ironman. The only portion of that article that I passed was the showing up on time part. This is why we practice.
On a possitive note. I did have a good open water 2 mile swim on Monday. I stopped a couple of times during the second mile because my nose was burning due to the salt water. The swim seems to be the least of my worries. Oh well. A 20 mile run in the morning.
I know. I have been drinking all day today.