After about 60 or so miles of riding, just about the time you'd like nothing better than to puke your guts out, there stands one final hill between you and the finish line. You and no more pedaling. You and cold shower. You and a seat that isn't wedged up your ass.
"What the Hell, what's one more hill?" you ask yourself. And then the answer comes: One more hill.
That said, I had a good time at the St. Mary's Century on Saturday. Aside from the warmer than expected temps and a course that could have been slightly better marked, it was a fun ride. Yanno, except for those last couple of miles, those pretty much sucked. And the five miles we rode out of our way because the left turn at the bottom of a high-speed hill was really badly marked.
When I finally got back to the parking lot, after doing a couple of laps to cool down and gross-up my odometer (even numbers are so much prettier, don't ya think?), I stopped, carefully leaned my bike up against a tree, took the remaining food and my camera out of my back pockets, and then laid down on the wonderfully cool concrete sidewalk.
It felt glorious.
It didn't matter it was, literally, hard as a rock. It was cool. So, so deliciously cool. And, you know how you pillow gets warm after a couple of minutes? Yeah, I actually had to scoot over after a bit because I sucked all the cool out of the concrete. Not that I couldn't use some, as some might say.
But after a couple of minutes I was up and about and headed to the picnic for some more calories and then to the gym for a quick shower before heading home.
Let me 'splain the lessons learned from the St. Mary's Century, no, there is too much, let me sum up:
First, and I can't stress this enough, don't do two personal best long rides on consecutive weekends. This is just stupid.
Next, there's a big, big difference between riding 50 miles and riding and 65 miles. I imagine it's like the difference between running 20 miles and running 26.2. While neither of the first two are exactly easy, they're doable on what you've got inside. To do the others - ride 65 or run 26.2 - you've got to find a different place to get your energy from. At least I had to.
Speaking of energy, I'm still getting used to eating during and while I ride. All told, I think I shoved about 1,000 calories down my throat before and during the ride. Wasn't enough and, once you get behind that power curve, it's nigh on impossible to catch up. Personally, I'm sure I got right to the edge of boinking, but didn't. I took the Beasties' advice throughout the last five or so miles: "Low and slow, that is the tempo."
The evidence of my almost boink came when I got home. I thought I'd take a nap at 5 p.m., and I did. It lasted until just about midnight. When I woke up my body was screaming out for food. Luckily, I live right next to a 24-hour diner, so I pulled on some shorts, shoes and a hat and limped on over. After inhaling a steak omelet, I headed home and went back to bed. This time I woke up at 9 a.m. feeling pretty all right. If you do the math there, I slept for seven and eight hours with a one-hour break in between. To put that in perspective, I generally get by on six hours a night and haven't slept more than eight in I don't know how long. Saturday night, I slept for 15 hours.
Finally, I'll definitely do another one. And this time, I'd like it to be a full century. But that's going to take a lot more training. Perhaps next spring, in March or April before it gets too warm. Anyone care to join?
And one more thing, you can still help my friend out by sponsoring him in his eight-day, 635-mile ride from San Francisco to San Diego next month. Make a donation by going to his LIVESTRONG fundraising site and following the directions.