Sunday, June 15, 2008

9,571 Calories...

That's right. I burned that many calories yesterday. I rode from Somerville to South Boston to Windsor, VT yesterday in the annual Harpoon Brewery to Brewery ride. The route was long and a little crazy.

I started in the "19 mph" group. We wound through at a leisurely 16mph and not until we reached Arlington heights did we get to a 19mph speed. The group had to have been about 50 or so riders large. Once we got out to Concord/Carlisle things were moving a lot faster than 19mph. 22-3mph more like it. Not that I was having trouble, but I thought if we were to cruise at 19mph or another 120 miles it might be good to not be hammering, right? We kept on cruising around the 22-24mph mark until the first water stop at 46miles. Much needed as my water bottles were empty and I didn't have too much food. Thanks to Ciclsmo Classico for sponsoring and working that water stop.

My nutrition strategy wasn't too well thought out for this ride. With planned stops at 46 and 108 miles I figured I could stick wheel I needed in my back pockets and that would suffice. Hah ha ha.

Upon departing the waterstop there was a really really nice climb. Pretty gentle in grade and a little twisty with a lot of shade. I got to the front to set the pace for the group. This way there was not going to be any 20+ speeds going uphill on my pull! I kept it smooth and steady for just about the whole way up. At the top I found that I was in a group of about 10 with some triathletes. The next 10 miles were fairly flat and this group was in a paceline ranging from 26-35mph. It was nuts. Triathletes can certainly hammer. Somehow I found myself pulling at 30mph on a flat! I couldn't believe it. There was one woman triathlete in the group and I must say, the view from her draft was quite delightful.


Anyway, I started feeling hungry, and noticed my waterbottles were near empty and the next rest stop was still ~25 miles away. Ooof. We came upon a major intersection and there was a pretty large Mobil gas station. It looked like a lot of other riders had the same thing because you'd have thought it was a water stop! I said goodbye to the group (and the um, "scenery") to grab some food and get more liquids.

I walked into the store and in my low-blood-glucose state I didn't get enough liquids! One vitamin water, 3 bars. That's it. I needed two more bottles of liquid. I knew I had some miles before the next rest stop, I just didn't know what was to come next on the ride.

I took off initially with a group of guys but quickly left them. I think they were in the "sweet 16 group" because pulling on a flat at 18mph found me hundreds of meters ahead. I figured "oh well" and would take the next 20 miles on my own and catch up with folks at waterstop #2. I found myself in various groups of hammerheads and not-so-hammerheads until Mile 89 hit.

Mile 89 hit with a vengeance. A sharp right hand turn and then it was up, up, up. Steeper than the last climb and of course I had 1/4 of one water bottle with anything in it. It was around 1pm and the sun was HOT. This climb offered little shade although there was some overcast in the clouds the sweat was pouring off me. I was dehydrated. Badly.

I suffered like a dog, but I wasn't the only one. Bodies were everywhere. People walking their bikes, stopping at the side to rest in the shade, etc. Once over the major climb, there was a van with a guy advising riders to slow for a nasty intersection. I asked, no begged, for water and thankfully he had a gallon or so to share. That helped, but the damage was done and recovery would be difficult, eve with 40-50 miles to go. Thankfully, I found a small group to ride with, er.. draft off of, to waterstop #2.

Waterstop #2 was quite large, and offered a vast array of goodies, with one problem. Very little water. I was able to get a cup of water and refill one waterbottle with powerade, but that was it. "Five to ten minutes more water will be here," I heard that for about 20-30 minutes. I left the stop with the MRC boys and rode the blue train until about 10 miles to go when I got dropped up a hill. It was clear I was cooked. What I found amazing was that even in this state I could crank it up to 22mph on the flats.Who knew I had that in me?? Climbs were a different story because they needed real power and any power I had left was waning due to the dehydration.

Crossing the covered bridge into Vermont was a sigh of relief, only a couple of miles left! I turned into the brewery and crossed the line. I was supposed to drop my bike off, pick up my finishers t-shirt and check in, but no. I went straight for the water table. I downed about three 12 once vitamin waters in about 10 minutes and I ate a bagel. I sat at a picnic table while the band started its set and just thought how amazing the ride was. Epic almost. I wished I had prepared better nutritionally, but it was a GREAT 148 miles. I would highly recommend this ride. It was incredibly well organized, well marked and even though I signed up my myself found plenty of riders to share in the suffering with.

I got myself showered up (after waiting quite a long time inline) then went and filled my tummy with barbecue. It started raining as Richard Fries was throwing out schwag to the crowd. At least the rain held off until the end. I packed my self up, brought my bike to the truck and hopped on the bus ride back to Boston. This morning I calculated just how many calories I burned in the 8.5 hours I spent on the bike. If that's a grand tour-like stage, I wonder what it's like to have to do that day-after-day for three weeks straight?


not said...

"There was one woman triathlete in the group and I must say, the view from her draft was quite delightful. "

Seriously? Do you really think that was necessary or even cool? Perhaps when you come back to reality from your caloric depletion, you will realize just how lame that statement is and how much iy denigrates female athletes. You might also want to take a minute to consider your audience. This is not your personal blog. You are not just making an ass of yourself, which is fine to do on your own personal website, but you are representing your team and your sponsors.

CTodd said...

Point taken.