Last Saturday I rode a bike farther than any man before me. Call Guinness because this is definitely a world record. This amazing feat will astound all who hear of it. I will be counted among the likes of Sir Edmund Hilary, Charles Lindbergh, and Magellan. I can only imagine the adoration and attention I will receive from throngs of devoted fans.
How far did I ride last Saturday? It’s time to tell the world! I rode 106 miles! Yes, you read that correctly. I’ll spell it out like on a check: one hundred six miles.
OK, I was just over at http://www.google.com researching the longest rides and it turns out that 106 miles isn’t that far of a ride. I’d like to apologize to all those people who put their trust in me. Cancel that call to Guinness. Call the Guinness Extra Stout people instead.
Well, it seemed long to me. Up until last Saturday the farthest I ever rode was 80 miles. I’ve been building up the miles on these long rides in preparation for Ironman Louisville. Is it wise to ride 100 miles two weeks before an Ironman? Recovery wise I feel fine. I actually felt fine even the next day. During the ride, however, I felt pretty beat up.
I rode the Katy Trail from Clinton, MO up through Sedalia. I took a couple of detours on some side country roads just for a change of pace, but at some point beyond Sedalia my odometer read 56 miles, so I turned around and started for home. I didn’t detour on the way back. The trail seemed rougher with a lot more ruts that usual. Not the big kind of wreck-your-bike ruts, but those smaller ones that make it seem like you’re riding over rumble strips on the side of the highway.
When I made the turn back toward home I was out of water. I knew I’d run out, but I knew of at least two Casey’s that I could stop at, and I figured there would be something in Sedalia. Well I rode all the way through Sedalia and didn’t see anything convenient, so I kept riding. That was kind of a mistake. Altogether I probably rode 20 miles without anything to drink. That doesn’t seem so bad, and thankfully it wasn’t hot, but I wanted to stay hydrated and finish strong. I rolled into Greenridge and bought a Gatorade and a bottle of A&W Cream Soda. I never drink soda anymore, but I figured I would easily burn off the carbs before I got home, and besides, world record holders deserve a little treat every now and then.
I made it back and, yeah, I felt pretty thrashed. I wasn’t dead, though. I sprinted the last 3/4 of a mile (keep in mind, my sprinting is a real cyclist’s easy spin). The ride did encourage me in one way, and discouraged me in another.
I got home, took and ice bath, took a shower, dressed, got something to eat. By that time it was about 5 o’clock. I started the ride that morning about the time I plan on exiting the swim in Louisville, not by design, it just happened that way. During the ride I stopped to smell the roses (pee), stopped at Casey’s (drank my A&W at a picnic table), weaved my way through the biggest Boy Scout troop in the world who apparently have not earned the Katy Trail bike etiquette badge yet, skirted my way around the Mennonite ladies who acted as though it was unseemly for someone to want to get around them on the trail, and in general didn’t treat it at all as a race. So when I got home and did all that stuff and saw that it wasn’t quite five yet I was encouraged because if this was the day of the race, I’d still have seven hours to complete the marathon.
I was discouraged, however, because I developed a couple of saddle sores. Yes, even the likes of me can get a saddle sore, apparently. I’ve never had trouble with those before, but then, I’d never ridden 100 miles. Well, they’re healing up so I should be fine by next Sunday.
Today I have to get everything ready. Gather all my gear, make some final decisions about fueling during the race, decide if I’m going to chicken out or not. It’s a big day. Not to mention I have to wash all that Katy Trail dust off my bike.
Have a great week. If you ride the Katy Trail, ride on the right and assume that someone will need to pass you at some point. Otherwise, God bless.
I’m adding this just for posterity: I wrecked my bike on some railroad tracks about a mile into the ride. I jacked up my wrist and tore some handlebar tap, otherwise everything is fine. My wrist is healing, though still a little sore. What I hurt most was my pride.
Here’s my favorite thing about riding the trail: Coming up on a road where the car has the right of way. You see one coming so you slow down, unclip, and come to a complete stop. Then the driver sees you and stops as well, and then waves you through. Now, my rule is, once I’m waved, I go. That’s true for the bike, in my truck, whatever. I don’t play the you go, no you go game. You wave, I go. But it’s hard to be grateful to the driver once you’ve unclipped and stopped. Now you have to get moving again, clip in, and wave at the driver like he’s so noble for letting you pass. I should probably just relax about all that.