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Failed to make it to Trails End…Again

Posted by on May 8, 2013


I had wanted to ride today back up Mt. Weather, with the PPTC group riding Naked Mt. as well. Except it was going to rain, starting out west first, so the ride was cancelled.

To make up for it, I was going to put in some big milage and ride out to Purcelleville to Trail’s End and back, and add in some extra miles to make it a century.

I filled my bottles with Skratch Labs Everyday Hydration Mix, threw a Power Bar and 4 gels in my back pocket, and took off. I rode a fast pace out towards Purcelleville, trying to average less than 20 minutes per 5 miles.

Looking back, I didn’t have a very valid hydration or nutrition plan. Initially it was to drink when I stopped for more than a stop sign, or every half hour, and to eat something every 500 calories burned. Problem is, that’s not enough water, and it’s also not enough calories. The calorie deficit was fine when I had a lot of weight to get rid of, but now that I’m pretty lean and fit, and was going fairly hard, it was not a workable routine.

I ate the power bar in Herndon, then a gel as I approached Leesburg. I think by the time I hit Rt 7/Rt 9 intersection, I was maybe finished with my first bottle of water, which wasn’t enough; I should have already been halfway through my second bottle.

But I got over Rt 7, and about 2 miles passed before the dreaded rain started down. I had to make a quick decision; keep on going, and wait it out and Trail’s End, hoping that I wouldn’t have to call Becky to come rescue me (FAIL), or turn around and head back home, hoping the rain wouldn’t come down too hard. (Still a fail). I turned tail and headed home, riding just as hard if not harder to get home.

I ate a whole thing of Clif Shot Blox in Leesburg, but I still wasn’t hydrating enough, and eventually it cought me. I did have a pulled pork sandwich at Carolina Brothers in Ashburn, and washed it down with a Smart Water Revive. Probably should have gotten the Powerade instead.

I did stop to look at a quarry on the way. Always have time for sight seeing, at least at that point in time I was ahead of the rain. It caught up a little later.
IMG_1331

At the base of the overpass over Herndon Parkway, I was going to pound the pedals hard to pass a MTB biker that was yoyoing with me through Sterling and Herdon. He was that asshole of a yoyoer. You’d pass him, and then stop at a light. He’d run the light while you’re waiting like a PAL, and then you end up passing him again. Repeat 3-4 times. This time I was going to blow by him on a climb, except when I gave it some power, my quads started to tighten up. So I dialed it back and still passed him, just not as dramatically.

When I got to the hill at Buckthorn Lane, my legs were really starting to complain. In Jens Voight like fashion, I told them to shut up. But at Northside Park, they bit back, cramping up in places I hadn’t cramped before.

So for the next 4-5 miles (I think pretty much all the way up Virginia Lane), my legs were in some sort of cramp. Inner thigh, outer calf, ankle, etc. And throughout this time, my right knee was unable to transfer any large amount of power, and my left really started to suffer as well having to pick up the slack.

By the time I got home, my legs were a complete mess. I could barely walk. Knee quad tendons were so sore I had to ice and heat them. My quads were trying to jump out of my legs.

In retrospec, I think it was first a nutrition and hydration issue, and secondly it’s most likely a bike fit / cleat positioning problem.

To handle the nutrition and hydration, I realized that in my near to optimum cycling weight, I need to eat to perform. Just eating to make it home isn’t going to cut it anymore. I’m going to have to keep eating on these long rides, and possibly pre-eat just to make sure I don’t bonk like that again. Also, I need to hydrate. Drink every 20 minutes, regardless of thirst. Eat 100 calories every 30-40 minutes, since I’m probably burning off 250-400 during that time.

So I bought some Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix , some Powerbars, Clif Gels, and some Endurolyte Tabs in preparation for long rides, and the Storming of Thunder Ridge. I also emailed Clovis to see about getting a tweak/updated fit on the new frame and have him help with cleat location now.

I’m now feeling bad as I was not able to get in all the climbing training I wanted to do before the Storming of Thunder Ridge. I had hoped by this time to have 3-4 long climbs under my belt: Mt. Weather both from the North, and from the South, Naked Mountain, and a climb up to Skyline Drive. But weather is like that, and I’m not going to risk life and limb to ride down a mountain in the pouring rain with no ability to get back to my car for hours. Maybe in a supported ride with SAG services, but not in a small group with no outside support.

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