So yesterday I set out to do a 4-hour ride. It was supposed to be a 50-mile road loop with 25 miles of pretty intense climbing, going through Golden Gate Canyon and Coal Creek Canyon. I felt pretty sluggish getting going, my legs were sore and tired but I was excited to get out on my bike on a beautiful day with amazing scenery.
Well, it turned into an epic ride. I only made it 34 miles. Oh, and it still took 4 hours. Yeah, that’s right, a whopping 8-mph average speed. Things started looking badly when I took my first side loop – up Crawford Gulch road. There were two hefty climbs. Then, that road turns into gravel, and normally I love gravel. Not a big fan of mile-long steep gravel climbs though. Then I flatted and it took me while to get my tire changed since I was alone.
Then the real fun began. I came into the state park via the “back way” and started feeling off. Then I bonked. So I stopped and ate some food in addition to the Hammer Gel I had already downed. I got to the visitor center and decided to head for home. I figured I was about halfway done with the ride, so it should be all down hill. WRONG. I started climbing out of the park and got sidelined by stomach cramps so bad I couldn’t move. Not once, but 5 times on my way up the first hill. It took me 30 minutes to go one mile! Then there was a second steep, switchbacking climb where I just sat down until they passed. Blech. I tried to get in touch with Wes, but it’s a very remote area, so no luck there.
An agonizing hour later, I got back into Golden. Flatted, bonked, sick – not too much more could have happened. At least I didn’t crash! A hot shower and nap made me feel much better, though. I took a look in my water bottles. I was out 4 hours and took 20 oz. water and 20 oz. Gatorade, with plans to refill at the visitor’s center. Guess how much I actually drank? 16 oz. of water over 4 hours. That’s 1/2 cup of water per hour for a tough ride. Um, duh. Now I know why I got sick (and that I didn’t really “bonk” – just didn’t drink enough!). Lesson learned: put an annoying “time to drink” alarm on the Forerunner.