Sunday, September 09, 2007

Hot hundred...

...at least for some people. I did the metric myself. This is MHCC Century Weekend, and yesterday was the better weather day, so off I went. I once had thoughts of doing the 100-mile ride, but decided that I just hadn't done enough other big stuff this year to successfully take it on. And a good thing it was! Temps in the upper 80s and dew points in the mid-70s made for a pretty tough day. Met Ted from Long Island at the start, and we wound up riding the whole ride together. Compatible paces and similar interests made for good conversation and helped the miles fly by.

When we got to about 55-57 miles, there was a hill. It was no worse than any other hills we'd done all day, but the cumulative effects of the heat and the miles suddenly hit me, and I cramped up solid. There was no comfortable position other than a squat next to the bike, so I spent several minutes like that. Anything else led to continued cramping. After a few minutes, I dropped the bike, grabbed my Gatorade, and got up and started walking around. Thankfully, the cramps passed, at least temporarily. We continued on, gingerly, and I got off and walked any further significant hills before any cramping set in, riding the small ones, and finally made it back to the finish in about 5 1/4 hours. It was a 65.5-mile day, and a tough one at that. I don't know how anybody could have finished a century in that heat.

Although I was drinking what felt like enough, there were a couple of times when I could tell that I was coming up short. The obvious sign was thirst, which means it was too late. I also was not forcing salt to the extent that I probably should have. It would have been a good day to lace the Gatorade with a teaspoon or so per bottle, making SURE I got enough. But it was a much warmer day than forecast, so I hadn't done that, and was not prepared in that way. After the ride, I had some cold cuts liberally sprinkled with salt, and had no further cramping problems that day or night.

All in all, it was a good ride, and I was able to finish it even after 3 weeks off the bike, so that was satisfying. I'm still struggling to find a nutritional balance that includes enough salt and enough calories, but will probably now have to continue that battle next year. That was most likely the last long ride of this season.

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