Biking to Keuka. And back.

Posted: November 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

My best dude friend and my best dudette friend loaned me sweet bikes.  Perhaps they understand my situation as a poverty-stricken endurance athlete in need of cross training from time to time.  Or they’re just too good of people to tell me to pony up the cash and buy a huffy.

jennas bombproof commuter bike is on the left. it spent the weekend carrying me great distances.

That being said, on Friday I decided to ride the artillery tank out to Keuka Lake.  60.5 miles with about 3500 ft up and 33oo ft down.  Some of these hills are utterly absurd.  Especially on a bike heavy enough to withstand a trip through the minefield.  But it was because of this security that I deemed it the finer steed for what would end up being a pitch black, frostbitten journey across the land.  I’ll talk about this ride briefly, and the plethora of catastrophes contained within it.

I left the house at 1:30.  I assumed that because the temps in Rochester were comfortable (from a runner’s standpoint) that I could make the journey simply wearing my NB MT 100’s and a pair of Balega socks.  Unfortunately, running and biking are different.  Like being smart and being a dumbass.  Anyone familiar with the MT100 knows that they are essentially built to drain moisture.  This means they are a thin sheet of porous nothingness.  Balega’s are no different.  This amounts to me setting off barefooted into what would ultimately turn into a frigid tundra.  As a runner it was not instinctual to fear the wind breaking over my feet as i sliced through the cold air.  By the time I got to the end of my street I was complaining to myself about how cold my feet were.  By thirty miles I was curled up in a ball at the corner of CR 1 and East Lake Rd texting people to tell them that I had frostbite on my feet and was possibly going to die.  The next thirty miles were the most painful of my life.

Sleep.  The second catastrophic, gaping hole in my Friday evening ride, was being awake for 30 hours straight, coming out of a 4 hour night of sleep on Wednesday and an 11 hour overnight shift Thursday.  Sleep can absolutely not be underestimated in these situations.  One cannot successfully pedal a bike while his body falls into a sleep state.

Catastrophe, the third.  I decided to use this as a 60 mile opportunity to work on my systems fat burning capabilities.  Essentially during these workouts I consume ONLY enough carbohydrates and fuel to activate and sustain my body’s fat burning metabolism.  There are complex ratios and percentages and shit, but I don’t want to get into that right now.  So we’ll leave it at that.  I bonk intentionally and torture myself so that my body knows how to live off the 90000 calories of fat at its disposal.  If you’ve ever truly hit the wall in an endurance workout, you understand the emotional and physical plight that I’m not capable of describing.  I’m very familiar with this sort of thing in my running.  I embrace it.  For whatever reason, hitting the wall on a bike feels far more emotionally traumatic.  Oddly enough, the minute I ingest even a small amount of simple carbs, my mood skyrockets right back to normal.  My first experience with this complete and utter failure of my system on a bicycle was on my hundred mile ride with my friend Charlie.  We both became severely dehydrated and depleted of all fuel in a dangerously remote 50 mile stretch of road.  My second experience was here.  Laying in the grass at the corner of CR 1 and East Lake Rd in Canandaigua, 30 miles into a 60 mile ride with frostbitten toes, no heart left, no spirit, no life, no sunlight, no warmth, no backup plan, no retreat, no heroes, no nothin.  Just the idea of success flickering in my ever dimming mind.

So I got up and walked the bike up the hill.  Then I got on the bike.  Then I pushed the pedals slowly.  One after the other.  The same as at the ass end of an ultramarathon.  Just get to the next street and we’ll figure it out from there.  My first 30 miles clocked just under 2 hours.  To adequately demonstrate the ferocity of this bonk, my second thirty miles, containing FAR more downhills, took 3 hours and 5 minutes.  Whatever though.  ‘Just do it.  Do the work. Get over it.  Do it again on the way home and do it better.  Not because you’re a cyclist, because you’re clearly not.  But because the only thing that scares you is failing to be better than you were yesterday.’

I got drunk Friday and Saturday night.  As always, when drunk, I consumed quantities of food that would land most people in a psyche ward.  For whatever reason, I remained relatively unfazed through the next mornings ride home.  I felt well enough to nail dead even 20 mile splits of 1:16. I completed the trek in a mere 3:48 minutes and felt tremendous after.  My entire fuel source was the bevy of crap sitting in my digestive system from the previous two nights, a pack of skittles that I found and a bottle of Gatorade.  Factors contributing to the improvement in this workout are numerous.  Tailwind for much of the way.  The hills were worse this time, but the worst of them were over the first thirty miles, so by the time I’d cleared those and burnt all my energy away, I didn’t have much to worry about.  Day time helps a lot too.  As does being able to feel my feet.  Unseasonable warmth was my friend for this ride.  But these are just small pieces of the pie.  What really matters the most, and always makes me feel better to have faith in, is the immediate power of simple carbs.

After biking 140 miles over the weekend, I’m eager to get this ankle injury properly diagnosed and treated so that I can begin running again.  That’s all for now.

  1. Megan says:

    You are fudging nuts.

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