April 1st 2009,
I'm totally thrashed! I've been a little tired the last couple of days and today I had a touch of a sore throat when I awoke. One of my riding buddies, Al, called me yesterday looking to ride today. The weather was to be outstanding, mid-sixties and sunny. There was no way I could resist. I'm scheduled to leave early tomorrow morning for the 200k in Grove City, Ohio. It would be an eight hour drive on Friday for the brevet on Saturday. I was feeling very nervous about being under prepared, so when Al called I talked him into what I now consider a pretty silly plan.
My being wasted and depleted is a result of the ride I devised for Al and I. We would meet at my house and ride the thirty miles north west to Hampton. There was one major climb on this section; Sand Hill Road in Flemington. Also, there were many less significant climbs as well. We arrive at Hampton and stop at the Tiger Mart for coffee and a bagel. I'm noticing I don't feel so spiffy and Al comments that I don't look so good either. The plan was to leave Hampton and turn east passing Spruce Run Reservoir into the small town of High Bridge. Once through High Bridge we would attempt the biggest climb of the day up Wilson Ave and Herman Thou Road. Then there would be lots of up and down until Oldwick. Then the terrain would moderate as we worked our way through Whitehouse Station, Raritan and home. Total distance 70 miles. But, I wasn't feeling so hot and Al said he was feeling a little burned out as well. We discussed our plans and decided that we might as well do the big climb outside of High Bridge, but the change would be to then turn around descend back into High Bridge and jump a train to Raritan. The train ride would eliminate 25 miles and a good number of hills. From the station in Raritan it would be an easy 10 miles of flat roads to the end.
I had every intention of following the plan to the letter until we reached the top of the big hill. I was amped that I could make it up on this bike without getting off and walking. I remember earlier in the year having to walk my fixed gear on a section of it. Al reminded me that we should turn around here and head back down to the train station. It was the smart thing to do. Neither of us were feeling particularly good and we had climbed the big one. It would be reasonable to follow the plan. Only I had to be stupid and talk Al into riding the rest of the way with me.
I had kind of forgotten just how many climbs would present themselves from this point to Whitehouse. As we were grinding up yet another knee breaker I confessed to Al that we really should have taken the train. The miles ticked off ever so slowly but eventually we were in Whitehouse Station. We stopped at the deli for some more calories and fluids. I downed a quart of Powerade, a coffee and a bran muffin. I told Al that there is no way I'm doing a 200k in two days when it seems like a good idea to ride a train part way through a 70 mile ride. I'm just not adapted well enough to the recumbent yet.
We had twenty miles left. Ten to Raritan and ten more to home. The terrain would be significantly less difficult. We would have to deal with nothing more than mild rollers from here out. Of course as our luck was going we would up hitting a bridge that was out and suffered through a 3 mile detour on a busy highway to get back on track. But, finally we were in Raritan and headed for the barn. Of course as our luck was going the winds would pick up here and not at out backs. We would deal with a head wind for part of the time and a cross wind for the rest. When we made that final turn into my driveway it felt like the end of a tough 400k.
Later I would review my log book in an effort to understand why I was so burned out. I counted back the last seven days and had ridden 210 miles. Normally, that would not phase me as in peak season I'm logging 250 to 300 consistently. But, this is early season and most of the weeks prior show 100 miles or less. Increasing mileage by 100% is not recommended. I will pass on the 200k brevet this weekend. Maybe trying a permanent the next weekend. I should be recovered by then, and I'll need the training for the upcoming fleche. This season is happening too fast.