Monday, June 15, 2009

Caesars Head Challenge 061309

I found out about this ride the first part of last week, maybe on Tuesday, and decided to go down for the weekend and participate in the ride. I wasn't prepared at all for riding Saturday...meaning, I haven't been getting enough sleep, I didn't hydrate during the week, and I didn't eat all that well - skipping supper a couple of nights after riding because I wasn't hungry....

Well, that proved to be my downfall. This ride was FAIL. I didn't make it to the top - bailed and turned around with something like 4-4.5mi to go. I had already stopped 2x and by the 3x, I knew I couldn't do it, that it was going to take me at least an hour to get to the top. No way. I was hot, tired and cramping. Cramping bad. Someone stopped and asked me if I was ok, no I wasn't...they offered ice - but it didn't help much. When I asked and was told that it was that far to the summit, I knew I couldn't do it.

I know that everyone has told me I did great, but in my books, it's still a FAIL. The Ruby Ride was almost a FAIL too. I've fallen off the Reservation while Andy was gone west and I have to get back on. And back on this week because I have another major ride coming up on Saturday....anyways - back to the ride report...

It started at 9am and was already fairly warm & humid. I started out with my friend Neal, but it didn't take very long for him and the rest of the riders to drop me on the first long climb. I have no idea how long it was, but it was long enough and I was slow enough to get dropped by the main group. I ended up riding with about 4-5 other riders that were going at a pace I could handle. I have no idea what that was because I don't have a computer on the bike. (that's changing this week). It was really a beautiful day and great scenery on the ride.

I stopped at the 1st RS, hoping for some bananas/oranges, but all that was there was fig newtons, Power gels and Power Bars, neither of which I really like. But, I did eat half of a Power Bar and headed on out with the group I had been riding with. The route, best I can remember, wasn't too bad from that point to the 2nd RS. Same food at this one. The temps were getting up by this time - it was around 11am and I was really feeling the effects of the heat/humidity...I'm really glad I chose to carry an extra bottle of water for just pouring on my head. It helped, but not enough.

I drank both bottles of Perpetuem and then refilled with water on subsequent stops. I didn't realize how low I was in P or I would have gotten more before I left Raleigh. I didn't have enough for the whole ride, only 2hrs worth. I was expecting pretzels, bananas, oranges, cookies, pb sandwiches at the RS's, so I didn't really worry about not having enough P. Wrong. I guess being the inauguaral ride, they (sponsors) didn't know what all to have at the RS's.

From about the 40-45mi mark, it started going downhill and not literally. I started feeling the first twinges of cramps coming on in my quads, rode through them, but knew I was in trouble. I finally made it to the rest stop prior to starting the climb and they had oranges!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I think I ate 3 while sitting in the shade. Filled the bottles up and continued on. Once I got to the intersection of 276 & 8, where the climbing starts, I was really having doubts. First 2x I stopped, I got off the bike and stretched a bit, poured water on my head, got back on the bike and rode on. But, the last time I stopped, I just knew. Knew I couldn't go on. Fail. Disappointment. Upset/mad at myself for screwing up the week prior and not being able to finish. This was on par with the Fabulous Fourth of last year. But, I did finish that ride.

So, I turned tail and descended back to teh campground. Cramping on every little speed bump I had to go over. Loaded the bike up, saw Neal & talked to him a bit, went and got some food then headed to the hotel. I was so damn tired, I didn't really even feel like taking a shower. I don't think I've ever felt that bad. And cramps...did I mention that I had cramps? Yes, all night. The tops of my shins, the tops of my feet, my calves, inner thighs, quads, everywhere you can get a cramp in your legs, I think I had them. Not a great night. Seriously dehydrated because I never went to the bathroom till the next morning. This won't happen again. Nope, not again.

Anyways, that's it. I'll either get back down to that area and just do the CH climb or stay somewhere in Greenville and ride from there and to the top. I have a few pictures that I'll post later.

Redemption Will Occur Next Year:
June 12th, 2010 at 7:30am for the second annual Caesars Head Challenge!!!


skiffrun said...

To paraphrase what a cycling e-mail "pen-pal" wrote me last year after I bonked on Jun-7th and failed to complete my 68 mile ride by 3 miles:

Get over the self-indulgent hubris that you should complete every ride you start. If you always complete every ride you ever start, then you never really tested yourself.

Now, for my own comments:

You had great scenery, etc. getting to that point where you had to bail. Reflect on that. Savor that.

What's the point of riding in the mtns, anyway?

Conquering upslope asphault or having the FUN? The joy of seeing things that most will never see, the pleasure of experiencing those out-of-way valleys and gorges and streams at a human pace (instead of an "iron-carriage" pace), enjoying the flora and fauna? Or just riding fast on some upsloping asphault?

skiffrun said...

Btw, as for never having cramps like that again:

would you care to make a bet?

I swore after some running races years ago: NEVER again like that.

I swore after a couple rides I've done" NEVER again.

Guess what? Again, it happened.

You will push yourself and test yourself until . . . the day when you can no longer walk. And between now and then, you will push yourself over the edge, again. And probably again and again.

But every time you will swear "NEVER AGAIN". And you'll mean it.

Until the next "competition" comes along. ;-)