Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Hey......how ya doin'?

Me? I’m good. Could be better, could be worse….

Lot’s worse…..

After the Longso classic, I had a whole host of things lined up to do. First thing was minor surgery to have a cycst removed from my back. It turns out the day I thought was supposed to be the surgery was actually a second consult. Surgery was rescheduled for two weeks later, on day two of the Working Man’s Stage Race. It’s healing nicely. Before then I had a 4 day business trip to Long Island, and two outdoor music festivals on the bookend weekends. As a result, I rode about 3 times between july 5th and july 20th.

I had a family gathering this past Sunday in Pembroke MA, which is just north of Plymouth – where the pilgrims landed and began their genocide on the indigenous people. It’s about 65 miles so I decided to ride it. I couldn’t figure a way around boston, since all of the circumferential state/federal routes are either limited access or too sketchy to explore on a bike when I actually had a destination. There was always Rte28 – goes north/south through boston. But, I remember from my days as a field service engineer that the section of 28 from Boston to Milton gets a bit scary – bad roads, abandoned cars, gang activity. Something Solobreak can verify, I’m sure.

So I poured through Google maps for an hour on Saturday night (I’m sooooo hip!) and found a rather direct route, right through the Bostons financial district then due south to the Neponset river bridge, into Quincy center, then rte 53 the rest of the way. My destination is about one mile off rte 53 in Pembroke.

I thought I planned accordingly. The weather looked good and not to hot. I drank about 24 oz of liquid before I left, ate a good breakfast, and carried two large water bottles plus two Cliff bars. I was sure I wouldn’t even need half of that, but I brought extra to be sure. Usually, even on a hot day I can get away with one large water bottle.

Everything went well until I was in Somerville, the city just north of Boston proper. It was getting hot. Really hot. I was stopping at stop lights like a good responsible cyclist, and was building up heat rapidly. The strong northwest winds I had heading into the city – keeping my average speed very high with little effort – weren’t making it to the ground level. There was no shade as the sun approached high noon, and the pavement was absorbing billions of BTUs from the sun every second. By the time I made it to south boston (aka Southie) I was already hitting the second bottle. It wasn’t possible to get more than a few hundred yards without hitting another stoplight, so accelerating from a stop did little more than generate more heat.

I finally made it to Quincy center. My average speed had dropped from almost 21 mph before I hit the northern city limits to just over 18 in about ten miles because of all the stoplights. My second bottle was less than half full, and I still had 30 miles to ride. At about the two hour mark, when I was confident I was able to navigate the rest of rte 53, I pulled over into a Burger King. My second bottle was just about empty. I bought one of those large plastic drink vats, filled it with ice, then coke. I drank it so quickly the ice barely melted. The caffeine and sugar blast helped as much as the cold liquid. After I drank the coke I poured the remaining ice in my two bottles, just about filling them.

As I was out of the city the wind had picked up significantly – still from the northwest. Now that the congestion had opened up I was able to keep moving, and with the tailwind I was moving fast. There were a number of times I was riding in the 28 mph range for extended periods, and times when I was rolling up little hills at almost 20 mph, feeling no headwind. I could have dialed it back, it was still _really_ hot, and I wasn’t keeping cool with my HR in zone 4, but how often do you get to keep your speed that fast for that long? I had plenty of water now, I knew where I was, I kept motoring. I had found that elusive “sweet spot”.

Finally pulling off of rte 53 onto the side road where my uncle lives, I checked some data. Riding time 3:20. Average speed 19.9. In the 25ish miles from Quincy, I had brought my average speed up from 18.7 to 19.9 thanks to that monster tailwind the whole way. I had managed to go through another bottle and a half in about an hour and 20 minutes. Here was the painful stat: average temp over the three hours and twenty minutes; 90 humid degrees…Max reading; ninety fucking eight. When I left my house at 9:15 it was 80.

My uncle had put a six-pack of 16 oz Gatorades on ice for me. I drank one right away. After I cooled down a bit I drank a 16 oz glass of milk (milk is a great recovery drink). I took a shower, and over the next hour I drank two 16 0z mugs of cranberry/orange juice, and another Gatorade. I still didn’t need to pee. I didn’t have to until several hours later, and then it wasn’t much. By then I had put away more than a gallon of fluid.

Well, I’m off to beat up on the BOB boys at the Tuesday night fights.


Amanda said...

You are soooo hip!!

dude. i rode 90 miles today. only 88 with a "feels like" of 97. Went through 6 bottle and a coke out there.

Jonny Bold said...

Gawd that sounds like a sucky ride!!!

Good to know you're back in the saddle though...

zencycle said...

@ amanda - that's why you're a rockstar

@ jonny - I've had many, much worse days in the saddle than that. Beats working _any_ day.

Jonny Bold said...

I can't argue with that. Well played sir....