Friday, June 3, 2011

A charmed day

When I first read about the 100 Miles of Nowhere at the Fat Cyclist blog, I got incredibly excited. I knew I'd need my final long ride for IMCDA right around now, and though it is perverse to ride round and round in a small circle, it is also appealing to me because it circumvents a lot of my obvious bicycle-related anxieties (fear about being stranded far from home, fear about riding on real roads with serious traffic!). Also, it's in a good cause: the 'registration' fee is a donation that the Fat Cyclist a.k.a. Elden gives to Livestrong (his commitment to fundraising to fight cancer is partly a way of remembering and celebrating the life of his wife Susan, who died of breast cancer after a five-year fight).

Tomorrow's the official event day, but if you want to ride many miles of nowhere in a NYC park, it will be much more sensible to do it on a weekday, and I am very lucky in having a great deal of flexibility built into my schedule. Central Park is really too crowded even on a weekday - so my destination was the 3.36-mile loop in Prospect Park.

And it was bliss, with one exception!

(I am feeling particularly charmed as the subway train was pulling up exactly as I arrived on the platform at Grand Army Plaza, the car I got into was nearly empty and I actually had a seat for myself and bike almost all the way - I got up for a couple stops in Lower Manhattan as it is not right to take up the priority seating/handicapped area when there are not tons of other empty seats - but it was an unusually stress-free train ride home, or perhaps I was just riding the endorphin high.)

There are some nice hills, and the road is empty enough (I got there around 8, while it was still open to traffic, but there are no cars other than park vehicles from 9-5) that you don't have to slow down too often for people.

I am not just lucky in my schedule but lucky in my bicycle-riding friends - Liz couldn't make it, but Brian Berger came out and rode with me from miles c. 37 to 55 (Brian has done a lot of bike racing and is a much faster rider than I - his easy speed was my hard-effort, that hour was definitely the most strenuous of the day!), and Lauren came and found me when I was rinsing off my calves at mile 90 and made the last 10 miles pass by in a flash.

So the only thing I have to complain about is a most mortifying chafing situation. Truly I cannot imagine that this has ever happened to anybody else other than myself, and I put it down entirely to the fact that I have anomalously large calves! I was wearing my new 2XU tri shorts (they are great, and for better and for worse rather longer than any of my other shorts), and had sport drink in the hydration pack (too lazy to sort out the link right now, but it was a new one Lauren has recommended to me); the tube hangs down on my right-hand side. And after about an hour I noted something very strange and sticky and painful happening on my upper right calf - it was somehow sticking to the bottom part of my thigh on each pedal turn! Hmmmm, how could this be? I stopped to investigate, and it was clear that the sport drink was leaking from the tube at a fairly dramatic pace, soaking the back of my leg which then became tacky and produced the most amazingly unsightly chafing! At mile 60 I gave in and rinsed off that leg with water from a fountain and switched the tube to the other side, just to confirm my suspicions - so now BOTH legs have it, though the left side is really not as bad. (But it has an extra bruise/chafe patch where it began to adhere to the frame pump, which rapidly became covered in a disgusting residue of sugar and salts once I switched the hydration to the left-hand side!)

The easy fix on this: replace the Nathan water reservoir with the one from my old Camelbak, which has less storage room in the pack itself but which has a fluid-only-comes-out-when-you-bite feature that I'm not crazy about in other respects but which is clearly preferable to the alternative! I will spare you a picture, it is minor but grotesque and I am going to be YELPING when I shortly hit the shower!

So - a thoroughly non-epic, really quite wonderful 100-mile ride on what is possibly the most beautiful day of this season so far (sunny, low humidity).

By the numbers:

7:02:30, 101.19mi. (avg. pace 14.4mph)
avg HR 134, max HR 158

zone 1: 53:49
zone 2: 3:39:12
zone 3: 1:38:53
zone 4: 49:49 (thanks, Brian and hills!)


Danielle in Iowa in Ireland said...

So it just drips? That seems like poor water conveyance design to me!

Becca said...

You rode for seven hours?!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear about the chafing! But! This is exactly why things need to be practiced before race day. I can't even imagine being on my bike for that long. You are a champ! A group of my racing friends did the 100-mile Ride to Nowhere at our local velodrome. 400 laps! I have a 5-hour ride planned for tomorrow and for only the second day this year, we will actually reach over 70 degrees!

Black Knight said...

7 hours? You are a superhero!

Ironmom (Julie) said...

Congratulations! The chafing sounds awful, but you have to consider any disaster the happens BEFORE race day a valuable learning experience.