Disclaimer: I wrote this post as a retrospective on my first 30 mile ride....only to realize after the fact that I actually rode 30 miles nonstop in August of 2016. I even blogged about it. Whoops!
Saturday’s 30-mile ride left me feeling conflicted. It was a team ride, and my second time going to a Team Z ride this season. We met in Harwood, Maryland, with people riding from between 17 and and 80 miles.
The good stuff:
30 clipped in miles!
I’ve never ridden a nonstop 30 miles while clipped in before. The closest I’ve gotten was last summer when I rode with Stacey’s group ride, then she and I went out on the W&OD for a few more miles. That was also the time I forgot to clip out, fell over, stood up, and almost passed out. Interestingly, that incident was the start of my adventure with doctors, finally landing on the POTS diagnosis. This ride on Saturday was much hillier than I was expecting. I’ve never been a strong climber, and the decline in my strength and increase in my weight this past year has only made them harder.
I nailed my sodium
POTS means I have to take in a large amount of sodium so that my blood volume is high enough for me to remain conscious. I tested out some Skratch Hyper Hydration before loading up the car. It has 1700mg of sodium in a single serving, and it’s basically like drinking palatable saline. I took on another 500mg of sodium during my 2.5 hour ride, and arrived back without any dizzy spells, and I wasn’t crusted over with salt like I usually am.
I hydrated on the go
This one is huge! I’m anxious on the bike, often getting numb hands and neck pain because I have such a death grip on the handlebars. Coach Ed suggested I switch over to a hydration pack rather than trying to reach for bottles. Even grabbing for the straw made me nervous sometimes, but I managed it, and even got more confident as the ride went on. I’ll definitely be wearing my pack at Rev3 Williamsburg next month. Such a game changer until my balance improves.
The rough stuff:
I am agonizingly slow
I kept falling so far behind my group that I couldn’t see anyone, and my planned Z2 ride wound up being more of an extended Z4 effort. It was kind of heartbreaking. I’d finally catch up to my group at a stop sign, and I’d only have a moment to catch my breath before they were ready to set off again. I’m sure if I’d spoken up, they would have been more than willing to wait longer to let me rest, but I was too embarrassed. How ridiculous is that. My Z4 was 12 mph, by the way. I know speed shouldn’t matter, and this should all be for fun, and now this is a place to grow from…. but man. It really hurts to have a hilly race pace of 12 mph. I didn’t realize that was possible.
30 miles was too much
I had originally planned to do 25 miles, but no one else on the team seemed to be doing that distance, and I didn’t want to be alone. Instead I did the 30 and wound up being mostly alone anyway. Cue the pity party. To be clear, I was never dropped. The girls always waited and were nothing but encouraging when I did catch up. I just went to a negative headspace couldn’t get myself out of it.
Not enough calories
While I think I took in plenty of nutrition during the ride itself and recovered properly, I didn’t eat breakfast. That hasn’t been a problem in the past, but I guess 30 miles at that effort burns a lot more than 15 miles at an easy pace, huh? The aftermath of getting behind on calories and the effort caught up with me the next day. I slept almost the entire day, missing my planned long run. As J pointed out, instead of a long workout, I basically did an unplanned and under fueled bike race.
I got sloppy during the back half of the ride. This was evidenced by increasingly rough stops, culminating in a clip-out-left-lean-right-catch-self-with-a-stem-to-the-abdomen. Ouch. I also had some trouble getting up to speed after stops in the last five 10 miles, resulting in one instance where I zig zagged across the road and got rather close to an oncoming car. Whoops. Fortunately, I returned to the ride start with a bit of wounded pride, but nothing worse.
So, there we go. Am I happy? Yes. I got out there, got it done, and next time will be better. Onward!