Tuesday, October 09, 2007
The Hot 100
We went. We rode. We conquered! And so did all the 13 riders who attempted it! 100 miles on a bike in one day! That's about 161 km. It was a big effort by all. There were a lot that thought we were all nuts for wanting to do it in the first place.
While we started off with some (welcome) cloud cover, it cleared and hotted up as we made our way inland from our starting point right on the coast. Apparently it was about 35 degrees at Grafton (our lunch stop) during the middle of the day. The last stretch into Coffs, though, we rode into a thunderstorm - not that I think anyone was complaining too much about getting wet after having been so damn hot. (It created visibility issues then though; we were glad we had our flashing red tail light and yellow rain jackets - though once we were through the rain we ditched them because it was so humid!)
Our major hurdle, though, was Marc getting super bad cramps in his legs 40km from the end, just after we'd done a second post-lunch 20km stint in the heat. Damn! We'd been going so well up till then. My bum was holding up better than expected, and I wasn't as trashed as I thought I might have been by that point. (Guess the training rides actually helped!). And usually I'm the greater 'risk' factor, you'd have to say, given my propensity for niggling aches and injuries.
However. As we pulled up his legs cramped up badly... actually getting off the bike was a challenge. Then he spent more than an hour sitting outside this cafe on the asphalt where he all but fell... with the cramps occasionally taking hold. It was a bit hard to know what to do - tried massaging, tried stretching..... in the end he decided that as he'd taken enough minerals through an electrolyte supplement we'd been taking, it was most likely dehydration. (I'd been telling him he should wear a camel-back like I do, because on the tandem you are less inclined to reach down for your water bottle.) He drank a lot at the rest stops, but given that he sweats so much, it obviously wasn't enough. So he drank, drank, drank, drank.
In the end he then just needed time for the water to take effect. Despite preparing myself for the likelihood that we might not get to finish, I also knew that he's one determined bugger, and he wouldn't be giving up if there was any chance of finishing. We sent everyone else on.. asked our support driver to wait with us.. and then, one hour after the others had left, gingerly set off. We took the hills more slowly (ie. spinning more, rather than pushing...) and I kept asking "you ok? you ok?". Apart from a quick 'pee' stop for him (he'd drunk so much water by then - and actually, for a pee it wasn't all that quick given his 'touring tank'), we didn't stop the rest of the way to the finish. (When we did that section in training the previous week we stopped about three times!) I don't think we got quite as wet as the rest of them ahead of us... but we certainly got damp enough to cool down.
It wasn't quite the finish we envisaged, especially given that the rest of the day we were the pacesetters, with one guy in particular slipstreaming us for many miles... but we were proud, and relieved, to have pushed through and made it afterall.
At times I've wondered whether doing it on the back of a tandem was 'easier' than on a single. I know not everyone thinks that - some see the pace we set as quite daunting, however the momentum you build up on the flats and hills makes it easier to cruise, and I think that makes others think we have it easy. Hills on a tandem are harder, no doubt about that - lucky this course had relatively few of them. As Marc pointed out, the downside of the tandem could have been that one of us (me in this instance) may have not been able to finish because their partner couldn't.
Finishing it together, despite the problems, was all the more sweeter though.
Labels: bike riding
I was thinking about you all day on Sunday and wondering how you were going.
I am so very impressed.