Don’t try to make it to Oklahoma on a quarter tank of gas.
It that’s not a country song, it should be. Perhaps I’ll write it. It would go a little something like this.
On Saturday, Shawn and I headed out to ride the 56 mile Longhorn Triathlon Course. It starts and ends at Decker Lake, but winds through some beautiful country roads of Manor, Elgin and Webberville. I’d never even heard of the town of Webberville until yesterday. Because of all the rain, we decided to wait until early afternoon to head out to let the roads dry. At 12 miles into the ride, I had already convinced myself it was going to be a horrible day. Within 45 minutes, we had run into a closed road on the map (had to detour a couple of miles), Shawn’s chained had dropped, I dropped $17 out of my pocket when trying to grab the map and it started to rain AGAIN. Fortunately, we pulled into a Shell gas station and spent the next hour at a freaking convenience store drinking hot chocolate and waiting for the storm to pass. You witness some interesting things when hanging out in a convenience store. I honestly thought we would throw in the towel. We even talked about calling some friends to come pick us up, but we waited it out. Finally, the rain subsided and we hit the roads again. It was 3:00pm. I couldn’t believe it. We were moving forward. The course is good and fair…Some rollers, but lots of scenic flat stretches. We weren’t really pushing it because we had a triathlon on Sunday. For me, it was mainly about just getting the miles and getting some spurts of pace riding. At one point, we passed a Sheriff’s car and he actually got on his speaker and said, “Need to borrow my rain coat?” Very cute indeed. And here I thought we were going to get the, “What are you city folk doing on my country roads this time of day trying to emulate that Tour day France? Take your stretchy bike pants and pansy colored shirts and get back to Austin where the rest of you weird people hang out.” Shows you how close-minded I am.
I learned something that I already know. You cannot (I repeat CANNOT) ride 56-60 miles on one 20oz bottle of fluid, even if it does have a Nuun electrolyte replacement tablet in it. I know, I know…not exactly sure what I was thinking except I was convinced that we would pass another gas station or a hose or a troth or something. By Mile 45, we were toast. Shawn was worse off than I was because he’s a sweater! I always know when I’m bonking on the bike. My mind goes first and I start to get agitated. I just want to quit. Every hill is a mountain and every downhill is just used for recovery. We saw a brand new park that I’m convinced was just a mirage. I think God put it there temporarily. We stopped and, by the grace of God, it had water fountains. Neither one of us had 10 miles left at that point. That water was my saving grace. I was able to take a Power Gel and gain the strength I needed to finish the last 10 miles strong. I ended the ride at 59 miles.
Shawn was a different story and he gave me the scare of a lifetime. I had gained some distance and was waiting by the car for a few minutes assuming he was close behind. After 5 minutes, I got a little nervous and started riding the course backwards. Less than .25 miles away, I saw his bike laying by the side of the road and his body lying next to it. He was flat on his back. I ran up to him and asked if he was ok. A slurred “Huh?” was all I got in return. He was out. I mean out. Fortunately, the car was close so I grabbed my key from his bike and hauled ass back to the car to grab water and gatorade. As I was riding back, a guy in a car stopped and asked if he was ok. All I could think to say was, “He’s thirsty.” I was back within two minutes and was immensely relieved to see Shawn sitting up drinking water courtesy of the stranger who stopped and happened to have a jug of cold water in his car. The stranger (Kenneth–another act of God?) had poured water on his wrists to cool down his core temperature. Within 10 minutes, he had downed about 60 ounces of fluid and was regaining his wits. We joked that he was literally less than 1/4 mile away from being finished when he lost it. Just one more turn and he was there. He’s ridden this road a few times and had no idea where he was at.
Suffice to say, we learned our lesson the hard way. While we got the miles in, it didn’t come without a sacrifice. Stupid, elementary, cycling 101 rookie mistake.
The good news? I didn’t lose the $17 afterall. I found it in my Bento Box. Sweet.
Marble Falls Triathlon Recap coming soon