Wednesday, July 23, 2014

In Which RAGBRAI Teaches About Limits

Can I get a discount? Sign at community college campus in Emmetsburg, where I had a dorm room and a shower, thank you Cate.

Well, it was an odd day Tuesday on RAGBRAI. There was a north wind, which made for a headwind on maybe 25 percent of the ride—a very strong headwind, too. But, it was a side or back wind on the rest of the ride—so, overall, I would say the wind helped.

And it was humid and warm. But not hot—just warm.

Still, in biking parlance, I was bonking, or I bonked (not sure how to conjugate “to bonk.”). When afternoon came, it wasn't freezing rain, but was just slow Joe, running out of gas.

Which was a bit of a surprise to me. I've biked around 1,700 miles this year—far more training miles then I have ever done before RAGBRAI. And Francis was recently tuned, has a new chain, and I've finally learned the importance of keeping my tires well inflated. So the body and the bike should be working better then ever.

They are not.

The bike is fine. The bicycle is willing, but the flesh is weak. In my defense, I had a minor issue Tuesday, in that my cute monster lunch box, which I'm using for my daily supply of snacks, got accidentally left in the support vehicle.

RAGBRAI lesson from Tuesday: All we are is dust in the wind. But at least we can make electricity.

Starvation was not a danger—Cate was with me when I rode and shared snacks and there is food galore along the RAGBRAI route—but I did not have my usual snacks nor my electrolyte drinks. The lack of the drink, I think, may have helped run me down more than expected.

So near the end of Tuesday's approximately 80-some miles, I was beat, whipped, worn out. I did not sag, but did have to rest for some time in the shade before the final town, and take it very easy for the last 15 or so miles—as the afternoon wore into evening, I had to take care not to hurry. I did not finish the ride until close to 7 p.m., way too late.

And to think that before RAGBRAI I toyed with the idea of riding 100 miles in a day this year.

I don't think I would do that, now. At the moment, it's beyond my capacity, and while working myself and getting good exercise are all good things, I also think paying attention to limits makes some sense.

So I drove Wednesday instead of riding. I gave myself an extra day of rest, and the driving schedule has been reconfigured so I only have one full day of RAGBRAI to conquer.

Corn. Heck, yes.

It's not exactly the way I wanted to do RAGBRAI, but I think doing RAGBRAI requires an ability to reshape plans to fit reality. For the first two years, I rode every mile and was proud of it. But now RAGBRAI is teaching me about limits.

And when I get back home, I plan to schedule a medical checkup. I'm a 55-year-old biker. I've had medical exams before, but never on a regular basis and never when not prompted by some external requirement or event.

RAGBRAI is teaching me to pay a bit more attention to my corporal shell. A willing spirit requires some strength in the body.

Sister and mermaid. Which is which?

1 comment:

  1. You have the grit and common sense you need to finish