A Goal Checked Off for May and Lesson Confirmed in June

Having started 2013 with the goal of pushing my annual mileage up from 3,600 in 2012 to 4,250 in 2013 I have been off to a bad start.  I need to get in 350 miles/month to hit that goal, but have missed by quite a bit in the first four months.  Finally, in May I logged 357.03 miles!  Garmin thinks I burned about 24,236 calories doing that distance.  May’s good distance aside, I am now about 445 miles behind where I need to be.  Gotta step it up in June.

This morning, to that end, I joined a couple of fellow cycling geezers, John Chalmers and Don Senzig, for a ride from Lake Buchanan over to Cherokee, TX for a burger and some of Miss Sue’s Sweet Tea.  The route we chose is one I have not ridden in 6 or 7 months because it has several cattle guards and to keep from destroying another life-time gauranteed Catrike Frame, I slow to a crawl to cross each cattle guard then have to ride like hell to catch back up with anyone I am riding with.  That is usually exhausting.

We had planned to take the longer route through Llano, but John had been up much of the night dealing with a bout of Mal d’Gizzard and with the day promising to be really hot he did not feel (or look) like he would survuive a 67 mile route.  So we set out to ride the route depicted on the map below.

The 53 mile route from Buchanan to Cherokee and back

The 53 mile route from Buchanan to Cherokee and back

As we rolled out we agreed that I would cruise at my own speed which would put me well ahead of my companions by the time I turned off FM2241 onto CR216 with its cattleguards.  The idea was that my friends would catch up with me on the last 4-5 miles of CR216 since that is where all the teeth rattling obstacles are to be found.   

Knowing the day would be hot I resolved to be very diligent about hydration, electrolyte replacement and energy replacement.  Doing that really paid off.

I have tried numerous electrolyte replacement products over the last 8 years of cycling. Nothing I tried comes even close to Hammer Nutrition’s Endurolyte capsule product in preventing cramps and heat exhaustion in our Texas Summers.  A few minutes prior to rolling out I took two Endurolytes, with water, then a Hammer Perpetuem Solids “thing”.  My son Brad’s wife refers to them as “chalk chews”, but has also found that they work very well at replenishing the stuff our muscles burn to keep us pedaling. 

In the course of the ride and lunch I went through 5 liters of water and/or iced tea, 9 endurolytes and 6 Perpetuems, plus a hamburger.  That kept me going through 53 miles, though the temperature on the return ride was in the upper 90s, and I suspect 8-10 degrees higher down on the road surface where one rides a Catrike. Garmin shows 2,075 feet of total ascent just to “ring the bell” a little louder.  I had no cramping, averaged 13.1 mph for the whole ride and 13.7 for the second half of it, though we were into the wind on the return.  And… I stopped and waited for my riding friends several times because I was just riding strong, … well OK toasty strong, but still strong.  Oh … and the day before I had ridden the 33.3 mile Park Road 4 loop which has plenty of short but nasty climbs. 

There is no way in hell I could have pulled off today’s ride and come in feeling like I might want to ride tomorrow, without good, well balanced electrolyte replacement, hydration and energy supplimentation.  Even WITH those I weighed right at 5 pounds less after the ride than before it.  That loss is mostly water, so I have continued to hydrate this evening to be sure I am good to go on a short ride tomorrow.

I have heard people make statements about getting electrolytes by eating salty food.  That is foolish and not supported by what we know about our bodies.  A good electrolyte suppliment will have some sodium salt, but also salts of phosphorous, magnesium, and manganese as well as some other stuff that helps our bodies assimilate the salts.  Too much sodium chloride actually blocks the other electrolytes from getting through the cell walls.  Don’t bother to comment about how great you do with the salt from a bunch of On-the Border tostadas.  The simple, inarguable truth is that you would do even better with a balanced load of electrolytes.

Final numbers for the ride were: 

53 miles in 4hr 2min 2sec for an average speed of 13.1 mph.  3,347 caloriees, MaxHR 148, AvgHR 116, AvgRPM 80…  at age 69 on a damned tricycle

Get out, get off the couch, turn the TV off, go cycling in the country and see the beauty of nature up close.  Get your heart rate up every day and keep it up for as long as your doctor will tolerate.  My doc STILL just sits slack-jawed when he attempts to explain what he thinks enough exercise is, then asks what I have been doing.  He forgets between annual visits. 

I may well be, someday, bug-splatted by a Kenworth but I sure as heck do not intend to die a slow, degrading, expensive death lying in a pool of my own urine like so many seem determined to do.  Seriously, do you REALLY want to die of old age?  I choose to LIVE old age.

A special note of recognition for daughter-in-law, Jessica, who started riding a Catrike 700 in March and has already lost 12+ pounds and begun to pass her ice hockey playing cyclist husband Brad on downhills!  Way to go Jessica!


3 responses to “A Goal Checked Off for May and Lesson Confirmed in June

  1. Your scolding about electrolytes is duly noted. I have been one of the big violators. But now that the hot weather of summer is here, I pledge to do a better job.

  2. Ride on! I’ve got a mere 30 miler scheduled for tomorrow morning out on the rolling hills of Amman road with a young(er) teaching colleague. 30 to 40’s been a max for me lately . . . school’s out so I’ve got a chance to increase my range with more frequent outings and sixty to ninety minute “time trials” on neighborhood streets. I’ll get some of that there Endurolyte this afternoon and some chalk stuff in case I decide to go over 40m. Wishing us all good luck on timing that exit plan just right, I remain…

  3. Good lesson. I recall my first attempt (on your former steel beast) at the Castelle ride. With only 4 miles to go on the 36 mile round trip I bonked … and badly. Nevermore quoth some damn bird.

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