A cycling lesson well learned
I took my longest ride ever this past Sunday. I know it doesn’t sound like much if you’re a long-distance rider, but I finally rode my very first metric century (104 km or ~64 miles) from San Francisco to San Jose via beautifully scenic Skyline Blvd. I was originally only planning to ride down to Palo Alto as usual (68 km or 42 miles) and then take the train back home, but of course plans change.
While taking a nice little break in Woodside, some friends heading down to San Jose from San Francisco rolled up, so I decided on a whim to try going all the way with them. I was feeling really good at that point, so I thought it’d be a good idea to join them.
Of course, I completely forgot:
- They are boys and boys ride faster than I do
- Actually, everyone rides faster than I do
- But more specifically, these boys ride faster because they are badasses on fixed gear bikes
- To eat enough to make up for the extra miles
So yes… the boys are fast. They got lost and I still only barely made it down with them. Goddamn fast boys!
Also, it turns out that while my body is just fine eating a PB&J sandwich, a small handful of nuts, and a big meal at home after 68 km, my body is definitely not fine with eating a PB&J sandwich, a small handful of nuts, and part of a friend’s burrito after 104 km.
Mistakes I made:
- Not eating enough during the ride. Eating a large meal afterwards can be tough because your stomach can only hold so much food (see next item).
- Not eating calorie dense food afterwards. I filled up too quickly at home because I was eating my normal dinnertime food, which is typically pretty healthy with a large volume and low calorie count.
- Over-exerting myself by trying to follow someone else’s pace. This is why I hate to ride with other people. I am a slow rider. I like to ride at my own pace, which is good for my body. I’m usually the last person in a crowd for this very reason.
As a result of these mistakes, I ended up feeling incredibly sick the next day. I was tired, cranky, and feeling lightheaded and dizzy every time I stood up. I am pretty sure this was because I had just done too much the day before and hadn’t refuelled myself (still running on empty the next day). I had no idea that something like that could last into the day after, so I was surprised I was still feeling quite ill and out of sorts on Monday.
I will definitely keep this in mind next time I attempt a ride longer than the usual 68 km (probably again on Monday due to the lovely US holiday). I feel like I need to conquer the metric century; then I can move on to the imperial century!