Tuesday, May 22, 2012

400k Brevet: Ashland-Lake Erie, Part II

I was pleasantly surprised  that all three cars who passed during this time checked to see if I needed further assistance as well as a man who came out of his house to offer up a spare tube or air pump. There are a lot of awesome people down in Loudonville! As usual, the Amish folk were out working hard and waving hello also. This stretch was only 49 miles and I thought roughly 55-60 ozs of Gatorade or water would be enough, but I was getting dangerously dehydrated from the heat and hills.  I was close to completely out of fluid with a good 15 miles to go to the control with no place to get fluids. I had completely stopped sweating for long while, had horrific cramping, very nauseous and was getting weird heart palpations.

At this point, quitting was not an option and I was very strongly contemplating pulling a Bear Grylls, when literally two minutes later I found a lady painting on the side of the road. I asked if she knew of any nearby stores even if they were out of the way. She said "No, there aren't any. You look like you need some water!" Out she pulled several bottles of ice cold water. I told her she was an angel  and thanked her for the water.

After arriving at control #4, I was feeling horrible from the heat and  from an injury called a bunion (problem #3: )on my pinkie toes that was causing excoriating pain. I just recently found out what a bunion is from a friend who is a nurse and how severe an injury it is (or could become). I stopped at a McDonald's and had a Big Mac meal while sitting in the A/C to get my core temp back down. I had my shoes off to make the bunions feel better. I called wifey to see how the girls were doing and to calm my mind with all the bad things that had transpired thus far. After a 30 minute prolonged break, I proceeded on and was soon joined again by Rich. We rode the complete second half together. Periodically stopping to rub my bunion and to refill water bottles. I was also experiencing a lot of digestive issues which I normally don't have since I was eating a lot more vs. drinking my powder mix, so riding in general was just uncomfortable.

We enjoyed a nice sunset on Lake Erie while traveling from Vermilion.

Night riding was slower due to navigation by bike lighting, and that  we may have been a little tired (although you wouldn't hear us say that to anyone we met). Here we are arriving at the Huron control. Just one more 54 mile stretch to go.

There was periodic talking while finding the correct turns. Most of the noise was from the wind, animals running (deer, raccoons?) in the woods, dogs barking or either of us yawning. The temp held close 50 but felt considerably lower when hitting lowlands with heavy amounts of fog. My friends and family often ask "How dark is it when you are biking out there at night?" Granted the ContourRoam isn't great with night photos, but it looks a lot like this. Also note, that after a couple minutes riding in the dark, the eyes adjust well to what light is available.

At about 12:30, Rich asked if we could stop for 5 minutes to rest and so he could eat something. We stopped at the corner of Main St. and Route 60 in New London. Rich was hunched over by a trashcan while eating and I was laying against the building with my shoes off so that the dreaded bunions would temporarily feel better. A couple cars went by giving us funny glares. One car in particular stayed at the intersection for a solid 2.5 minutes before leaving. As we were mounting our bikes and starting to pedal, a cop car came zooming up and was closely watching us. I'm guessing that the one driver called us in for suspicious behavior. After all, how often do you see some people hanging out on the sidewalk in a very small town at almost 1 in the morning?

We finished at 2:01 AM with Rich doing a lead-in to Motel 6. Indeed a long day. 

For one last piece of comedy gold: Rich blew by the hotel's office and went straight back to his car. I chased him down and let him know that he needed to go back. Rich replied "Why!?!?"  "Because you need to get the final signature and time stamp."  Rich: "Oh! I'm so tired! Thanks!"  I took a quick shower in Bob's room and then slept 3 hours in the Subaru. It wasn't the most comfortable place to sleep, but I could have probably slept on the sidewalk just the same.

Given all the things that went bad and dealing with numerous injuries, my performance wasn't pretty, but the brevet got done.

Four riders had to drop due to dehydration. Completely understandable given the terrain, heat and if the rider's nutrition wasn't perfect.

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