I was one of many hundreds of participants in the Lawrence Bike Club's annual Lizard Under the Skillet Ride. I did the 62 mile metric century, and briefly considered doing the 40 mile option one more time to make things 100 miles--that would not happen, mes amis--it was certainly hot and humid. I drank tons of water, and still I dealt with leg cramps.
I arrived about 5:45 am at the start. People were just taking it easy getting ready--you could start anytime between 6 am and 8 am--and I started out just after 6. I happened to go out with the real fast riders from the Sun Flower Bike Shop (I think the Free State Racing Team) and boy did we go out fast, Gentle Readers of This Blog! For about seven miles I hung on with these guys--this was great because my plan was to ride with a group out against the headwind, and then rest and take it easy and enjoy the tailwind coming home.
On a big hill I got dropped. At the bottom of the hill, that pack made a sharp right--which I did not see them make as I came down. I kept going straight by mistake, thinking they had just got up and over the next big hill in front of me. I climbed and climbed and then shot down only to discover gravel. According to my cue sheet I was on the right road so I kept going, and soon realized that I had missed a turn although the map still said I was on course.
What happened is that I ended up being a mile North of the controle as I hit the paved hwy and saw others riders pulling in. I stopped, got water and some munchies--and then pulled out with a Father and Daughter team riding fixed wheel bikes. I rode with them through the headwinds taking my turn pulling for the next 15 or so miles. It was great! and Paul and Mary were strong riders! I was able to ride with them quiet well, and they wanted me to stay with them the entire trip.
I will say that it became very hot--into the 90s by 9 am--I drank as much water as I could and filled up on carbs and Gatorade at the next few SAG stops. It was wonderful riding in a group and has to be the fastest I've ridden on these country road ever. Riding and being able to stay in a pack to cover long distances in this Kansas headwind is the way to go, mes amis!
The last 10 or so miles back to the finish I rode on my own as Paul, a Lawrence HS Teacher for 35 years, and his daughter Mary, a graphic artist, cut off the course to ride back to their home. Paul had shown me where I made my error and he and Mary both told me the had stopped a few riders doing the same thing I did earlier that morning.
By now the wind had changed and I was out on my own with only a few riders way up ahead of me. I started having some pretty bad leg cramps flaring up and my hope was I'd get back okay. The wind was getting stronger and the I still had to climb a few miles until things leveled out. Finally I could see the campus of KU off in the distance so I just had to hang on and relax until the finish. I finished about 10:30 and by then it was 95 degrees with about 90 per cent humidity.
Got home and felt pretty good--did chores and ate a little lunch and tried to stay on my feet and moving to work out the leg cramps. I will have to get some Endurolites or something because if I go out on longer rides I'll need to stave off cramps!
I also have to tell you that the whole city was motionless as people just stayed indoors and nobody ventured outside because of the heat.