I won't lie. When I collapsed on the curb outside Heinie's market I wanted to cry. I fought hard to keep a respectable pace up Golden Gate Canyon, through the state park, and then up Apex Valley, across Elk Park and up the slopes of Kingston. Truth be told, I walked some really soul crushing hills.
Golden Gate Canyon, Apex Valley and across Elk Park I felt strong and solid. But the other climbs I flubbed, struggled, walked, ached, and cursed my way up.
I walked out of Elk Park, I walked a bit of my shortcut from Apex Valley up Hughesville Road to the Peak to Peak, the hill south of the state park visitor center...I pedaled up Guy Hill all the way on the return. I was stoked about that.
Then I hoped to bomb down the canyon, through Golden and out the Clear Creek Trail home. Ah, but the wicked hot headwind blowing up the canyon dashed those hopes. I fought to keep a good solid speed down the canyon. Golden felt like an oven, and by the time I reached the CCT I was struggling to go 13 mph.
At the giant pringle cans I knew I had five miles. At the giant pringle cans I wanted to chuck my bike in a ravine and never think about doing a long bike ride again...ever. Ever. At the giant pringle cans, with five miles to go, I started cramping. My left peck and thigh cramped.
I felt nauseous. My legs felt hollow. The heat was like a blanket of hot concrete. I was done. I wanted to be home. The thought of pedaling up the meager hill on Tabor to Ridge Road, where I would continue to broil in the sun made me want to cry.
So I coasted to an awkward stop at Heinie's and texted my lovely wife, my faithful SAG crew leader, and asked if she would come pick me up. I'd given up.
So much for a dress rehearsal. So much for training, for a year of hoping, dreaming, scheming. Today's ride was harder than Squaw. It was harder than the Triple Bypass or any other ride I've ever done. It crushed my mind and soul.
Yeah, my abject failure got me down. I know what happened. I didn't fuel correctly. Always its my eating that thwarts me. I had a pretty good week, but apparently not good enough. And then I didn't eat enough, or early enough before heading out. I slacked off as I got higher and closer to Kingston. And on the return trip I almost didn't eat at all. I tried, it was just so hot and I was so tired I didn't want to fool with it.
I drank about 7-8 liters of fluid (water and gatorade) in 9 hours. I went to 11,000' and returned to ridiculous heat.
I think I have one more effort in me. I think I have one more chance to figure it out. I'm feeling pretty good now, considering how I felt sitting at Heinie's waiting on Mandy. I had some good moments. Descending Apex Valley Road was awesome. I was screaming down the dirt road at 25-30 mph and feeling strong. Guy Hill loomed in my mind, but I actually got up it in fairly good shape. Riding through Elk Park was awesome!
Okay, maybe I won't sell my bike just yet...