Sunday, January 25, 2009

Season Opener

The San Francisco Randonneurs traditionally start the season in January with the 200km brevet route from the Golden Gate to the Point Reyes Lighthouse (well, close to it) and back. With well over 7000 ft of elevation gain and the likelyhood of adverse atmospheric conditions it is not among the easier brevets. Still, it "sold out" (the National Park Services limit the rider count to 100), with some participants even coming from out of state.
I won't go to great lengths describing how it all went. Just for the record (and I don't know how to put it politely): It was my first brevet where I had diarrhea before I left the house in the morning, and where I packed an extra roll of toilet paper. Call me lucky, because I didn't have to use it. On the other hand, I didn't feel like eating, all day long; and I thought it was a good idea not to drink very much either, to facilitate "drying out" the digestive tract. The latter was easy, because the air was humid (even though we were spared the announced rain showers) and very cool.
Also, I decided to really minimize my time off the bike, this time. I didn't stop (other than for red lights) until the first control at the turn-around point (mile 55 or so), and until then had only consumed less than half a bottle with Perpetuem, and less than half a bottle of water. The control volunteers offered snacks, and I helped myself to an Odwalla bar (which lasted for 20 miles - I could eat it in small bites only, very slowly) and a small pack of Clif Shot Bloks, knowing that I didn't like them, but anticipating that I would need them.
On the way back, I stopped at a grocery store in Inverness (around mile 75) to buy a bottle of water and a bottle of Gatorade - which I still hadn't finished when I arrived at home, nearly two hours after finishing the brevet. At the Marshall control, I bought a small bag of "Trail Mix" and ate two mouthfuls - and that's it for the whole day!
I am emphasizing all this so much because I would have never thought before that it was possible to do 200 not-so-easy kilometers on so little food and liquids - it's a new experience; but I better don't make a habit out of it: it doesn't sound right!
Of course, my performance on the bike was less than stellar; on several occasions, I felt that my legs would cramp up if I pushed harder. On the other hand, I still kept my ambition and decided to fight hard to the finish - going as fast as I could, in particular on the climbs. And so I checked in at the finish with a time of 10h14, which for me is not too shabby on this route, and which made me boast that now I am stronger on a bad day than two years ago on a good day. Who knows, maybe it's actually true!


  1. Salut Vélocio!

    Quelle bonne idée ce blog. C'est toujours agréable de lire tes récits pleins d'humour... et comme je connais ton enthousiasme, je sens qu'il va y en avoir beaucoup en 2009!...
    J'aime bien le titre aussi. On a toujours quelque chose à apprendre, c'est tellement vrai (sur le vélo et dans la vie), et c'est le signe d'une grande jeunesse d'esprit.
    Alors, bonnes routes... et bon appétit, pas comme cette fois-ci!

  2. Je suis d'accord avec Sophie. :)