This past Sunday was my last good training ride day. I will be in New Orleans for Memorial Day weekend and the Tour de Cure is on the following Sunday. My plan was to ride from home to Reston Parkway, turn around and ride west to Purcellville, then turn around and ride back home. That route is 56 miles, only five miles short of my Tour de Cure if I have Scott drive me back home and ten miles short if I ride the bike back home.
I got on the trail at 11:30am, much later than planned, but the trail wasn't too crowded. The trip to Reston and the return past home were easy. I worked on keeping my pace at a reasonable 13 MPH but it kept creeping up to 14.5 or so. I got into a spot of trouble in Ashburn when my sunscreen started running into my eyes. After clearing that up, I continued on while being pounded by the sun. The air temperature was only 80F and the humidity was tolerable, but that sun was baking me pretty hard. I couldn't wait to get into the tree cover outside of and through Leesburg. I got to Raflo park -- mile 22 of my trip -- and seriously considered calling Scott to come pick me up. But I rested in the shade and breeze, ate half a sandwich, ate a banana, and drained both water bottles. Thankfully, there was a working water fountain and I was able to refill.
I hit the trail again and was doing okay until I crossed Route 7 and began the climb up to Clark's Gap. The sun started baking me again and everything hurt. My gloves felt like they were squeezing my fingers, my shoes crushed my toes, my shorts pinched my thighs and lady parts, and my helmet felt like a vise on the back of my head. My hands were numb, my toes hurt, my right heel hurt, my head hurt. It's only 30 more miles, I bargained with myself. I can do that easily. But I slowed, and slowed, and slowed.
No, damnit! This is my last time to train! My body could NOT give up. Except that it did. I gave in and called Scott for rescue. I was at Clark's Gap but I asked him to meet me in Leesburg. I figured I could at least coast most of the way down hill to town. I was disappointed in myself and fretful about what this meant for the Tour. However, as I spent the rest of the afternoon and evening recovering from heat exhaustion, I realize that I made the right decision in calling for rescue.
You know, my not being a morning person makes me grumbly about tours and supported rides starting so blasted early in the morning. But now I understand why they do that. My Tour start time is between 7 and 8am so I feel a little better about not getting too sun baked while riding. Of course, now watch us get a monsoon on the day of.