When I did the Tour on May 7th, I did an experiment to see what would happen if I only took very limited amount of water and food. I bonked. But was it really in the nutrition and hydration (n&h), or was it that 85+ miles on a mountain bike was just beyond my limit? What's an experiment without a comparison. I had Thursday and Friday off. Well, what else would I rather do? Late start though, tires rolled at 8:45am.
On last ride, all I had for n&h included 2L of plain water plus a small bottle of some sports drink mix and five skinny Powerbars. I ate all my bars while riding. On this ride, I took a sandwich (peanut butter, eggs, and sundried tomatoes) with me, ate half at the top of Windy Hill and the other half at the top of Purisima while stretching off the bike. At 35&84 junction, I had coffee and lunch sitting down. I finished 2L of sports drink in my camelbak before I got to the junction, and refilled it there with sport drink mix. I had one flask of Hammer gel that I sip from here and there.
The fueling strategy change resulted in drastically different riding performance. On the last ride, I bonked. In another word, I suffered through the ride (from the Purisima climb on). This time, I felt strong and had fun the entire way. In the end, I could feel the fatigue, but felt that I could also ride some more. Of course, not having side stitches and back pain ~20miles in also helped raise the fun level — bib shorts are the way to go for long rides, for me at least.
When I exited the restroom by Alice's, I heard a deep male voice, "Are you not supposed to be at work, Mei?" Erik was the only one who knew that I would be at the junction on my ride, but he knew that I had two days off. Not him. My manager? Well, he was probably in the air at that moment (on vacation himself), but that would not make him God, would it? Puzzled, I turned around and realized that it was our neighbor Scott. I forgot that his office is at the junction. We chatted a bit. Later, when I rode through Waterdog, I ran into my fellow dirt diva Sherri and her husband. We had a good chat on the trail.
With the breaks and the chats included, my total elapse time (from start to the end) was not much shorter than the last time (only saved 23 minutes), but my moving time was about an hour shorter, which was consistent with how I felt on the ride. I remember on my previous ride, I felt helpless and pathetic when I saw my speed at 5mph on Canada and today, I was happy to see 10mph. I glanced down too many times at my GPS just to confirm that I was not dreaming being faster.
Well, who had thought — nutrition and hydration can determine whether a ride is fun or not.
For comparison, I'm providing links to both the previous ride and this ride:
- Garmin Connect: bonk ride vs fun ride
- Plus3Network: bonk ride vs fun ride
- MTBguru: bonk ride vs fun ride
(Here is why I post GPS to all three sites.)