The song goes, "rain, rain go away, come again some other day."
As usual, the day was marked with several key moments. Rain brought along the first memorable moment. At the 65 or 70 mile point, it began to rain on and off again. Not too terrible, just enough to make descents dangerous. This theme continued for the next 130 miles.
Red Flag on the Track
At a stop sign around 100 miles, I caught up to a couple of guys I was riding with on and off. Truth be told, I was dropped on a hill about 10 miles prior. We will visit this later. Doug was off his bike stretching and checking his steed for any damage. They said he crashed. Doug thinks he touched wheels and spilled but doesn't remember. He claimed he was feeling ok and he made it to the stop in Siler City. Seems his ego was bruised a little, common in Randonneuring. They were going on to the next stop on the other side of the Uwharrie mountains as they were going for the 400K brevet.
Eaten by a Bear...Er...DOG!
During the point where I was riding alone, I came across 2 large Alpha dogs. Normally, I would just pick up some speed and fly by them. Unfortunately, they saw me first and headed down the middle of the road. I chose to stop and hopefully calm them down. It nearly worked.
I don't know if you have ever looked into the eyes and mouth of an angry animal that stands about waist high. The eyes were dark not unlike that of a death row inmate. They were saying, "Boy, y'all just done screwed up. Now we shall eat you." Remember Little Red Riding Hood? "...what big teeth you have.." These two dogs were spitting saliva everywhere. Each bark brought another gush of the thick white substance.
Normally, I am not afraid of dogs. They just want to play. Yesterday, I changed my mind. The black chow chow actually nipped at me twice. He received a thrust from my gloved fist and backed off for a couple seconds. This probably didn't help matters at all. The owners finally came out of their house and yelled at the dogs. OOH, I'm glad you could put down the moonshine for a few seconds to check on your pets. They stood behind the screen door. Here's an idea, get onto the public road and get your dogs!
I put my bike between the dogs and myself and began walking down the road. I figured they would leave me alone when I wasn't near their territory. Remember the chow? He had the instinct of a wolf. While the lab was on my right on the other side of the bicycle, the chow circled behind me to the left flank. I was surrounded. I calmly kept walking and put my hand out so he could see I wasn't a threat. He didn't bite my hand off. Eventually, I rode away.
I was chased by at least 15 dogs along the ride. The funniest was a Weiner dog running down the side of the road. Why in the world bother having a pet if you don't want the responsibility of taking care of it. Perhaps on the next ride I will carry a weapon, I think an H&K 9mm will do the trick. Better yet, if the armory could let me check out an MP5 I could get some business done!
I guess there is a reason these citizens live in the middle of no where. Near small one horse towns like Whynot, NC. You have got to be kidding me. There should be legislation passed to change the name of every town with a stupid name. Yes, this will include towns like Joe, MT. I know we are the land of the free...and I am sworn to protect the Constitution but I am going to draw the line! People, just build a fence, a kennel or invest in a leash. These are your pets, not wild animals.
Speaking of dogs, this is when I began riding with Lisa URL: http://www.bookwoman.com/ She has some interesting stories about the hounds on her blog. I actually saw her throw her only Fig Newtons at one of the beasts. We rode the rest of the ride pacing and trying to keep each other motivated. Without her company, finishing would have been difficult.
The 'p' word again. This is the most important word in distance cycling. You are right, it is a very important concept in life. Some people have it and others couldn't tell you the meaning. They have never really challenged themselves beyond their capabilities. They sit On the Couch watching the Kentucky Derby on Cinco de Mayo sipping on margaritas. Perseverance is not finishing the bottle of tequila.
Perseverance is continuing on your journey even when you want to quit. Even when your body is shutting down and your mind and spirit are broken. Last night after we missed a turn and riding several unnecessary miles, I was ready to toss in the towel. I wasn't going to quit riding until I finished the ride. No way I will willingly quit a challenge. I did think that I wouldn't continue the series. I decided that riding at night in the rain is dreadful. Those thoughts are out of my system. Ready for the 400 in 2 weeks time.
In endurance events there are several things that can ruin your day and even your life. Success is dependent on your mental state. You must overcome fear and disappointment. Better yet, beat them before you set out on your excursion. Proper nutrition will change the hormonal balance in your mind in a hurry. The human body has several systems in place that enable survival. It can shut down certain systems and divert the energy to other parts of the body. Keeping proper blood sugar and insulin levels are the only way to ensure success.
Overall, I did a good job with nutrition. I will take more chow with me next time. I got dropped on a hill because my sugar levels were unbalanced and I had too much junk in my belly. I screwed up nutrition 3 times in the ride. This caused massively low blood sugar and severe insulin spikes. One time scared the snot out of me. We left the turn around and things were good. After 15 minutes, I began to sweat profusely and lost energy. I have been here before. I began intaking gel, fig newtons (nearly ate the rapper too) and drink. I consumed things that I knew would fix the problem and keep my level at the proper levels. Within 15 min, I was back on track, stronger than ever.
I am not sure of the cause I have narrowed it down to a few ideas. It could be the adverse affect of coffee at the rest stops. It is possible but it is so good. I had a cheese burger at the turn around. It possibly had too much simple carbs in the white bread. I will research these issues. The feeling of desperation is horrible. It was good but I will pass on the burgers and stick to my perpetuem, fig newtons, bananas and gels. I had good luck with V8 Juice at each stop. Just the right thing to prevent cramping.
Dogs - beware, I be bringin' my gat' on my next cruise down the shaw yo! Cuz I be a gangsta'. (Actually, I will probably remember where the beasts were located and ride faster.)
Food - keep the fuel stoked
water - did great on this ride. Had plenty and drank plenty.
Company - keep company on the ride. There is a time to ride alone but better to have company especially at night.
Night Riding - After I got over my negative spell, night riding was enjoyable. Average speed is a little lower at night. The good thing is you can't see where hills end. Just keep spinning. Seems to be more relaxing.
STAY TUNED...This week will discuss the ability to overcome fear and even defeat.
Gen 15:1 ...the LORD came unto Abram in a vision, saying, Fear not, Abram: I [am] thy shield, [and] thy exceeding great reward. KJV