Of course I added a couple of pounds while in Europe, so I've been busy on the bike getting back into race shape and whittling those 3 pounds off. Saturday, May 9th, and Monday/Wednesday/Friday of last week I did 2 - 2 1/2 hours each of those days to get back into the groove. I usually always carry a gel, I just never use it.
I went for a quick and hard 1 1/2 hours last night with SMSP Intervals and a 20 minute muscle endurance interval. I had a nice recovery dinner and decided today after a full day of faculty meetings and workshops to head out for some kind of a training ride. May 31st is the first race at Banner Pits (6 1/2 miles north of my house) and the bike path goes right there, so I've been riding to the Pits and getting acquainted with these tough new trails that just opened.
I headed off without a gel today assuming I would be back under the 2 hour window which is about what I am trained for this year - nothing longer in terms of maximum effort. I haven't used a gel yet on this trip, so I figured I would not bring one today since I wouldn't use it anyway.
The wind was howling and I rode with the wind for the first 30 minutes noting that the return trip home would be uphill and against a very strong wind. I rode to Banner Pits and did 2 full laps of the expert trail at race speed and 1 full lap of the beginner/intermediate trail before turning the bike back south and dead into the wind for the 6 1/2 miles uphill. I decided to taper back to a recovery pace for the trip home. What I didn't realize is that I was already over 2 hours on the bike and I had not eaten since 8 am. I had no gel and I was running on afternoon fumes. So to avoid the much dreaded and dangerous bonk, I hunkered down and kept a steady recovery pace all the way home. The wind forced me to gear down and slow my pace. I was in survival mode to avoid going too far over the edge and into a bonk. That's something I always want to avoid at all costs as a bonk is very serious and dangerous. One thing about riding in this condition is that it feels harder than going full out even though I was crawling. I needed fuel, but had nothing but water with me. And I needed to keep burning fuel to climb that 6 mile hill.
The slower pace helped me accomplish the mission of getting home without any serious issues. I arrived home after 3:35 on the bike (about an hour longer than my long race training rides have been this year to date). I think if I had a gel or I had eaten 3 hours before the ride I would have been okay, but I was way beyond 5 hours since I had food and that was too long for the effort I gave on the way to Banner and on the mountain bike trails at race pace. Oh well....
Nothing chips/salsa and a salad with chicken couldn't fix once I got home.
Lesson learned: always make sure I have that gel or two in my pocket just in case!!!
Two days in a row and I will probably take tomorrow completely off the bike to recover.