Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Recovery rides

Date: July 25 and 26
Mileage: 13.7 and 25.4
July mileage: 615.3

I can't believe I forgot to mention the outcome of Geoff's race, which took place the same Saturday as the Soggy Bottom. He ran the Crow Pass Crossing, a marathon-length technical mountain run. I hiked it on July 15 and it nearly took me out of commission. Geoff somehow managed to sprint over the rough trail in 3 hours 17 minutes, (interestingly, exactly 10 hours less than it took me to bike the Soggy Bottom course) and placed fifth overall in the race. It's pretty cool, because his standings place him in the top 10 mountain runners in Alaska. And this is something he just decided to take up this year, just for fun - sort of like the afternoon I returned from a three-mile snowshoe hike and decided it would be good times to bike a frozen wilderness century. This state, I'm telling you, does funny things with your mind.

I did a couple of recovery rides on the road yesterday and today that felt pretty good, except for the fact that I'm still covered in tender bruises that hurt like crazy every time I bounce over a pothole or washboard gravel. I know I'm running the risk of a comment flogging, but I thought I'd talk a little bit about my interesting (and unintentional) experiment in ride nutrition on Saturday.

I woke up late in the morning and had to rush to the starting line before 9 a.m. In doing so, I neglected to make the Gatorade I had intended to nurse throughout the race, make my peanut butter sandwiches or eat breakfast. I downed a packet of fruit snacks (Shrek brand, very tasty, 80 calories) and handed my stash of power bars to Carlos to shuttle to Copper Landing and Devil's Pass. I stashed a couple more in my camelback and took off.

Now, I learned on the 24 hours of Kincaid that solid food does not agree with me during a day of near-constant riding. Because I hadn't had the time in the past month to experiment with conventional forms of liquid nutrition (and because I live in a small town where such things aren't readily available), I settled on using Gatorade, power bars and fruit snacks to get a bulk of my calories. But when I set out on the trail, my appetite disappeared - as it always does - and I never really got it back. With the sharp abdominal pain of Kincaid still fresh in my memory, I decided I wasn't going to hit the power bars until I could feel a bonk coming on. And so I continued.

Here's where my well-deserved flogging comes in. I never felt the bonk coming. And I never actually, well, ate. At Copper Landing, mile 44, I had a 16-ounce bottle of Gatorade and five Nilla wafers (about 150 calories.) At Devil's Pass, mile 70, I forced down Luna Bar (about 180 calories). The sag wagon had long since disappeared with my extra stash of bars, so I grabbed a packet of Gu and one more bottle of Gatorade and continued on. When I reached Resurrection Pass, mile 82, I knew in my heart I should eat. There aren't a whole lot of edible products in this world that I like less than Gu, but I remembered that during the Salt Lake Century I ate a chocolate almond Clif Bar that tasted better than any brownie I have eaten before or since. So I gave it a try. I slurped up the Gu - vanilla, clear, the consistency of snot - and then I washed it down with lemon-lime Gatorade (about 200 calories). I don't know that I have every tried to ingest anything more disgusting. I winced for a solid half minute. Then I resolved to make it back without any more experiences like that. But, if you do the math, my total intake for the entire day was about 600 calories. I returned from the ride at 10:17 p.m. and managed to choke down a Pepsi and a Power Bar (a whopping 370 calories!) before I went to bed. I smile when I think about what my calorie deficit must have been that day.

It's interesting to me, as a newbie to all this, that I never bonked. Not eating is definitely my natural tendency during hard physical events, but I know that what I did was wrong to the point of being reckless. I had extra food on me, but not much. I know now that liquid nutrition isn't optional for me. I have to try it. Even though it's expensive and hard to find, I need to do the research. I hear that Hammer stuff is good. Anyone have any recommendations? (Anything but Gu. I'm going back to good ol' Shrek fruit snacks. With the red donkeys ... mmmmmm.)