Oh boy did I learn some hard, hard lessons this morning.
Mistake #1 - get home from work Friday night, not feel terribly hungry, so have a light dinner of cheese and crackers, and later on a piece of toast.
Mistake #2 - get up pre-ride Saturday morning, realise you forgot to buy milk on the way home from work Friday, so back up your toast dinner with a toast breakfast.
Mistake #3 - head off for a ride with one of the local bunches, with absolutely no idea where you're going, and only take 1 gel with you.
And unfortunately the surprise ride for this morning is a 140km loop, with 1300 metres of climb. Oh boy.
I was actually feeling pretty good for the first half. I think I can pinpoint the exact time it all went wrong though - right at the summit of the major climb (300 ish metres over about 7km). Rolled over the top, pleased as punch that I had made it, but feeling not real snappy. No acceleration in the legs, general feeling of lethargy starting to creep in..
We took a short break at the base of the descent, hmm this might be a good opportunity to down that gel you brought with you. Unfortunately by then, the damage had been done.
So, 60ish km left to get home, no shops for about 50km (we were really out in the boonies), and whilst the bulk of the climbing was out of the way, it was a really rolly run back into town - up hill and down dale, OK if you've got some power left in the legs and can hold your speed up the climbs, however if you're starting to bonk, you are going to be in a world of hurt.
And oh boy, was I.
Things went from bad to really really bad, really really quickly. I was trying hard to hang on to the back of the bunch, but the elastic started to stretch, stretch, stretch, SNAP.
And that was that. I was out the back, on my own, in the middle of nowhere, completely out of steam and energy, and wondering how the hell I am going to get home without dying.
Luckily, one of the bunch had seen me snap, and slowed down to offer me a wheel to hang on to. This worked for a little while, but I was still heading down the wormhole, and approaching rock bottom. I was weaving all over the road, legs were running at I reckon 20% (and that's probably being generous), and at my worst, I was struggling to keep my eyes open. I just wanted to pull over, crawl into a table drain, and either fall asleep or die. I finally reached my limit, and pulled over to call Els, beg her to come and collect me, and on your way out, if you could pick up 2 litres of coke, a family size block of chocolate, and possibly a kilogram bag of mixed lollies as well. I had clearly progressing from exceptionally bad bonk, to full on proper hypoglycemic.
Luckily, I didn't have to make that phone call. My saviour turned around, and pretty much force fed me a large portion of fruit cake that he had been saving for emergencies. I think this qualified!
The plan from that point was grind through the next 10 or so km, to the planned coffee stop, and probably strip the shop dry, and jam as much down my gob as I could. This was the big carrot that kept me going. Probably 50 times in that 10km I had imagined what I was going to buy, working out what was going to be the most efficient way to deliver sugar to my system. Can of Coke? Bottle of OJ? Jam donut? Mixed lollies? Cake?
And we inched ever closer. And closer. And closer.
And got there.
And the shop was shut.
GAAARGH! Not happy Jan, not happy at all. Luckily the bunch had waited, and someone took pity on me, parting with a spare gel, and half a bidon of Enervit.
And this saved me. I could not believe the difference the gel made. Seriously, within less than 2 kilometres, I was back to normal. Tired, but normal. And itching to get home.
From this point, we were into the last 15km, which sailed along, especially as I had something resembling legs back, and could hang with the bunch. But boy, oh boy, was I glad to get home. And oh boy was I hungry.
I won't itemise exactly what I ate when I charged in the door, but it was along the lines of multiple pieces of toast with peanut butter AND honey, a significant proportion of the duty-free chocolate be bought on the way home last weekend, and a fair bit of Coke. I think some cashews may have figured in there, but they didn't have any sugar in them, so I really wasn't paying attention.
Really, it's Endurance Riding 101. Eat regularly, even if you're not hungry. I shunned that rule (pffft... easy road ride, don't need to eat), and I paid for it, dearly.
And it's Dieting 101 also. Being that I'm trying to shed a couple of additional kilograms brought back into the country with me (I'm blaming Belgium and UK for that, seriously) - not eating properly is the worst thing you can do. What happens - you starve yourself, you get incredibly hungry, and you gorge yourself on whatever you can find.
Very, very hard lessons learned today.
And this is the loop that did the damage. See if you can pick where I was suffering the worst.