Friday, August 25, 2017

Gravel Worlds 2017: Dirt Nap

Barns For Jason- Gravel Worlds Version
Leaving the village of Roca I knew I was in survival mode. The digestive system was, well.......effed. I couldn't even drink anything at this point without feeling that it would come right back out. I felt like I had two dwarves fighting in my intestines and pain was increasing with every mile.

The worst part was that I had no juice left for climbs. I was fading fast and getting passed by more and more riders as the miles slowly, painfully went by. I reached Wittstruck Road and it was nothing but rollers. One after another. Of course it would be like that. Why wouldn't it be?

I wanted to rest. I wanted to get relief from pain. Curiously, the day before I was talking with Scott Bigelow of the Cycle Works/Moose's Tooth team. He works in orthopedics in some capacity and we were discussung my old shoulder injury. He said something that resonated with me to the effect that cyclists can bear a lot of pain. So when they tell him as patients that something is hurting them, it probably is really pretty painful. I was thinking about this on Wittstruck Road and how I felt pain in my abdomen like I never had before. I decided I needed to act on my thoughts to take a rest stop.

Just then, Warren Weibe rides up next to me on his single speed. He didn't say a word, and he probably knew I was hurting badly by the way I was riding. He sidled along next to me and paced me silently, without even looking at me. It's funny, but that made me want to keep going. I probably rode a mile or so like that with him before a hill dictated that he needed to ride faster than my walking pace. I saw his wheel fade from my down turned view, and I looked up.

I saw a grove of trees with a small opening from the road. An implement byway to a field, I suppose it was, but whatever it was, it afforded me the chance to dart off the road and get out of sight. I looked behind me and I saw no one. Ahead was only Warren and his back was bent over his bike as he toiled away at his single gear. I darted to the left for the opening and just as I went off the road Warren turned and our eyes met.

I supposed he might come back to see what was the matter, but he left me to my own devices, which is the way I wanted it, to be honest. I was in pain, and all I wanted was rest at this point. I flung my bike into the grass, sat down, and laid back into a soft tuft of tall grass.........

The road to Bennet where I ended my Gravel Worlds attempt.
A car went by and the sound of the gravel on the tires awoke me with a start. I sat straight up in sudden start and looked at my watch. Over an hour had passed since I had sat down! I had thoughts racing through my head. Should I or shouldn't I? I felt pretty weak yet. The prudent thing would be to call in the cavalry, I thought, so I texted my good buddy MG and sent him the following message:

"Hey Brother! If you get this hit me back. I am not going to finish and need to get a message through to Tony."

I had no idea if MG was done, home, still riding, or what. I just sent the message and started riding. Somehow I felt greatly relieved and was feeling good. MG hit me back with a message five minutes later and said he had dropped at 105 miles and was home, but he'd make it out in about half an hour to forty five minutes to get me. I was five miles from Bennet. We decided he'd pick me up at the Casey's there. Tony then hit me with a text from the Casey's saying he was with Warren and heard I was doing poorly. I told him MG was picking me up and to go on without me.

End of the line.....
It was funny. I thought I was riding really well, and despite having to stop a couple of times to answer text messages from MG and Tony, I figured I'd sail right in to Bennet feeling pretty great, actually. I second guessed my decision. Hey, maybe I could piece together a finish after all? But after the fact I analyzed the time from my message to MG till I got to Bennet. Five-ish miles in 45 minutes? In reality, I was still crawling. It would have taken me seven hours to finish at that rate without any stops. Yeah.....

So, I made it to Casey's and another rider was just pulling out. He offered encouragement, but I stated I was done and getting picked up. I waved and wished him well. Then a fellow in a truck pulled up and started in on me how he had finished and that I should get some ice to cool down and do such-and-such with it.... "Thank you, but overheating isn't my problem.", I said. He didn't hear me and kept right on as if he wasn't having any of these excuses and I should go get the ice and follow his instructions. Another rider rolled up, Aaron Schnee, and his attention went toward him with the same advice. Nice that he wanted to help, but a nice "Hello! How are you? My name is....." goes a long ways toward a polite conversation instead of assuming what was wrong with me and not even saying who he was. Anyway, he left and then Aaron's wife and two little girls were there and we had a little fun talking about gummy worms. Then Rob Evans, who was on my GTDRI ride two weeks prior, rolls up with another rider.

I chatted him up and it seemed that another rider named Pablo was feeling ill but might be coming in behind he and his riding companion. Then MG showed up and we loaded up the Tamland. Just as we were about to pull out of Casey's Pablo rolls up and decided he was done as well. MG gave him a lift and the three of us rolled back to Lincoln together. MG deposited me back at the hotel where I promptly showered and fell asleep for 12 hours!

On the road out from Lincoln on Sunday morning.
Despite my failure, I felt I left it all out there at Gravel Worlds. What did me in? I am pretty sure I have a good idea why my digestive tract quit on me, and I will be trying a new tactic next time I have a big training ride before the Spotted Horse to prove my theory. But be that as it may, Gravel Worlds was another great time for me. I really enjoyed the trip, the ride, and most of all, the people.

Thank you to Tony for the ride down and back, and for putting up with me all weekend. Thanks to MG for rescuing me. Thanks to all the Gravel Worlds folks- Schmidty, Cornbread, all the volunteers, and Cycle Works. Thanks to, and congratulations to, all the riders- finishers and non-finishers. You all are great folks to hang with and ride alongside of.

Thanks also to you for reading this.

Have a great weekend!


Tom Scott said...

Man, nothing worse than digestive issues on a long ride. I hope you get your nutrition plan figured out. Everybody's is different. Thanks for the great brutally honest write up. Fun to read as always, even if the result isn't what you'd hoped for.

Guitar Ted said...

@Tom Scott- Thanks! I have a pretty good idea of what went wrong and how to prevent that in the future. We will see come early October.....

Unknown said...

It was an honour meeting the legend GT
I came over on Friday night to tell you about my BMC I got on your recommendation. Tough ride it was- see you again next year.

coop6 said...

Only a cyclist would need to be told that if something hurts, it really hurts. Who knew, right? If you'd like to talk nutrition sometime, feel free to hit me up. Looking forward to seeing you in October at Spotted Horse.

Unknown said...

That's terrible to have plumbing issues on race day. It's happened to me a few times, but always before the ride. Now I just need to be careful and not eat anything new for the two days before the event.

One thing I do now is have preworkout before riding. It gives me energy and does some spring cleaning in the ol crap factory.