Classic Mistakes

You know those rides that start out with really good intentions? Your jersey is loaded with healthy and tasty ride food. You’ve got two full water bottles. You’ve got some money in the event you need more food and water. So you’re set. You’ve learned your lessons from long rides just two weeks ago – and you even wrote some content for Shape magazine about eating and drinking on a ride.

But even with this knowledge and a well-stocked jersey, things seem to go wrong… Before you even leave the house you make some classic mistakes (mistakes you know better than to make) – mistakes that make you feel like you’re better off pushing your bike home than riding it…

  • Always triple check the weather forecast. And even if you don’t hear the weatherman on CBC radio whisper about the 40% chance of rain – bring your rain cape anyway. If it doesn’t rain (which it did for 3.5 hours of the 4 hour ride), you can always put your rain cape on if the temperature drops unexpectedly (which it did).
  • Bring extra gloves. These come in handy in the spring – especially when it starts to rain or you realize (which I did) that my gloves weren’t warm enough.
  • That food you packed in your jersey? Eat it. And even if you don’t “feel hungry” eat some damn food. Your Garmin is beeping at you reminding you that you’ve burned 700 kj, then 1200 kj, and then 2180 kj – this means one package of Clif Shot Bloks is not enough.
  • Oh and about those full and heavy water bottles you’re lugging around? Do yourself a favour and put that water in your body. Your bike will feel lighter and remarkably, you’ll feel a lot better. Yes, when it is pouring rain and the temperature drops, the water gets cold – too bad – drink the water.
  • Just because your training plan reads 3-4 hours, doesn’t mean you need to do the 4 hours. Especially when you’re cold, haven’t eaten enough, neglected to drink very much water, and you’re soaked to the bone.
  • An indicator that it is a good idea to call your husband is when 128 watts feels like 728 watts (I now think I know what this really feels like) and your arms start to ache so badly from the wet and cold that you’re having a hard time determining which body part feels worse – your legs or your arms.
  • Oh, and when you’re riding on your first group ride in over two years and your friend rides up to you and says “this is where it gets kind of fast and hard for a while” – take him seriously and don’t slowly drift back thinking that “you’ll be okay and just hang out here at the back for a while” – especially when the road is kind of rolling and you’re not ready to deal with sharp accelerations and a pace that feels like 728 watts. This will likely result in your getting dropped and then finally catching back on just as the group hits a little rise – resulting in your riding alone.

So yes, today I made many classic mistakes. But it was still a good ride. Sometimes you (I) need to make these mistakes to remember how important the subtle things are in making the ride a good one. It was great to be out on the group ride again. I saw lots of friendly faces and met a few new people. I’ll be back again – not until the third Saturday in May though since I’m off to Peterborough/Lakefield next weekend for the Wild Rock Women’s Night and on May 11, I’m racing my mountain bike (so excited).

Best of luck to everyone doing Almonte-Roubaix on Sunday. I’ll be riding out to Almonte to watch the finish. (I plan to overdress for the ride and to eat and drink too much!)

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