When not to ride

This weekend is the Hawkeye 1000k.  I had really wanted a 1000k ride under my belt before PBP and Bob was going.  Though the Cascades it isn't, Iowa is a pretty state and I looked forward to this ride a lot.

The first thing to go wrong was 6 days before the start, Sunday I discovered my bottom bracket had bad bearings.  Not good.  I rushed it to the bike shop where they assured me it could be fixed by Tuesday (drive to Iowa was Thursday).  Then on Tuesday, I came down with some kind of colitis leading to spending 1 day curled on my bathroom floor in a ball; I also found out I had another bacterial infection in my lungs and sinuses, time for antibiotics.  Wednesday, I roused myself in the afternoon to pick up the bike.  Alas, the new BB had backordered.  With 2 hours until close, I frantically drove around town trying to get a new one.  Finally found one, got the bike back and fixed at 9:00 pm.  I had also now used up the remainder of my sick time and was burning vacation being sick.  I still felt a little queasy and weak and realized that I was probably dehydrated.  I was desperate to hydrate so we drove to Iowa with lots of water.

Got to Cedar Falls and had a challenging birthday dinner for IronK.  This was planned since if my stomach was bad enough to cramp before the ride started, it was going to be a bad thing.  Weather report was forecasting a heat wave coupled with high humidity.  The heat index on 2 days was going to be 100-115 and that is in the shade.   I slept somewhat poorly, waking up on the verge of my stomach cramping.  I finally rose with Bob at 4:00 am and had breakfast.  It nearly reappeared.

At that point, I realized that my stomach was not going to be 100% for the start of the ride and neither was I.  Melissa, Super Domestique, and IronK both pointed out that Paris is the goal this year, not Iowa.  I could do some serious harm to myself if I couldn't absorb the water and electrolytes I needed on this ride. 

Sometimes, you have to acknowledge, however painfully, that the cards are simply not in your favor.  I recently berated a friend for going on a 70 mile ride while ill during an excessive heat warning.  He wound up sick as a dog for a week.  I was not going to put myself in that situation with no sick time left and only 5 weeks before PBP.  The next 3 weeks are my final weeks for training, not for recovering from this ride.

So I pulled the plug before the start.  I hauled IronK out of bed and into the car in her pajamas.  I just couldn't bear the thought of watching everyone else ride off without me.  We drove off before the riders left at 5:00 am.  It was a hard, but correct choice.  I got back and took it easy and am feeling much stronger, though the stomach still isn't totally chipper.  Gary has a new bike and so tomorrow we will beat the heat on my 100k permanent.  I can test out my equipment then and enjoy the time on my bike instead of baking on it.

To ride as we do requires not only physical prowess, but wisdom and understanding about just how difficult this sport is.  Any ride over 100 miles is a big deal not matter how many 200ks you have done.  You must always respect the distance or face the consequences. 
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