This Fourth of July started out much different from any other in recent past. My kids’ mother was supposed to pick them up at 4:00pm so we slept in. At 9:00 we were awaken by the phone and it was her seeing if she could pick the kids up early. We didn’t have any real plans so I said yes. She came and picked them up within minutes. Now what? I had the entire day/night of July 4th to myself — alone. I checked my phone real quick and noticed a post that instantly raised my blood pressure and sent my temper through the roof! I have amazing friends that know what I am going through and several of them invited me to celebrate the Fourth with them and their families. I wasn’t in a celebratory mood anymore, so I politely declined and decided to do what I do — bike and run.
Now, time to fuel. While I was getting my gear together I received a message from Charlie (remember Flat Charlie? The one and only). Him and several other of my friends just got done with a run and invited me to have breakfast with them — perfect timing. So after a calorie / carb loaded breakfast, we said out goodbyes and I went home to ride.
There was no real plan for this ride, I just needed to get out. Many drown their sorrow in alcohol, I choose to infuse mine with adrenalin. I started out on my normal 25 mile ride and when I came to the point to make the turn to head towards home, I decided to head away.
I was feeling good about this ride and decided to push myself much harder today. I entertained the idea of a century ride and was on track for completing it. Around mile 15 I made a stop at a gas station for some coke — water, GU, and S-caps just weren’t cutting it… did I mention it was freaking hot and humid today??
I was refueled and back on my bike. The route that I took was CRAZY hilly! Check out the elevation from this ride here, it was brutal. I ended up hitting Chardon which was around mile 21. There was a party in the park, so I hung out there a little bit, parked my bike under a tree, laid in the shade and relaxed.
After about 20 minutes I was rejuvenated and back up, ready to go!
I made my way about a mile down the road, when I saw this sign.
I pressed on about another half mile, but seeing this sign was like a kick in the balls! I made the decision — which was a right one — to turn around and head on back. This picture was actually taken on my way back. It was hot, humid and my route was in full sun the entire way. I wasn’t really disappointed about making this turn. Had I made it the entire way to where I was thinking, I wouldn’t have made it home till well into the night.
I decided to take a different route home. The way out I took Rt. 6 — it was HILLY! I knew if I took Rt. 44 I could hit a bike path and it would be much more flat. If you’ve seen my data in that link, you’d see that my pace increase tremendously!
Also, several miles of this bike route were in shade! A welcome change.
When I ran out of the bike path, I didn’t want to take the chance that the roads would be hilly while trying to find the connecting route, so I did what any “normal” person would do. Made the turn and hit the freeway! I probably looked a little funny tooling down the highway on my bike, but the exit I was planning on getting off at was only a little over a mile away.
The sun was INTENSE so I ended up making a stop under a large tree in a church parking lot, took my pack off and just laid on the concrete…
I laid there for a little bit and I swear I almost fell asleep, until a guy came up to me and asked if I was alright and if I needed water. It turned out that he just got back from a 20 mile ride (I think he was the Pastor of the church). I didn’t need any water so we sat there and talked for quite a while.
Off again.. after taking such an extended break I felt so slow… but trudged on at what ended up being a decent pace. By the time I arrived home, my ride ended up being 45 miles. I was quite happy with this accomplishment, but also a little worried because if it is this hot during Bike MS I have no idea how I’m going to ride 100 miles on day one and 75 on day two!
I grabbed a bite to eat and some water, uploaded my data from my Garmin to my computer and was still jacked up. So I decided to go for a run on familiar grounds… Off to North Chagrin Metropark for a quick 5.x mile run. I got to the park and it was still 91 degrees! Drank some water, sucked down a GU, put my headphones in and I was off…
These are the trails I am most comfortable in… I encountered a couple of problems here — 1. It was FREAKING hot and I was dripping in sweat by mile 2 and 2. Listening to Godsmack, Slip-Knot and Static-X (ubber angry music) makes me run WAY too fast. Now to add to my frustrations today, I was pissed at myself because I know better than to run like this. I did take a self-portrait in the trail but decided not to post it — looked like death.
I wasn’t carrying any water, I never do when running this short loop one time, which ended up being a mistake because of how much I was sweating and the heat. At the first picnic area I came to, I laid down under the water spickit to cool off. I could almost hear the whispers from the family picnicking there… “don’t make eye contact, that guy looks crazy”.
After this I did a little walk/run intervals, made it up the largest hill on the route and decided that I needed to at least run the last half mile of it… DONE! Quite possibly one of the hardest 5.x miles ever….. Here is the data..
Headed home, showered up and out for a nasty looking, but tasty Panini sandwich, a ton of water and a few $3.00 Long Island Ice-Tees 🙂
How was your Fourth of July? Do anything exciting?