Posted by: wheelywonka | August 14, 2010

The Pain that Keeps on Giving, A Shout Out to Big Cyclists

Today I joined the Velo Valero team for a ride on the east side of town.  In fact, we traveled some of the same roads we’re be riding during the Bike MS: 2010 Valero Alamo Ride to the River, including the perfect pavement and gentle rollers of FM 775.  The group I rode with did a little over 50 miles at an average speed of 16.6.  Most of the hills were at the front of the ride on Green Valley when it was a bit cooler, and when we turned north to head back to the Cibolo City Hall complex, we had a tail wind which helped push our four-person paceline along at a respectable speed.   It was the longest ride I’ve done all year with my good buddy and long-time riding partner, John “The Punisher” Tenison, and it was so nice to see him enjoying a taco and a cup of joe at Breitzke Cafe, one of his all-time favorite ride stops.  

But, who am I kidding – the word of the day was pain.  As in, It’s so freakin’ hot, I think I’m gonna’ die pain.   Now,  I’ve been riding bikes in South Texas for over a decade, so I know how to prepare myself for a 50-miler during the dog days of August.  Hydrate all week, drink alcohol and coffee only in moderation (I’m bad at total abstinence),  and make sure you get plenty of fluids and electolytes during the ride.  I like a mixture of 50% water and 50% Gatorade, and I try to drink at least once large bottle per hour.  I also monitor the level of sweat I’m producing during the ride.  When you stop sweating, you’ve got problems – it’s your body’s way of saying, “I give up.  You’re pedaling like a banashee in 100 degree heat, and I can’t keep you cool any longer.”   When that happens, your ride is over for the day – find some shade, start pounding the fluids, contact your SAG support, and get a ride back home.  When I got back to the ride start, I mentioned to Seymour B, our ride leader for the day, “That’s the most pain I’ve felt all week, and I’d like to thank you for inflicting it on me.”  I was only partly kidding…

…One other thing you need to do after a ride in these kinds of conditions is to continue to imbide plenty of fluids for the rest of the day.  My two favorite post-ride, non-alcoholic drinks are:

  • A large quantity of whole chocolate milk (best recovery drink known to man) 
  • 16 oz real Dr. Pepper – the hard stuff, not the diet (it’s the only time I’m drink non-diet soft drinks – I figure I need the calories, and I love the sugar rush since I don’t get it often)

It was only as I was driving home, with an empty bottle of milk next to me and a cool DP in my hand, did the pain ease.  I’ll still feel a little washed out for a few hours, but I promise you, I’ll recover, and I’ll be more then ready for the Hillfest on Wednesday, and the Pancake Ride on Saturday…

…I’ll end this blog with a shout out to the large cyclists out there.  God makes us all sizes – it’s part of his inscrutable master plan, and that’s why I’m at peace with the fact that I’m only 5’6″.  Over the years I’ve been part of pacelines that included riders considerably larger than me, and hey, that’s OK.  In fact, on a hot day when you’re grinding your way into a fierce, molten head wind, it’s really nice to slip behind one of these larger riders and enjoy the considerable slip stream they create.   Many years ago when I first started riding with Velo Valero, there was a huge guy on our team named Eric who talked a lot during the rides, and I gave him the nickname “Shut Up and Block the Wind”.    Only now that I’m a little older and a little wiser, do I realize what a cruel and unfair name that was.    When I locked my wheel behind Eric back then, it was like the being aboard the Millennium Falcon as it blasted into overdrive and the stars started shifting.   I felt a little of that today when I locked wheels every now and then behind a guy I’ve seen on the roads for years, and I’m embarrassed to know him only as Larry the Air Force Dude.   Larry – thank you for your massive, windbusting pulls today – they made a painful ride in unbearable heat just a little bit nicer.

See you on the road!   Keep up your training, and I promise you things will start cooling down in September…



  1. This post is right on target! We felt the wind and heat Saturday too out on 1346…now if I could only keep UP with the big guys! 🙂

  2. […] Joy That Keeps on Giving, What’s with the Retro Blog? Well, I read over the blog I wrote last Saturday, and I have to admit it was pretty grim.  All I did was whine about how hot […]

  3. I was told once that I was built like a sheet of plywood… on my first MS ride back when it went to Corpus I started out pulling a group of 5 newbies in the wind, and after 5 miles I was told that I had about 20 riders behind me before someone decided to pull ahead and give me a break.

  4. […] amount of money we raise.    …Well, there’s no other way to put this.  I’ve  said this in the past – I’m 5’6″, and I’m comfortable with that, because God […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: