How to Bike 2 Marathons (52.4 miles) in 9 Hours (With Stops) and Not Die

Be Prepared
All the gear I took with me on this ride

1.  Prepare Asbestos You Can

Be prepared!

That’s the Boy Scouts’ marching song.

Be prepared!

As through life you march along.

Don’t solicit for your sister, that’s not nice

Unless you get a good percentage of the price (bum bum bum)

                                –Tom Lehrer, satirist singer, pianist, composer and MIT professor

Prepping ahead of time for any significant activity in life, sporting or otherwise, is essential for success. But if you’re like A Dude Abikes, real life gets in the way of being 100% ready. And perfect is the enemy of good enough. So part of prepping means being flexible when you find you aren’t fully set to go. Fortunately, riding a bike is a lot like… riding a bike.

However, biking medium to long distances does require a bit more effort than a stroll around your neighborhood. Depending on your perspective, 50 miles is not much or it’s quite a lot — I’m in the latter group. I’ve only ridden 50 miles or more four other times: Hill Country Ride for AIDS (50 – April 2015), Mamma Jamma Ride to Beat Breast Cancer and a training ride for the same (55 and about 52 – September 2015) and on my birthday (50 – October 2015). So today’s ride was an accomplishment, another notch in the belt. Even if it did take all day.

But the gist of it is ideally you get a good night’s sleep, eat well, drink a lot of water, have all your gear laid out the night before, and make sure your bike’s in tip-top shape. In A Dude’s case, none of that really happened. Still, I got my act together enough to manage, and it turned out to be a great day. Here’s a picture of all the gear I used, minus the box of Girl Scout cookies (Do-Si-Do’s – yum!) I stopped to buy in a parking lot like a desperate drug fiend — which essentially I was after about 43 miles. I was very prepared to scarf them all down. Considering how many calories Strava says I burned, plus the fact that I was beginning to bonk (get really tired) but more so light-headed and loopy, I didn’t count calories.

2. Be Willing to Ditch Your Plan

When a newer rider was left at the back after the sweeper had a flat, I stayed with her. After catching up with another ride leader who I call Frank because he’s chairman of the board of the Ride, we found they knew each other. So Frank and I stuck with the nurse, who struggled but kept at it. Turned out to be a nice, relaxed ride instead of the harder ride with a faster pace I was expecting. Sure, I missed the extra ride after the ride, but then I did my own thing anyway. Riding solo is harder but also more rewarding when you meet your goal and finish

3. Have Good Luck

Luck comes to those who are prepared. Nice weather helps, but if it turns bad and you don’t have a jacket, then that’s on you. But this day had cloudy skies, cooler temperatures and not much wind. Not having more flats than you have tubes, or wrecks, an upset stomach, no major mechanical problems and more all need to be present for a successful ride to happen. Fortunately this day was free from bad luck.

After about mile 43 I was pretty ravenous and starting to experience an endorphin rush and also some light-headedness. So it was luck that led me to pass Girl Scouts with their cookies. But it was choice that I turned around to buy a box from them in the parking lot surreptitiously, like I was buying drugs (I imagine). I got a whole package of Do-Si-Dos and they did not survive the rest of my trip.

[The rest of this blog posting is under construction.   Check back soon!]

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