On Wednesday, I formed a neighborhood bike gang. On Friday, one of my intrepid new bike friends said that she might want to join me on this training ride the next morning. Romy offered to pick me up in her bitchin’ mini-van. This was good news: The start time was an hour earlier due to the Austin, Texas heat, so I wouldn’t have to bike the extra six miles to the start.
A Dude is trying to become an early riser again, but it’s a struggle when people around you are so often making noise. But it’s always good to have new people to ride with, and maybe she’ll even join my official Team T.ime I.n T.he S.addle. She said she’d call me at 6 am to decide, so I was going to be kept in suspense. Just like you’ll be unless you click the Continue Reading thing-a-ma-jig!
I Get and Heed the Call
After a very short and fitful night of sleep, the call came in. I was ready for it though, because I woke up at 5 am and couldn’t get back to sleep. I put on my 2017 edition of the purple, pink and white Big Wig Fundraiser jersey with the black and blue bib shorts I was given and went through the rest of my preparations. The route was going to be the Southern Walnut Creek trail at a short, medium and longer distance.
In my soporific sleep-deprived stupor, I slowly stumbled out to the parking lot. Romy was there, chipper, because she’s a teacher with kids who normally wakes up at 5. She hauls her two children around in a trailer behind her bike and was excited their weight wasn’t coming with today. I was happy to enable her desire to do some group riding while hubby cared for the kids.
Arriving at LIVESTRONG headquarters, probably for the last time, since they’re downsizing their office, I introduced Romy to a few people including always peppy director Marion. We signed in for the 26-mile mid-distance route, listened to the instructions and chat from Team Survivor – one of the seven groups that gets money for the ride. With the funds raised from the ride, TS offers free exercise classes for women who are getting past their treatment for breast cancer. Some of the women ride the race, in fact they lead it, which is really inspiring. That’s kind of the point.
And We’re Off! (Our Rockers to Be Bike Riding So Early)
Starting our ride through East Austin, Romy clearly knew how to handle herself on a bike. A guy in a jersey with a local bike lawyer passed and told me the counselor himself was up ahead. I sped up to say hello, possibly appearing to show off but not meaning to. Brad Houston is a supporter of Bike Austin and good guy who both rides and helps riders if they get hit by a car. We’d run into his little trio throughout the day since they were escorting a friend who had been in such a wreck and was getting back into riding after a year off. A sober reminder that safety is never assured in bicycling.
The ride progressed as you’d expect on a narrow trail, with people stretching out over the length of it depending on their speeding, catching up to the group or falling back. I played informal sweeper again, helping a woman who said that on the last ride her sister got her lost between the trail and the office. I didn’t mind the slower speed due to my tiredness, although the legs felt good and the early hour was cooler than I’m used to, which is the point. I caught up with Romy a few times, and she was fine to enjoy the ride on her own with people around her.
Meeting back at the office, Romy and I had both completed 28 miles. She got some iced coffee and I had some juice pops and more Oatmega bars (locally made with whey protein and only 5 grams of sugar). I had only had a banana and some rice cakes with peanut butter and jelly, which wasn’t enough. Both of us really enjoyed the chilled washcloths that are unique to the Mamma Jamma. Marion let me know that the essential oils are peppermint, eucalyptus and the secret and hard to get ingredient – spruce. Nothing better than to wipe the sweat and grit off your face and neck.
The only incident had been a cop telling us to run a light since we “cut him off” – which we didn’t, because he was stopped for the front of the group — and me replying that we weren’t going to break the law and risk a ticket. Max seemed to have a good time, and I should have taken her up on a mini-van ride home, but I and my foolish mileage goals ignored the fatigue and heat and headed out (with sunscreen and my silly boating hat, of course).
Bonking Is Bad, So Be Better
Long story short, I was bonking so hard another rider on Shoal Creek Trail offered some food and then to drive me home in her car. Fortunately we were near Sun and Ski, so I went inside and sat on a bench to recuperate. I think I was getting a little heat exhaustion. I needed to follow my own advice in my recent blog post, Surviving the Summer Heat on a Bicycle
Making it home I had clocked 45 miles after reconciling not starting my Garmin watch until 8 miles in. I took a cold shower, ate food and drank water and then enjoyed a tasty siesta. I lived to ride another day. However, I’m still recovering after short rides the last two days. The sinus infection had reared its ugly head again, probably aggravated by Austin’s famous allergens. I seem to be turning the corner with the special heavy-duty prescription spray I’m on.
Coincidentally, the spray was developed by the physician cyclist who told me the phrase, Time In The Saddle. He’s named Dr. Slaughter, which is appropriate since he did two sinus surgeries on me. (My mom nicely came to town to help for the first one, a day surgery, and can attest to me waking up saying, “I can breathe!”) Anyway, I’m many stages behind watching the Tour de France, so resting is still cyclo-centric. Monday was another doctor day. Her name is Dr. Shu, who is not a podiatrist but rather a dermatologist. She only had to freeze off one pre-skin cancer. Yay!
This means I’m doing well since A Dude happens to be of European extraction and has had two benign skin cancers. So he must be very careful with his whiter shade of pale skin. [“It puts the lotion in the basket, or it gets the hose again!” Movie reference, anyone?] I once had a Dr. Payne for a foot doctor, though, and almost a Dr. Silvertooth for a dentist. I shit you not. By the way, when you have a job that sounds like your name, that’s called a spoonerism. The more you know.
The moral of the story is be sure to eat, sleep and drink properly, especially if you’re going to be on a medium to long bike ride in high heat and humidity. And on days when you’re not feeling well, don’t push it. Just go home. If you are in Austin and want to join me on this ride for a great cause, it’s September 21 in nearby Martindale, Texas.
JOIN TEAM A DUDE ABIKES!
HEY, YOU, AUSTIN CYCLIST! I’m accepting team members for the 9/21/19 Mamma Jamma Ride now. First, I need someone to donate cover my $35 registration And for that you needn’t be here. So far, my dear bloggers have not donated to any of my previous six charity rides in which I have fund-raised $12,000. But maybe this is the one! Leave a comment if you’re interested, which will share your email with me, and we’ll make it happen. Thanks!
Keep the rubber side down,
A Dude Abikes
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