So it’s Thursday and I’m starting to prep my stuff together for a >200 mile double rondo this weekend. I’m kind of nervous about it. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve done several long-distance rides this year and am not concerned about the mileage. I’m also not concerned about my trusty Surly Cross-Check, run 1x9 with Velocity A23 rims and super-knobby Surly Knard tires. Gertrude is a tank of a bike and I have full faith that she’ll take me where I need to go without issue… but there are few things that I’m having a hard time controlling for.
Take the weather: we got our first snows of the year this week, and it’s expected to be snowing and in the high 20s-low 30s all weekend. Snow is the best and I sincerely believe that if you don’t like snow, you probably shouldn’t live in Michigan… but that being said, at the beginning of the cold season it’s a lot harder for me to gauge proper attire and I’m especially thinking of the tootsies. Also, Michiganders are used to quickly having to adapt to notoriously fickle weather, so for all I know I'll be sweltering by evening. I’m hoping that the following items will keep me warm and dry for a double century:
- · UnderArmour ColdGear base layers (long-sleeve top, leggings.)
- · Chrome Industries knickers
- · Swiftwick wool armwarmers
- · Cannondale wool cycling cap with ear covers
- · Lululemon cold-gear headband for when the cap gets too hot
- · SmartWool wool ski socks (heavy)
- · Swiftwick/45NRTH wool socks (light)
- · Plastic bags to layer between the socks (hobo-hack)
- · Ahnu hiking boots (yeah, yeah, I know… I’m still too lazy and cheap to buy “real” winter cycling boots right now.)
- · Toewarmer packets (4, 2 for each way.)
- · Waterproof lobster claw ski gloves
- · Gore rain pants
- · Marmot or RaceFace rain jacket (haven’t decided which one yet.)
- · …and Bar Mitts on my handlebars.
I should be able to easily layer/unlayer depending on weather conditions and my own body heat; and if I can’t, I’ve got bigger physiological problems to be concerned about. We’ll see.
Another concern is diet. When I did this same ride last year, I pretty much fueled up on Canadian Hunter whiskey, Cheetos, and Snickers bars the whole way and on Sunday morning almost puked before I even got back on the trail. The doughnuts and orange juice for breakfast sure as hell didn’t help anything either. I’ve found that I don’t process carbohydrates terribly well and I get nauseated when my blood sugar spikes too high. I also unfortunately have yet to find a sports drink I can tolerate well. This phenomenon has gotten even worse since I started competitively weight lifting and carb cutting to make weight class, so I’m trying to think of foods to bring along with that will keep me going without a.) spiking the blood sugar too high, while b.) still allowing for alcoholic drinks (maybe lots and lots of alcoholic drinks.) So far I’ve got:
- Diluted coconut water
- Bragg’s baked tofu
- 72% dark chocolate bark with coconut oil and peanuts
- Jerky (various)
- Peanut butter
- Low-carb protein bars
- Wine bladder (less sugary than beer)
(making chocolate bark, pre-gaming with an aged Founder's Curmudgeon Ale.)
Again, we’ll see. While I set up all my clothes, make sure the bike is in working order, rustle up some emergency contacts in case something goes wrong, and prepare foods; my mother-in-law is coming over to pick up both my anklebiter and The Best Pug in the World for the weekend. One more logistical hassle. As in most bicycle-related things, the planning and the preparation is usually vastly outmatched by FUN (!!!), so I just need to get through the next two days! This ride not 'racey' or anything like that, I just need to make sure I don't vomit or get frostbite, and I hope those are reasonable goals.