This weekend Ryan and I set out for the 5th Annual 100 Miles of Nowhere – our second time participating in the event, but the first time I was aiming for 50 mountain bike miles.
We got to the Ocala area on Friday night and picked up dinner at Cracker Barrel, where we ran into someone famous:
Dottie!! (Minus some spots)
We settled in to our hotel room for the night after realizing it just might have the longest entry way ever:
We hit the sack around 9:30 and the go up dark and early to finish gathering our “supplies” and to each breakfast.
We were the FIRST CAR at the park, arriving shortly after 7am.
Our plan for the day was to ride a 7 mile loop 7 times, plus a short “out & back” to hit our 50 mile goal for the day. We set out for our first lap and quickly realized we’d have to ride a few more laps than we planned!
The trails were in awesome condition because it rained all day long on Friday – that meant everything was nice & hard packed. (But all the rain also meant there were lots and lots of horse flies out there…I won’t even talk about how many bites I got…)
The bad part is that it was HOT. It was already pushing 80* right after the sun came up & by 9am it was really getting steamy out there. Luckily we brought lots of water and Gatorade with us & we felt better knowing there were water fountains at the trail head/parking lot.
We were taking it slow and easy, averaging about 1 hour per lap, which included a few breaks for adjustments here and there, plus a 5 minute break for extra fluids and a snack at the end of each one.
Everything was going really well – I didn’t even fall once! Not even in one of the infamous spots from the other weekend where I wiped out in epic fashion:
I’m still not sure how I managed to fall here last time…it’s a straightforward 90 degree turn with no obstacles! Not even a tree!
We took our lunch break after lap #5, just over 27 miles (half way betches!) where we refilled our CamelBak’s and munched on PB&J, crackers and an apple.
Despite feeling really good on the bike the heat was really starting to get to me – and I saw heat rash starting to set in on my thighs as we were finishing lunch.
I knew that wasn’t a good sign. Once it starts, I don’t know how to stop it from getting worse. Ending the workout and getting out of the heat is really the only thing that makes it stop. But I had 23 more miles to ride dammit!
So I hopped back on my bike and set out for some more miles.
We stopped for an extended break at mile 35 and was feeling really really really rough.
I was super hot and the heat rash on my legs was starting to look and feel pretty bad – instead of just being red spots, they were RAISED red spots & were starting to sting and itch. I also noticed some more red spots starting to appear under the seams of my sports bra and on my chest and neck.
I munched on a Lara bar and then downed some Sport Beans as a last ditch effort to perk myself up.
At this point, I knew I had to make a decision – 50 miles was starting to look pretty iffy with how bad my heat rash was. But I didn’t want to stop until I hit a personal distance record. (35 was my PDR on the mountain bike until now.)
Ryan had the bright idea of trying to cool down using the hose for rinsing bikes in the parking lot. IT FELT GLORIOUS! I was nice and cool for a little while thanks to wet hair.
But as soon as I started to dry off (after about 2 miles) the overwhelming heat started to get to me again. My legs were stinging and my mouth was constantly dry. By now it was 3:00 in the afternoon and the temperature was still rising – the heat index was well into the 90’s on Saturday and boy could I feel it!
So when our loop took us back to the trail head I called it quits. I just didn’t feel like it was safe for me to try to ride another 10 miles/2 hours with legs like this:
And that’s only the front/tops! There was more on the sides!
At the end of the day we rode 40.63 mountain bike miles in 7 hours, 48 minutes and 23 seconds. (That’s total time including breaks.)
I definitely feel defeated for not making it the whole 50 miles. BUT I’m not beating myself up over it. I am confident I could have finished 50 miles if it weren’t for the heat.
I felt great mentally & other than the heat-related symptoms I felt fine physically. Sure, my rump was sore from being on a bike for 7+ hours, and my legs/neck/back were tired, but I know I could have held on for 10 more miles had the weather been different.
Hell, I actually felt pretty good & even managed a smile when we finished!
You can see the heat rash on my neck in this picture!
I’m not giving up on reaching 50 miles on my mountain bike – I’ll definitely try a 50 miler again! Just not in JUNE in FLORIDA…
WHAT ABOUT YOU: Have you ever had to cut an event or key training session short because of heat/weather?