My nutty adventure riding RAINSTORM – Day 1

First let me say that people who do bicycle training in central Indiana are missing a key element: Hills! Sure everyone who has ridden on the northwest side knows of Fishback hill. That fact alone shows what I mean. And Fishback isn’t more than a quarter of a mile long. It’s not hill work. It’s gut check. Even if it were long enough to be a challenge, one hill doesn’t constitute hill training.

So day 1 of the 2012 RAINSTORM was the longest, and (I hope) the hilliest. Add near 100 degree temperatures and you have yourself a Damon Meltdown. We were to journey 115 miles from Richmond to Brown County State Park. I forgot that I missed two weeks of training because of a bad back so I charged out with a fast group and stayed with them for about 30 miles. The problem became moot when I got a flat in my rear tire while climbing a hill. After that, I mostly rode alone.

My first leg cramp happened about mile 85. I thought to myself that thirty miles is just two hours even at a leisurely pace. By mile 95 I couldn’t climb the tiniest grade without severe cramping. At mile 100 I decided to quit. After all, my goal was to do 100 per day. I didn’t ask for the overachieving first day. I waited nearly 30 minutes for the sag wagon. During that time I convinced myself that I was OK and should continue. Those of you who have heard the Damon, Bob, and Thom Great Winnebago Hunt story already know how this worked out for me: ride a little bit, get cramps, stop and cal it quits, fell a little better, REPEAT. I covered another 10 miles like this, about 1 mile at a time. Around then the sag wagon came by. I think, “It’s only 5 more miles.” the lesson of the Winnebago Hunt came quickly to mind. I piled into the sag wagon. I’ve never done that before. I can’t tell you how smart a decision it was.

In addition to the flat and the cramps (every muscle in both my legs at one time or another), I missed 2 turns, and I met a helluva of a nice guy at the Whispering Pines Golf Course at Camp Atterbury. One of my many unofficial rest stops. My Garmin went nuts in Shelbyville and added 4200 kilometers to my distance in about 30 seconds. Oh, I also missed my scheduled massage time.

If I’m able to ride tomorrow, I’ll have more stories. 41 of us started this morning. I know for sure that six of us quit before the end. I’m guessing there were more.

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