When things go ouch

By reeset / On / In Cycling, Family

This weekend, Kyle Banerjee and I drove down to Shasta for the Shasta Super Century.  This is a 135 mile, 16,500 ft vertical gain ride the finished with a quad-burning ride up Mt. Shasta.  This was a ride that I’d been looking forward too but apparently my body wasn’t.  About 6 miles into the first major climb (10 mile, 3800 ft. climb) my back knotted up.  I managed to finish up the hill and figured that maybe this would stretch itself out with a few ibprofin.  I took 4, costed down the hill and made my way to the next rest area.  After a quick water break, we started up the next major climb.  ~10 miles up, I just about fell off my bike as my body said no more.  My back was in knots — I could peddle no further.  I limped my way back to the finish line, finishing only 85-90 miles of the 135 mile course.  After an hour in the bed of the pickup, my back finally stop spasming enough for me to go change and wait for Kyle to finish the ride.  And finish he did.  He finished in ~13 hours and still standing.  I wish I could have rode in with him.

Anyway, this was a disappointing way to finish my big ride session.  I’ll do maybe two more centuries this year, but none of them that are this challenging.  As to why my body had so much trouble, I’m not sure.  The distance wasn’t a problem (I’ve ridden further) and the hills shouldn’t have been a problem (at least the first 3) as I’ve ridden equivalents.  The nearest I can tell is that either:

  • I didn’t train well enough for this particular ride — which might have been the case.  I was really focused this year on training for the STP — and that ride turned out as good as I could have asked.  I was able to do it fast and easy.  But I really haven’t done many hill workouts and that might have bit me.
  • Bike fitting…I’d actually lowered my bit handlebars the day of the ride in order to give myself a more agressive bike position.  I’ve done this before on flat courses – but I think that the extra torque that this put onto my back probably caused the problem.  I probably shouldn’t have made this change the day of.

Anyway, look like next year I’ll be going down to Shasta to finish this ride.  I’d never not finished a ride and I owe this mountain a climb.  So I guess I’ll be visiting Shasta again next year to give this another go.

–TR