In just a couple days I will be leaving Spartanburg at 4:30AM and riding to Isle of Palms, SC near Charleston. The grand total mileage should be 236, give or take, which we will complete in one day. If everything goes well, we will arrive at the beach in the mid-evening under cover of darkness.
This ride is being organized by the Spartanburg Freewheelers and there will be 16 riders in all. The good thing is these are all great riders. I will be pulling my share, but I expect that some of their stronger riders will be doing the pacemaking. The course should have some small hills along the way. The bigger ones looks to be on the other side of Lake Wateree. It should be relatively flat towards the coast, as we cross through Francis Marion National forest. Probably the toughest climb will be near the very end, as we climb the bridge into Isle of Palms. For the entire ride, we’re looking at around 4,000 feet of climbing, which is not much. My guess is we will maintain a pace of around 20 mph for about 12 hours of bike time. There will be several breaks so the total time could be around 16-18 hours.
I know, wow. Crazy. Insane. What am I thinking? To date, the longest ride I have completed was a 200k, maybe half of the mileage for this ride. Looking at my 2011 calendar, there have been only three times where I had this much mileage in an entire week.
All that said, there is no doubt that I’ll be fine. The MS150 Double Century was a great test. I was encouraged that on the 2nd day I could maintain a 20 mph pace in a headwind, a lot of which was solo riding. With the amount of support and the number of breaks, this should be easier than the double century.
So what does one pack for a 200+ ride? Lots and lots of Gatorade and Clif Bars to start. I’ll also bring about 3 extra jerseys and maybe another pair of bike shorts. Most importantly, I’ll have plenty of chamois butter that I will apply liberally at every private moment.
I will also need a lot of carb calories saved up before the ride. My carboloading will be a little different this time around. Since there is no exact science for a ride like this and everyone is different, I’m going to err on the side of caution. That means I have already started eating carbs and will continue for the next few days. I’ll start with lower glycemic foods, as I have done for other rides, and move to the heavy pasta and rice as the ride gets closer. The main consequences of eating too much are that I’ll get heavier for the ride. That doesn’t worry me in the slightest. I am starting at a good weight and since there are no major climbs, a few extra pounds will not slow me down. If anything they might speed me up since we’ll be dropping elevation.
On the ride I will also eat a lot. They have a planned breakfast stop at 7am at McDonalds. Egg McMuffin and Hash Browns, please. We’ll be having a picnic lunch at Camden Revolutionary Park where I’ll have a foot-long Subway. In the afternoon we’ll have random tailgate breaks where I’ll subside on a diet of Clif bars, Gatorade, a few salty snacks and whatever else I can lay my hands on. Again, I am going to err on the side of eating too much and lose the weight later. When we arrive in Isle of Palms, we’ll meet a greeting party who will have dinner waiting for us. Bless their souls.
When we arrive in Charleston I am going to be exhausted. Coincidentally enough, my wife’s high school reunion will be in Charleston on Saturday night. I’ll be the guy sitting down, trying to stay awake.