Lisa and I have been lightly mountain biking for several years and started getting into road cycling this last year. This is partially due to my brother and his wife regularly doing rides like the Oregon Bike MS 150 (100 miles the first day, 50 the second) along with several other longer rides. They even completed this years AIDS/LifeCycle (which runs from San Francisco to LA) a couple of weeks ago. We decided to join them this year on the Bike MS ride this last Saturday, trying to complete the 60 mile course (we’re didn’t feel ready to ride 100 miles in one day).
We spent the last few months building up the appropriate gear (though I may have gone a little overboard with some of the upgrades to the bikes) and building up to the point where we considered a 10-mile ride to be a “short ride”. The weekend before Bike MS, we did a 45-mile ride with considerable hills (include some 11% grades) and felt like we could go further at the end (we just didn’t want to exploit our babysitters time beyond what we had already — thanks, Mom & Dad!), so we felt prepared for the 60-mile ride.
Well, we didn’t quite make the full 60 — I guess trying this on the hottest day in the last 3 years was a bad idea. The first half was great, but at about the 30 mile mark, the temperature started gaining quickly. We heard that several of the 100-mile riders switched to the 60 route at that point. It might have helped that the worker at the corner was pointing at the 60-mile route and said “Beer!” and then at the 100-mile course and said “Hills!”.
Then, at the last rest stop, Lisa’s shoe wouldn’t disengage from the pedal — one of the screws that held the cleat in had fallen out! We got some help and were able to get it functional with only 1 screw holding it in, but it started to come loose again after a mile or so and was hurting her on the climbs.
Before that rest stop, I accidentally checked the temperature (I was trying to avoid knowing) and it was 103 F! When we decided to call it at 54 mi, we ran into another cyclist who saw it as high as 106! This was just too hot for us (especially me) and the cleat problems were a real safety issue (you don’t want your foot attached to the bike if you get in an accident). However, it was the heat that really sapped our energy. We even heard that several people who signed up for the 100 and switched to the 60 ended up pulling out before the end.
We’re now looking for another 60-miler to do next month (hopefully on a cooler day) so we can complete it, but we’re still proud of the accomplishment we made. We’re both sure we would have been able to complete the 60 if it weren’t for the heat — we’re from Oregon, so we’re just not used to it!