Last year I was supposed to participate in the Komen 3 Day Walk in San Diego. Sixty miles walked over the span of three days; it's kind of brutal, there are HILLS, it hurts, and yes, it forking hurts.
The surprising thing is that anyone does it more than once. But, there are hundreds who do it every year, and I've done it several times. But last year I was unable to go, and after having raised over $2000, I felt as if I owed my donors those miles.
It's happened before; I've walked the miles later. But those miles are not as hard, because I have control over the environment and don't tackle those huge hills. I have comfortable places to stop for breaks, instead of the quick grab food and go pit stops, and I can have lunch anywhere I choose instead of sitting on the ground trying to make myself eat another Panera sandwich.
To make up the miles this year, I decided I would bike them. And instead of three days, I'd do it in two.
I had serious doubts about the number of miles I would be able to do in one day. I was fairly sure I could do 30, if I took several breaks. I doubted I could do more than 40, even with those breaks. Still, the 40-mile range is what I was shooting for, thinking I could do the rest the next day, likely very slowly.
I set out around 10 am on January 11th, and took my first break right at 20 miles. And I felt good. I wasn't pushing it too hard, so my legs weren't screaming at me, but the most surprising thing was that I wasn't screaming at my saddle for biting me in the asterisk. I sat an an outside table at Starbucks for about 15 minutes, then hopped back on.
By this point I was confident about 30 and hopeful about 40, but didn't even consider more than that.
At 40, I was tired. My knees were starting to mutter things at me, but I wasn't spent. So I kept on. I was getting looks from people who had seen me ride by a dozen times--it's a small town and there are only so many routes I can take--but I felt like I had five more miles in me.
At 45, the idea that I probably could do all 60 began to settle in my brain. That was only 15 more. Another hour. Of course I could do that.
But then I got to 48, and the knees were screaming instead of muttering, and my backside was crying. At 50 I was only a few minutes from home, so common sense won out.
I stopped at 51.55, and thought that was enough. If I'd walked in the 3 Day, I probably would have jumped in a sweep van a few times, and only done 50-55 miles. The number of miles felt fair, and I called it done. After that, I was certain I would wake up in a ton of pain, barely able to move, and riding again wouldn't just hurt, but HURT.
But...I got up on Sunday and felt fine. A cycling friend recommended that I do a short ride even if I hurt a little for no reason other than to push the lactic acid out of my muscles, so a short ride it would be.
I did a squidge under 11 miles.
So, really, I did it. 60 miles in two days.
No, I don't think I'll do it again. I think I got lucky this time, with energy and low pain levels, and I didn't burn as many calories as I thought I would...but damned if I wasn't hungry as if I had. I wanted to eat ALL THE THINGS for the rest of the day, and I took in as many as I burned.
I'm not even sure my future charity endeavors will require the racking up of miles.
Either way, at least I know I can do a long ride if I feel it's important. And doing those miles was important to me. Those who donated did it for the charity, but still.
Now that it's done, I'm looking forward to this:
Trek Domane AL2. I ordered it last Friday and it should be here by Monday. This will be my first road bike in 40 years. The last one I owned was a Schwinn Continental that I bought in 8th grade and sold my junior or senior year of college. I loved that bike and still have regrets about letting it go. I dig my pink bike, I dig my little Townie, I dig the hybrid...but I've been itching for a road bike and decided to get an entry-level Domane.
I have a feeling 10 miles on this will hurt a little at first.
No worries, though. Give me a couple months, it'll be fine.