// //

Saturday, December 10, 2016 - Welcome, guest user!

2014 Cross-Florida (170 mile/270 kilometer): post-ride report (Part II)

Tuesday, April 8, 2014 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

April
8
2014

I suppose distilling an epic 170-mile cross-state cycling adventure into a single blog of reasonable length is nigh impossible. Despite the long odds, I made an effort to do just that with yesterday’s article, “2014 Cross-Florida (170 mile/270 kilometer): post-ride report (Part I)“. It was a valiant attempt, however I inadvertently left a whole mess of stuff out of my recounting. I also received a number of questions by email/PM, and would like to answer those publicly. So, today’s blog will sort of jump around and attempt to fill in the blanks…

Several people inquired about my intra-ride and post-ride nutrition/supplementation. Here are the complete lists:

Food and supplements that I carried in my jersey and consumed along the ride: Clif bars (“White Chocolate Macadamia” is my favorite flavor), bananas, GU energy gels (I really dig the “Chocolate Outrage” and caffeinated “Espresso Love” flavors), GU chomps (Cranberry Apple is my current favorite), Salt Stick Electrolyte Caps (amazing, low-cost product that prevents muscle cramps; I take 1 capsule per hour of riding), SportLegs (“A good day in a bottle” sums this product up perfectly, helps prevent lactic acid buildup and really works; I consume 4 capsules every two to three hours of riding), Gatorade and lots of plain water.

Food/drink available at the SAG stops that I consumed: PB&J sandwiches*, homemade cookies*, homemade ham wraps*, homemade protein balls*, assorted chips, more bananas and more Gatorade.

*Graciously Provided by Jeff and Laura Stephens on Lou Ann-supported rides!

Post-ride/recovery nutrition: First and foremost, I believe a proper recovery must start with good intra-ride nutrition and hydration. So be sure to fuel while you ride, and stay hydrated. If you’re not urinating during the ride, you’re not drinking enough water. Be sure to consume plenty of electrolytes (Salt Stick capsules, energy gels, sports drinks)–water is not enough.

Post-ride I eat as much as I want, and whatever I want. I tend to crave protein and carbs, and so that’s what I go for. I also pound back the water and sports drinks. You know you’re doing it right if your urinating often, and it’s nearly clear.

Get a good night of sleep after a big ride, and go for an easy ride the next day. Seriously, I find that doing an easy spin the day after a big ride really helps with recovery and reduce soreness.

Getting back to the ride…

At this point it would certainly be germane to list the names of everyone with whom I rode, and all the new friends I made. However, because I’m feeble-minded, forgetful and exceptionally bad with names, there’s little doubt that I would accidentally leave someone awesome off said list, so I won’t embarrass myself and go there. Instead I’ll simply say I truly enjoyed riding with our “official” group of 30-ish cyclists, and sharing some miles with those cyclists our paceline absorbed along the long ride. I found almost everyone to be super friendly, supportive and positive. My kind of people.

In fact, I’d like to elaborate on that last note. Before I started road cycling and was a pure mountain biker, tales of rude and elitist roadies were rampant amongst some (not all) of my dirt-loving comrades. Fact is, I’ve found quite the opposite to be true. I’ve met and ridden with literately hundreds of roadies since I first swung my leg over a skinny-tired bike back in late 2012, and I can count on two hands the number of cyclists who I feel fit that unflattering description.

The cross-Florida ride was an awesome experience, but no epic adventure would be complete without a little drama. Not to be negative, but I would be remiss–and certainly disingenuous–if I didn’t provide some form of literary tension. 🙂

Broken collar bone (image Copyright bicycletrailreview.com)

Broken collar bone (image Copyright bicycletrailreview.com)

Bones were shattered. I didn’t know the guy, but we saw him shortly after his wreck. Apparently he hit a deep hole in the road, and went over the bars, breaking his collar bone. From what I learned, it was a pretty bad break (compound), and the rider blacked out. A short time after we passed the scene of the accident, we saw an ambulance heading towards the downed rider. Hope he is okay.

About 110 miles into the ride we began to encounter some of the most aggressive and rude motorists I’ve ever come across while cycling. Some motorists passed silently with their car mirrors mere inches from our bodies, while others revved their engines and/or blared their horns as they skimmed by our paceline. We were flipped off, cussed at, yelled at and called “idiots”. Some motorists coming from the opposite direction (who were in no way impeded by our paceline), even screamed at us as they passed. Several of the angry folks we encountered had air horns, and they leaned on them the entire time they were near us. One time a car passenger literally opened his door, leaned out and screamed at us…

Which brings me to my next point.

As the guy mentioned just above passed and yelled at us, one of the cyclists riding directly in front of me (I don’t know who she was–she was not part of our group, just someone who happened to be in our paceline at the time), screamed an explicative back at the guy.

No. Absolutely NO! Regardless of how wrong a motorist may be, you simply do not engage like that; nothing good will ever come out of doing so. Not only that, I strongly believe that the only way cyclists are going to improve relations with motorists is if we leave them with a positive impression. Be courteous, obey traffic laws, smile and wave if you want (never sarcastically) and, above all, if someone is angry or rude–no matter how wrong they may be–DO NOT ENGAGE. It’s just dumb. At best you’re confirming their negative beliefs about cyclists, and you are possibly putting yourself (and everyone with whom you’re riding) in danger.

At one point deep into the ride I was feeling good and broke away from my group in a hilly section. I happened to latch on to a small group of cyclists I did not know. These guys were riding two abreast, sometimes three, and taking up the entire lane. There are times when a double paceline is safest and appropriate, but this was clearly a situation in which singling up was the way to go. Motorists were becoming extremely irritated (and I don’t blame them), and these guys just kept riding along making no attempt to do their part in sharing the road. Once I saw how these guys were behaving, I quickly dropped off and waited at a traffic light for my friends to catch back up.

Old Tampa Highway. It eats bike tires for breakfast.

Old Tampa Highway. It eats bike tires for breakfast.

I have to give special mention to the worst road on which I’ve ever had the displeasure of peddling my bike…

A section of a road called “Old Tampa Highway” came about 70 miles into the ride, and it was several miles of bad asphalt, sand, cracked bricks and deep holes. As I rode along, teeth rattling out of my skull as I attempted to dodge the non-stop barrage of hazards (some of which, not surprisingly, included cyclists replacing punctured tubes), I tried to block out the mental image of broken spokes and–worse–broken collar bones.

When I finished the ride I noticed that my front brake pad was slightly rubbing. I have no doubt that Old Tampa Highway is what put my wheel out of true. Perhaps a local bike shop or Park Tool has something to do with the inclusion of this road in the XFL route? 😉

Here’s another picture of the bad road (from Google Street View):

Old Tampa Highway. Smooooooooooth.

Old Tampa Highway. Smooooooooooth.

 

I certainly do not want to end my recounting of what was an amazingly fun and challenging ride on a negative note! To be sure, the events mentioned above were only a small part of an otherwise incredible experience. This ride allowed me to see Florida in a way most never will. Nearly all of the roads were lightly traveled, safe and very scenic. I would not hesitate to do this ride again next year, and would recommend it to any cyclist who is looking for a long, but satisfying day in the saddle.

John Stone Fitness Comments

31 Responses to “2014 Cross-Florida (170 mile/270 kilometer): post-ride report (Part II)”
  1. I’m sure we can put together a small group for a smooth 200 sometime this summer. All we need is 11 hours of daylight (10 hours at 20 mph and a 15 min refuel stop every 40 miles). Sounds simple enough. A great route would be a requirement, but that should be easy. If need be (like its REALLY just a small group), I’ll even commit to pulling for a hundred of it…

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  2. Judging by your saddle time in each of the two disciplines recently (several months?), it seems you’re a full-fledged roadie now and part-time mountain biker. 🙂

    Would you say that by and large you prefer road cycling now? Or do you see it as something that will ebb and flow? Could you ever envision yourself over a period of time hopping on your road bike as little as you’ve hopped on your mountain bike over this last little while?

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • You’re a long-time reader, so one thing you’ve almost certainly noticed about me is that I tend to become very fixated on things that interest me. 🙂

      Yeah, I never thought I’d like road cycling much, but I sure was wrong about that. I may have fallen in love with road cycling, but I that doesn’t mean I still don’t love mountain biking. Maybe I should move to Utah…

      So my quick answer to your question, without putting even a moment of real thought into it, is I suspect things will ebb and flow. That said (and I need to proceed this statement by making it clear that I make it without the slightest hint of sarcasm or defensiveness), I don’t care one way or the other, nor do I see the point in the question. Why would I want to attempt to plan a path or label what I am in this regard? Instead I’ll simply state the truth as I know it: I enjoy both road cycling and mountain biking, and no matter which bike I feel like riding on any given day, it’s all good. 🙂

      GD Star Rating
      loading...
      • I love that answer actually, it comes from a place of perspective and wisdom.

        The point of the question was just curiosity and to make conversation. I eat lunch at my desk most days and often this comment section (and you) are a part of my “over lunch banter.” 🙂

        I’m not writing a book report or anything. 😉

        GD Star Rating
        loading...
  3. Sounds like a great experience (minus the rude motorists & horrible road section). I had to back out of the STP (Seattle to Portland) 200 mile ride last summer for a variety of reasons, but reading about your ride makes me want to train for it again & do it.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  4. Hate to say it but I am with Eugene Cusie on that one. It feels like cobbles and is a must do. It beat me up last year but I seemed to find a nice trail right down the crown in the center. It did seem
    Like a long mile.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  5. Look, lets be honest here – who doesn’t enjoy hanging out with other people in lycra.

    John did you ‘carb-load’ in the couple of days before the ride? I always load up on rice pudding, banana and honey on white toast.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  6. Honestly, I didn’t mind the “cobbles” so much this year. I don’t know if it was the new Merckx (I did it on my old, titanium Merckx last year) or if I just picked a better line, but I agree with Eugene and Jeff; it’s part of the “mystique” of the XFL.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
  7. Awesome ride and great write up, too. I’m enjoying reading your blogs about your cycling a lot more than I did back in your bulking/cutting/maintenance days.

    Cycling (running for me) is an ever-changing activity. Being able to do the sport we love outside let’s us see new things each day and allows us to meet wonderful people that enjoy the same hobbies as we do. Also helps to know that the people you’re riding next to are out there slugging away and suffering in the saddle as much as you are.

    I know that you’ve really gotten into the sport within the last year, now that summer is coming up, Le Tour will be right around the corner. Do you plan on watching any of it? When I was riding and training a lot for some half-irons I would watch the tour on NBC Universal every day. It’s amazing what types of athletes those guys are, and now that you can compare it to your own self it’s fun to watch and get into, even if you don’t know all the ins and outs of the sport.

    GD Star Rating
    loading...
    • Thanks for the feedback and support! I hear from people semi-frequently who pine for the old cut/bulk/repeat days, so it’s always nice to know that my current fitness life resonates with at least some of the old school JSF gang. 🙂

      I’ll definitely be watching the Tour again this year. Last year was really the first time that I followed it with any interest, and I enjoyed it immensely. I have to say, though, I don’t see how anyone who is not a cyclist could enjoy watching the Tour for more than a few minutes at a time.

      GD Star Rating
      loading...

Speak Your Mind

Tell us what you're thinking...

You must be logged in to post a comment. Not yet a member? Registration is fast and free!