After scratching in TABR 2021, I decided I needed more experience with distance riding before I attempted it again, so I joined the local randonneuring group. Randonneuring has two kinds of ride—brevets, which are organized date-and-day events, and permanentes (or perms), which you can ride whenever you want. There are certain standardized distances in either case, and yesterday I rode a 300-km perm. I covered about the same distance on Day 1 of TABR 2021, although that was cold, rainy, and windy; yesterday started out cool and warmed up to be pretty hot, with a slight tailwind on the outbound leg and a stronger headwind (it certainly felt stronger) on the return. In any case, this was only the second time I’ve ridden this distance.
I started out at 6:00 AM in darkness and rode for about an hour before there was any sunlight. After that, the morning was very misty, and whenever I would ride through a low-lying spot, visibility was probably only 50′. The mist burned off by 8:30 or so. Riding through that was surreal. I was mostly on roads I know well up to that point, but not being able to see around me made them unfamiliar territory.
I pushed on past the first control in Taylor, about 40 miles in, without stopping. After that point, the route took me on unfamiliar roads to get to a familiar place—Apache Pass—and then to Rockdale, where I did stop for a snack at the second control. Pushed on from there through the community of Black Jack, which I had never heard of, to Caldwell, where I discovered I had crossed from the burnt orange zone of football allegiance to the maroon one. Stopped at a Subway for solid food, topped off my hydration pack, had a Snickers bar for good measure, and headed back.
I had been making pretty good time to this point for relatively little effort, but knew I’d be facing a headwind on the way back. I can see now that my average heart rate for the first half was 120 bpm, 125 bpm for the second half. In hindsight, I think I could have pushed the pace on the outbound leg a little more, but I was mostly concerned about having enough in the tank to make it home.
When I made it back to Apache Pass, at mile 132, I was dealing with hotfoot and stopped to give my feet a break. That helped a bit, but not enough, and not for long enough. I stopped again in Taylor to fill up on water, even though I probably had enough to make it the rest of the way back. I wanted to give my feet another break, and I wasn’t sure how long the next 40 miles would take, since my speed was dropping steadily.
Sometimes I can ride through hotfoot and get comfortable again. That didn’t happen. I just toughed it out. Apart from that, and being generally sore and tired in all the ways you’d expect, I felt pretty good when I finished. My left knee felt a little tweaked over the last 30 miles or so, but was not concerning. I didn’t feel any of the Achilles’ tendon trouble that I did in the TABR. I ate half a family-sized King Ranch Casserole from Central Market for dinner, and went to Bobo’s for a beer.
This morning when I woke up, I did not feel pretty good. I had a headache and nausea, in addition to fatigue. I can get by for a long time on a deficit of water, electrolytes, and calories—I rode the recent 200K brevet on four Clif bars, one Snickers bar, a bottle of Gatorade, and the water and electrolytes I was carrying from the start—and I think I set a personal best for 200K. But clearly my limit for riding on deficits is somewhere short of the 300K mark, and I’m pretty sure it was the insufficient water and electrolytes that did it. I took in a couple glasses of electrolytes (I use Vitalyte, fwiw) and felt a lot better.