I Think I’m Going to Die

Life is all about learning lessons, and I’m going to share some that I’ve learnt the hard way, with you, so that you will not repeat them, as in many of my blog posts. This might be one of the most important lessons yet: It’s really, really, REALLY stupid to go for a 46mile tough ride after being deathly ill with whatever gastrointestinal bug that was going around work. Believe me when I tell you this. Learn from my mistakes. Don’t do it.

After spending the last 48 hours cooped up inside, and cancelling a coffee meeting due to this illness (which upon finding out, I was scolded by my friend for doing) I awoke feeling refreshed and needing to spend time in the fresh air.

J.G.: “Um, you canceled meeting K to go for a bike ride?”

Me: “But I was sick!”

J.G.: “Mol, you went for a freaking 46 mile bike ride!”

Me: “But, when I cancelled, I was sick!I couldn’t consume caffeine.”

J.G.: “You’re NUTS!”

Me (after a long sigh): “Yeah, I know.”

If you are nuts like me, and could consume a banana without vomiting, perhaps you would have done the same thing. Or, maybe not. It was in the high 40’s for goodness sake. I couldn’t bear to sit inside on my couch.

A couple weeks ago I complained to my coach that I was getting tired of riding on route 9 and asked her if she had any routes that I could do. In response, she told me I could bring my bike somewhere and ride–I didn’t always have to ride from my house–and gave me a website with routes that she has completed. And today I thought, why not go for a ride? My stomach can tolerate the consumption of a banana, and I’m game for an adventure.

Oh, was I wrong.

I decided to go somewhere I’ve never been before. A friend asked me if I tell people where I’m going when I go for long rides, or on “Molly adventures” as she calls them. “No, but I do bring my cell phone with me, and a first aid kit.” (Note: make sure your cell phone is fully charged before you go. Having a cell phone with a dead battery is of no use whatsoever incase you do have an emergency).

I started off in Phoenicia, a little town where I’ve never been. In fact, you really do not need to go there either. There isn’t really anything there. Sitting in the front seat of my car with a sick-to-my-stomach feeling, I looked down at the directions in my lap and it dawned on me,  no wonder I get lost easily. My “directions” are really the worst directions anyone could ever write.

So, I thought, perhaps it might be a good idea to see if the “grocery store” had a map. And, I needed gatorade and felt my sugar begin to drop and I wanted to also get a powerbar. I entered the small shop, and was actually slightly creeped out, which rarely happens to me. I walked down the aisles of dust covered cereal boxes and overpriced food and managed to find a Gatorade, but to my dismay, there were no powerbars. They did have maps though! I asked the kind lady behind the counter if there was anyplace to park in this lovely small quaint town, and she said I was welcome to park across from the post office.

I sat back in the front seat of my horribly dirty car and studied the map in my lap and chugged the gatorade.Okay, I’m ready. I unpacked my car, hopped on my bike, clipped in, and was off. Note: Chugging Gatorade after being unable to even consume Ginger Ale, is not a good idea. Emesis of fruit punch flavored fluids may occur.

I’m not going to lie, the ride was hard. Very hard. So hard that, for the majority of the ride, I thought I might die. “Ride the hills harder on this ride, so your heart rate is in zone 3” were the weekly directions from my coach. It’s safe to say my watch kept beeping to tell me I was in zone 4, and my heart rate was too high. No wonder at some points I thought my heart was fibrillating and going to jump out of my throat; my heart rate was in the 190’s.

Ouu, I've never been so close to Hunter Mountain before!

I rode up, and down, and around on winding roads that I’ve never been on, and managed to survive the waves of nausea that accompanied the twisting roads. I passed through Tannersville, which oddly reminded me a bit of Woodstock, and through Pallenville, which I haven’t been to since I was a youngster. And, I passed Kaaterskill Falls, thanking God as I coasted down the long, long hill on route 23A that I did not decide to do this route in reverse like I had originally planned. Because going in reverse, there is a MAJOR incline. For miles. And, had I done that, I think I really would have died.

Looking back up at what would have killed me.

Who knew the highest waterfalls in NY were so close by?

Whilst riding, I realized that there is a reason why my coach, who has completed full Ironman races, the  S.O.S., and other major triathlons (she’s truly amazing) is in amazing shape. If I did these rides like her on a regular basis, I’d be in terrific shape, too.

Phoenicia->Palenville->Phoenicia Route

The roads continued to go up, and down, and around. I stopped a couple times to glance at my map (BEST purchase ever) because I was afraid I was lost, and being lost in the Catskills is not where you want to be. But, upon reaching Glasco Turnpike, I knew exactly where I was. Then again, there are only so many Glasco Turnpikes outside of Woodstock of which I’m aware.

When dehydration sets in, you find signs like this funny.

In all honesty, it was perfect weather for riding, and going down hills were nice. When you go for long rides, or tough ones I should say, you really should bring something to eat incase your blood sugar plummets, and make sure you have enough water. Thankfully I was smart enough to pack a banana with me which I think might have saved me from a hypoglycemic coma in Shandaken.

On all of my recent rides, to my dismay, I have not passed other cyclists. I know other people do go out for rides, just not on weekdays when I go, since I tend to work on weekends. However, I was very excited to pass two cyclists, who, imagine this, I actually recognized. Okay, the fact I was close to Woodstock, and the fact they were wearing yellow jackets with red, green, and black stripes across the chest, kind of gave them away.

Sickler Road

Finally, after what I felt was hours of pedaling (and indeed, it was hours), I made it safely back to my embarrassingly dirty car.

Upon arriving home, I opened my e-mail to find one from my coach which read the following:

How was your long ride today? You weren’t on 212 by any chance–Steve said he passed someone who looked like you.

And, after laughing, I replied,

Yes, that was me. I thought I passed him. Your routes are killers!

Breakfast at Tiffany’s was in my head for the majority of the ride. Thank you, Pandora, for putting me through even more pain than I was already in.

1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Auntie Pam
    Mar 24, 2011 @ 22:08:18

    Are you INSANE, girl???????????? So THIS is what you were doing on Wendy’s birthday! 🙂 You are amazing. I’m glad you lived. 🙂 Love you, A.P.


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March 2011

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