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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310

    2007 Shiner GASP- can you bonk more than once?

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    DH and I decided to tackle the Shiner GASP (Great Austin to Shiner Pedal) this year. He had done the ride once from Houston to Shiner three years ago. Since then I have been wanting to do it, this year was a bad year. I keep telling myself I need to ride more and yesterday cemented that for me. The ride is advertised as 90 miles to Shiner from Austin and it is all rolling hills.

    The morning started was too early for me at 4:45, we drove down to East Austin to start. While we were prepping for the start, my only ponytail holder broke. Luckily, DH decided against wearing his HALO Sweatband and I was able to tie my hair with it but I am pretty sure this was an omen of things to come.

    The humidity was thick, although the temperature was nice. The ride rolled out at 7:00, we missed the port-o-potties at the start and the first 10 slow miles would be a potty dance on wheels. I hate the first 10 miles of any organized ride where the hammerheads are blowing by and the mid-range people like me get stuck behind groups ofsloer people and chatting while not paying attention to the "slower traffic ride right in a single file line" rule. Sometime around mile 1.5, I reset my computer by mistake and was now off the actual ride distance.

    We finally made it to rest stop 1 where I was able to potty and hear some Shiny Toy GUns "Le Disko" playing on the radio. That song is one of my current favorites, so it lifted my spirit. Stupidly, I did not think I needed to top of my bottles and this would haunt me later. After that stop we hit what would be the only fast part of the ride, we were hammering along at 20 mph with any effort. When we reached rest stop number three I didn't want to stop, but some boys who looked about 18 stopped in the middle of the road! I had to unclip quickly and got a charlie horse in my left calf, this was probably the second omen of the day.

    When I got the cramp, I should have pulled back into the rest stop and topped off my fluids, but I decided to drink all my NUUN before refilling the bottle. The only problem with that is I took in a lot of fluids in the 10 miles after the rest stop to combat the crampy feeling. Around mile 40 I decided to take in some sport beans, I reached down for water and realized my bottle was pretty much empty. Then I drank the rest of the NUUN and it was still 5 miles to the rest stop and we were only rolling at about 12 mph. Sometime in this stretch is also started a light rain, my glasses were fogged up and the rain was annoying, luckily it wasn't heavy enough to cause safety issues. At this point the nausea hit me for the first time and I was definitely not feeling right. I started drinking DH's NUUN and tried to press on, feeling like I might puke. We got to the rest stop where I was able to fill up my bottles and drink. I also spent a while just sitting on the ground listening to cyclist complain about the rough roads and smuggly thinking "I haven't had a problem- thank you carbon". Another bad omen/idea.

    Once I finally picked myself up off the ground I felt much stronger. We had got back up to 15 mph and I was feeling pretty comfortable. We passed the rest stop at mile 55 because I felt great. What we did not know was we were about to hop on 12 miles of chip 'n seal and a strong headwind. The rain had started to ease and the winds picked up as we got onto HWY 95 headed to Flatonia for the fourth rest stop. On HWY 95 I wanted to cry, all the carbon in the world could not make the pain of that road go away. Then I really wanted to cry when DH told me the rest stop was at 67 miles, not 65. You know how long two miles can sound when you're struggling to ride 11 mph in a headwind?!

    We finally got to Flatonia; I believe a town with FLAT in their name should not have one hill. It was pretty flat but you had to climb an overpass and one tiny hill- liars it is not FLAT! Thankfully, the City of Flatonia does have smooth roads. We finally made it to the rest stop where an event organizer said the sweetest words ever- the ride is actually 85 miles this year. I wanted to kiss him, but I am a married woman! There was also promise of smoother roads and downhill from other cyclists. Liars. I did refuel with a PB&J, but otherwise I felt unable to take in foods, this would be a fateful decision.

    After we left Flatonia I was really starting to hate my saddle and told DH we would also need to take the last rest stop (mile 75) so I could get off the bike. The roads were slightly smoother outside Flatonia, but it was only because you could safely take the lane of the highway and ride on a smooth part. The should was just more Chip Seal. The winds seemed to be about the same and those miles to Moulton were pretty long. I was a little strong than the miles to Flatonia, but I was pretty much riding with lead legs.

    We got to Moulton where I told DH he should ride to Shiner to meet our friend and I would hang back. He refused to leave me and we pressed on the last 10 miles. Along those last 10 miles I had cramps in muslcles I didn't know could cramp (the on running down the front of your calf?). My shoulders hurt terribly from gripping so tightly in the wind. When we weren't in a headwind we were in a crosswind. My sit bones and pelvic bones hurt and I was constantly shifting on the saddle. I finally stopped and urged DH to keep riding as he was in pain from trying to ride at 8 mph. He went on to ride and told me later he hit a wall and felt awful. I stood there on the side of the road with 8 miles to go telling myself not to flag any of those SAG Wgons driving by, I had come too far! At 6 miles to go I saw the TNT Cheerleaders who told me only six miles, this left me with a nauseated feeling and the leg cramps were still coming.

    I rode two more miles and got off the bike again. I called DH telling him I just couldn't ride anymore but I couldn't stop with 4 miles to go. He told me the total ride was 85.70 miles and I should be very close, it seems the TNT people were wrong and it was only 5 miles from them. I kept pushing on and saw the "Welcome to Shiner Sign". The SAG Wagon rolled by and I thought "You can finish, look at you, you are better than them today!" It was a mean thought but I had to psyche myself out, there was no shame for anyone in the SAG Cars. I kept pushing and was up 12 mph- I felt like I was flying. My cell phone started ringing with a worried DH but no way was I stopping to get it out of my back pocket. My computer said 82.50 miles and I knew the worst case (I didn't know when I reset my computer) was 3 more miles to go.

    Finally I saw an outline of the brewery and a John Deere Dealership I remembered from last time was just down the road. At this point DH and our friend drove the opposite direction, I was able to flash a big "I'm going to make it" smile and wave. DH said he didn't know how I was smiling, but he was relieved. Finally I rolled up to the brewery at 2:30 and got some cheers from Spectators, I could not believe how great I mentally felt. Physically, my back, shoulders, hip flexor muscle and other leg muscles were sore. DH later told me he regretted leaving me, because along the last 8 miles he overheated and he was worried I was doing even worse.

    Overall, I did really well with hydrating so I am not sure why I kept cramping. The ride was brutal and I just feel so proud I made it. It took me over 6 hours of actual saddle time but I made it!
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    I'm the only one allowed to whine
    Posts
    10,576
    Wow! Good job! That sounds like a very tough ride, and you are one tough cookie!
    "If Americans want to live the American Dream, they should go to Denmark." - Richard Wilkinson

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Folsom CA
    Posts
    5,672
    Oh, Amanda, I totally feel for you! Once in a while I'll go out on an organized ride and something goes wrong with my pre-ride routine, or I'll forget something, or something breaks - and even if it's something unimportant, I'll feel flustered or rushed or just not "right" for the rest of the ride. Funny how that works.

    You know how long two miles can sound when you're struggling to ride 11 mph in a headwind?!
    Oh, yeah.

    Congratulations on making it through such an epic ride!

    2009 Lynskey R230 Houseblend - Brooks Team Pro
    2007 Rivendell Bleriot - Rivet Pearl

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Marin County CA
    Posts
    5,958
    Wow - great job under tough circumstances. I don't see how you guys ride in high humidity like that - I think it would do me in!!!

    Flatonia - what a funny name! Expecially when it's not flat!!
    Sarah

    When it's easy, ride hard; when it's hard, ride easy.


    2011 Volagi Liscio
    2010 Pegoretti Love #3 "Manovelo"
    2011 Mercian Vincitore Special
    2003 Eddy Merckx Team SC - stolen
    2001 Colnago Ovalmaster Stars and Stripes

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Raleigh, North Carolina
    Posts
    287
    Amanda,

    Great ride report. I'd forgotten about the rough roads. Riding a ti bike didn't stop the jarring that I felt. Wasn't it great when we hit the smooth bit?

    I second everything you've said about conditions. and the wind, did you mention the wind...I don't think enough. It felt as if it was continually in my face or trying to blow me off of my bike from the side. My bento box wouldn't even stay on top of my tube but stuck off the right side.

    Congratulations for finishing one tough ride! It was really fun to read your account of the Shiner GASP Ride.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    S. Dak.
    Posts
    490
    Amanda, congratulations on finishing your ride. I think your one stubborn- bikin chick. I ride on mostly chip-seal so I feel your pain.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Austin, Tejas
    Posts
    2

    Talking Shiner Gasp

    Amanda,

    I feel your pain sister! I participated in that ride for the 4th year and this was by far the most brutal. The wind was just unrelenting! I considered taking the SAG in (1st time ever) at about mile 70 but my dear friend convinced me to get on her rear wheel (drafting) and "chew off one mile at a time". Well it worked for about 7 miles and then all I could focus on again was the dang wind. I was pedaling no more than 10mph cussing the winds and begging them to stop for just a few minutes to give me time to recompose my thoughts. I had to keep reminding myself that their was cold Shiner beer at the finish just calling for me in the not too far distance.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Austin, Tejas
    Posts
    2

    Talking Shiner Gasp

    Amanda,

    I feel your pain sister! I participated in that ride for the 4th year and this was by far the most brutal. The wind was just unrelenting! I considered taking the SAG in (1st time ever) at about mile 70 but my dear friend convinced me to get on her rear wheel (drafting) and "chew off one mile at a time". Well it worked for about 7 miles and then all I could focus on again was the dang wind. I was pedaling no more than 10mph cussing the winds and begging them to stop for just a few minutes to give me time to recompose my thoughts. I had to keep reminding myself that there was cold Shiner beer at the finish just calling for me in the not too far distance.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    somewhere between the Red & Rio Grande
    Posts
    5,310
    I am so glad to hear I wasn't the only one who found it an absolute suffer fest! The sad thing is I have been pumped about doing this ride since DH did it in 2004. I was hoping for a better experience, but it was pretty miserable. I did walk away with an overwhelming sense of pride- I wanted to SAG so bad but I didn't!

    Cheers to all who made it (or heck even attempted to make it) to the brewery by bike.
    Amanda

    2011 Specialized Epic Comp 29er | Specialized Phenom | "Marie Laveau"
    2007 Cannondale Synapse Carbon Road | Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow | "Miranda"


    You don't have to be great to get started, but you do have to get started to be great. -Lee J. Colan

 

 

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