The Foxy’s Fall Classic Century is my hometown ride. I’ve signed up for it numerous times, but for some reason or other I’ve never finished the 100 mile course. The last time I attempted it, it was a bent rear wheel that prevented me from finishing the long course. Other times I ended up riding the shorter 100 km course simply because that’s what my friends were riding. It’s not a difficult ride. In fact, out of all the 100 mile courses I’ve done, it’s probably the easiest. There are no huge hills and none of the high elevation climbing that I had to deal with on my last two rides.
A walk in the park. Or so I thought.
On a century ride I typically bring along an assortment of gels, bars, powders (gatorade) and (electrolyte) pills to get me through to the end. Having done several harder rides this year, I guess I was overly confident or prideful in my endurance and fitness, so I didn’t bring any of that stuff this time.
Ahh hubris. I like this definition of hubris I found on freedictionary.com: an excess of pride ultimately causing the transgressor’s ruin. Sounds about right. That bit of hubris in not bringing any of my normal nutritional supplements almost did cause my ruin.
The ride started out easy enough, through familiar territory between Davis and Winters, on roads that are completely flat. On the edge of Davis I found myself in a nice paceline, which I rode with all the way to the first rest stop.
The first stop was pretty well stocked, with the normal century ride staples like baked goods, salty snacks, and various fruits. I loaded up on cookies, since, well… I love cookies. And during a long bike ride like this is really the only time I can eat as many as I want guilt free.
The second stop was a water only stop. There were no calories at all, except for Cytomax, which I hate the taste of. So I filled up on water, and wished I had eaten more cookies at the first rest stop.
Between the second rest stop and the third rest stop is where I could have used some of the gels or bars that I normally bring. Somewhere around mile 40 I was starting to hit the wall, I was seriously starting to run low on energy. Cyclists call it bonking, I guess because a bike hitting a wall tire first would make a ‘bonk’ noise as it bounces off the wall. All I had on me was a granola bar that I had picked up at the first rest stop. I wolfed it down, along with some water, and slowly made my way to the third stop.
The third stop was the lunch stop. I rode into the stop completely drained, but for some reason I didn’t have an appetite. I could barely stomach a sandwich, some chips, and half a banana. On most rides lunch comes with sodas, but for some reason all they had was V8 and more Cytomax. I ended up chugging a couple of cans of V8. Surprisingly, it really hit the spot. There’s a good amount of salt and potassium in V8, which I hoped would take the place of the electrolyte pills I would normally be popping to prevent cramps.
After lunch was the climb to Lake Berryessa. I’ve been to this spot many times, but never have I been so happy to be here. I was happy because despite still being 35 miles from the end, this was the home stretch, it was mostly just downhill and flat all the way back to Davis.
The final stop was at Lake Solano Park. Here they had sodas. I chugged two cans, and filled my bottle with another. The candy bars boosted my blood sugar a bit more, and V8 again replenished my electrolytes. For the first time since the first rest stop, I was starting to feel energized again.
The awesome thing about Foxy’s is that for pretty much the entire ride you can find a paceline. I found one between every set of stops, but I got dropped by all of them except for the first one that I rode into the first rest stop. I think coming close to bonking so early in the ride killed my endurance. Even after being re-energized at the last stop, I was dropped by my last paceline, which was unfortunate, because several of the riders (in the purple jerseys on the right pic) seemed to be part of an interfaith cycling group that I would’ve liked to have joined. I looked for them at the end of the ride, but I couldn’t find them– they had probably finished dinner and left by the time I got to the end.
I finished the ride in just under six hours. But I can’t help but think that if I had been better prepared, I would’ve done much better. There were good pacelines above 20mph the entire way– if only I didn’t get dropped by then I could’ve finished in close to five hours.
The pasta dinner at the end was tasty, but I didn’t have an appetite. I could barely finish the lasagna and pasta and ended up tossing the salad in the trash. That’s very uncharacteristic of me… usually I’m famished at the end of any exercise.
I thought something was wrong with my body, but after a few hour nap I was back to my old hungry self again. I ended up hitting Fuji’s for a friend’s birthday (happy birthday Fan) and regained most of the calories I had burned on the ride.
So anyways, after many attempts, I have finally finished the 100 mile course of the Foxy’s Fall Classic. And I learned a valuable lesson. Always be prepared, even if you think something’s so easy that you don’t need to prepare. Oh yes and one more lesson. Pride/hubris is a dangerous thing. It led to the downfall of Greek heroes, and it almost led to the downfall of this Korean-American cyclist.