Oh the importance of keeping the body properly fueled. I've watched pro races where someone is leading and near the end they just ran out of energy. You find out later they "forgot to eat" which sounds ridiculous but often you're not "hungry" while on the bike but still must remember to eat.
I don't have such an excuse. I forgot to eat even when I was hungry. My breakfast consisted of a 6 oz. Yoplait yogurt. And that's it.
My normal lunchtime routine is not to eat lunch but to play Ultimate Frisbee instead. Today was beautiful so we played longer than normal. But I have been trying to figure out the nutritional aspect of eating before refereeing soccer, especially when I officiate the double headers that start at 5:30 and 7:00 or 7:30 p.m. On those days I eat a lunch around 2:00 p.m. which seems to be just about right.
Today I should have done the same. But I didn't. I was in a hurry to get some projects finished and I wanted to leave early so I decided to forgo lunch.
Although I tired to leave around 3:30 p.m. by the time it was "wheels down" it was almost 4:00 p.m. I didn't leave early.
My route took me across the 14th Street Bridge, down the Mt. Vernon Trail to the Four Mile Run Trail. The last time I was on Four Mile Run Trail was 2001 when Andrew and I started our ride to Pittsburgh. Then we had to ride through a neighborhood in Shirlington and follow a pedestrian overpass that crossed I-395.
The new Four Mile Run trail actually goes under I-395 which is both shorter and less prone to getting lost. That was pretty cool. And it connects with the W&OD in Shirlington at its terminus.
My average speed won't show it as there are a lot of stops along the way where the W&OD crosses streets and highways, but when I was moving I was going pretty good. In fact, I counted that I passed 21 cyclists and none passed me on this day.
A new route off Guinea Road in Fairfax took me to Olley Lane then to Burke Lake Road and Lee Chapel Road. There I stopped in at The Bike Lane, used the bathroom and refilled my water bottles. I was looking at the Gu but didn't buy any. I should have.
Once I got back on the road I felt it. I was out of fuel. Zapped. Depleted.
I made it to Occoquan and stopped at a coffee shop looking for a candy bar. The best they had was a small bad of Cheetos. I bought them.
Tanyard Hill Road is a narrow curved road out of Occoquan which I still had to climb. It is 0.7 to the top of the road plus another 0.2 of climbing on Old Bridge Road. Almost a mile climb at 5%-5.5% grade. In contrast, our Saturday morning rides feature Bird Neck Road which is only a quarter of a mile but at 7.5%. But neither of these is Mount Washington which is 7.6 miles at 12% grade.
At the top of the climb was a gas station which had an eating area inside. Healthy, I say. I took my bike inside and found a king sized Snickers candy bar. I sat and ate that and refueled just enough. Snickers are awesome! That gave me the boost to safely navigate Minnieville Road and make it home.
Running out of fuel is awful. Such a strange feeling knowing that some days you're still pedaling fast after 50 or 60 miles and today after 30 I was on empty. Lesson learned. Eat lunch before a 40 mile ride.