I have one month to go before my tour around southwestern Ontario. As part of my training, I cycled to the Pinery this past weekend (July long weekend). It was a thing. It was intensely hot…30 something plus the humidex. And I was fighting a headwind the whole way—which slowed me down and dehydrated me. So that was nice. I made the 130 km journey in just under seven hours of peddling. It was definitely a mental game, but I prevailed. Taking a dip in Lake Huron was definitely a refreshing reward.
Cycling back to KW from the Pinery didn’t go so well, though. It was hot again and I was fighting an even stronger headwind. It was so demoralizing. And traffic was intense. I made it half-way then called it quits. A very kind and generous friend I was camping with picked me up and drove me the rest of the way back to KW. I’m chalking this up as just a bad training day.
I learned some things on this trip:
- Hydration isn’t as simple as just drinking water. There’s a balance between drinking sports drinks and water. The received wisdom is that drinking too much
water during intense exercise can mess with your body’s chemistry in a bad way. So drinking liquids with electrolytes is crucial…but there’s only so much Gatorade that my stomach can handle.
- Also…buying a lot of Gatorade at service stations will break the bank fairly quickly. So I think I’m going to carry Gatorade powder with me and just buy water from now on…and mix my own drinks.
- I will need to be much more dynamic in my planning and goal setting. I must be prepared for bad days of touring. And I must learn not to beat myself up over them. Cycling conditions won’t always be ideal. I won’t always be at the top of my game. Bad days will happen, and I will need to be dynamic in my goals and planning when those days come. Maybe this means cycling 50 km instead of 120. Maybe this means taking an unscheduled day off. Maybe it means hitching a ride to avoid a thunderstorm. Whatever it looks like, I must be willing to adjust my goals and change my plans accordingly.
- Training for a tour is very different from training for an Ironman race. I’ve been training…but I feel out of my depths. It was easy to train for the Ironman: I downloaded a training program from some website, and then just followed it. Easy as that. But it’s one thing to train for a really intense day of physical exertion…it’s quite another thing to train for days and days of physical exertion.