Next Up: The Big 400K

TDR has been pretty quiet during the lull between the D.C. Randonneurs 300K two weeks ago and tomorrow’s hilly 400K, from the same start in Frederick, Md. Work has played havoc with my free time, and it’s been a priority to get as much sleep as possible to keep rando-fatigue at bay. We’ve been keeping our legs loose with short rides around town, but nothing long, and it has felt good.

On our way to the Bike to Work rest stop in Arlington.

Our schedules have allowed us to ride the four spring 200K and 300K club ACP brevets so far, with the 400K and 600K ahead. But the extra rides have also required us not to burn the candle on both ends, which would have us showing up burned out for those long brevets. They are key events in our preparation for PBP, not just to qualify, but also to mentally prepare for the long days that make a 1200K grand randonnee a true endurance challenge.

MG and I have no specific plan for our ride tomorrow other than to stay fed, hydrated, cheerful/caffeinated, and moving. A dedicated FoodQuest on this ride this long is critical.

I was reminded of this fact at the 300K. I tried to get through solely on home-made sandwiches, supplemented with convenience store chips, Gatorade and energy snacks from the Back Pocket Cafe. The result was a spectacular bonk at the end of the ride. I started shivering in the Hampton Hotel lobby afterwards and it took a hot shower, food and a very public nap to get me back on my feet. I tend to push hard to finish brevets and usually need some immediate recovery time, but my post-ride disintegration was worse than usual — a sign I did not eat enough.

Tomorrow I intend to get many more calories through our tried-and-true method of sitting down and eating meals. This route sets up well in that regard, with options to eat at Sheetz convenience stores, the sublime Shepherdstown Sweet Shop in West Virginia, and Kane’s Subs in Newville, Pa. Unlike the 300K, there’s no outrunning a bonk on a 250-mile ride!

We’ll report our results on Sunday. Until then, we wish our fellow randonneurs at least a few hours sleep before we roll at 4 a.m. tomorrow, and a very good ride.

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