Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Meltdown on Route 89 (aka West Shore of Lake Tahoe)

After bringing Boomer to Sara's house to stay the night, Keith and I drove up to Lake Tahoe Saturday morning so we could take it easy, relax and enjoy ourselves.  It was as windy as all get out in Fremont when we left but just gorgeous when we arrived at the lake.

Wanna feel small?  Sit in a BIG chair!  LOL

We stayed at a really cute place, a couple of blocks from the lake, right at Stateline.  After walking up and down the beach, we walked over to Edgewood Golf Course and admired their beautiful grounds.  


Keith's plan was to golf Sunday while I rode around the lake and he would have loved to play at Edgewood but it's just a little too expensive.

We walked up to Harrah's for dinner at the buffet on the 18th floor.  For the first time this month, I had dessert after dinner.  I figured I'd be burning it off Sunday so why not?!  After dinner we played some cards at the tables and then some slot machines.  

I wanted to be in bed by 10:00 because I had to wake up at 5:30 Sunday morning to get ready for the ride.  My alarm went off and I was up and started the coffee.  I was supposed to meet up with the boys at 7:00 in front of Harrah's.  I asked them to text me when they pulled up since I was just a block away.  They were camping about 12 miles away.  Keith and I went to breakfast at 6:00.  I ate some oatmeal and two poached eggs.  We were back at our room by 6:45 and I finished getting dressed.

My phone rang at 7:03 and the boys said they were AT BREAKFAST and would let me know when they got to Harrah's.  Okay, I could chill for a few minutes.  8:00 I get a text saying they are at Harrah's in the parking lot and they just have to change clothes.  I get to Harrah's at 8:08 and wait.  And WAIT.  AND WAIT!!  Finally at 8:40 they show up.  I'm hungry already and too warm.  I shed my jacket (give it to a boy with a backpack on) and eat a Larabar.  We roll at 8:50.  WTF, boys?!

The ride around Lake Tahoe is 72.3 miles and starts at 6,238 feet elevation.  We take off and immediately I see the bony-ass boys are racing to the first city limit sign - they get points for reaching them first.  On this route, you pass through a lot of little cities.  There was supposed to be another old person  a fourth guy there that is closer to my age and doesn't ride as fast as the young boys but he decided not to show up.  So, of course I'm in the back from the very start.  That's okay though, I decided I was going to go at my own pace and enjoy the views.  At mile 10, Daniel got a flat tire.  A-ha!  Right ahead was our first big climb of the day so I said I would just keep going while the three of them worked on the tire.  I was able to make it up and over before they showed up.

We started heading west toward Tahoe City on Rte 28.  There was a lot more climbing than I had expected.  I totally underestimated this ride.  I figured rollers, these were grades!  Long, steep grades.  I would get in my lowest gear and just climb the best I could.  Most of the time when I got to the top I could see the boys in the distance.  Sometimes they would end up pulling over and waiting for me.  We stopped in Tahoe City for lunch (a sandwich at Safeway).  This was technically the half-way point.

After lunch we got onto Rte 89.  This road was CRAP!  I mean bumpy, deep cracks, uneven.  One time I hit a hole so hard I hurt my wrist.  CRAP, I tell ya.  The climbs started getting more frequent, the temperature was rising, I was starting to feel worn out.  Quickly.  The boys were disappearing quicker and staying out of my view for longer periods of time.  When I did see them, they were off their bikes eating food, waiting for me.  I would catch up and we would roll again.  At one point, I had to refill my bottle with Ryan's water from his backpack. 


I was so thirsty and could not quench my thirst.  I had no fuel that would replace my lost electrolytes.  I didn't bring any Gu or Clif Blocks and I just had water.  I brought Larabars for my fuel instead.  Don't ask me why, I have no clue.  I should have treated this like running an ultra.  I haven't quite figured that out yet. 

So, about 50 miles in there is this very long climb.  The boys are nowhere in sight.  I can't see any of them. I'm pushing as hard as I can.  It's HOT.  I'm thirsty.  I have cotton mouth, that's how bad it was.  My legs are filled with acid, hard as rocks and they hurt.  I pull over and feel like I want to cry.  I use both lanes of the road to get clipped back in and head up the road.  I don't make it much further before I pull over again and just start CRYING my eyes out.  I hurt so bad.  I dial Keith's number.  Knowing that he's on a golf course, I was amazed he picked up.  I tell him I am having a meltdown.  He talks me through it and says he was just getting ready to drive around to that side of the lake to see if he could find us and cheer us on.  That makes me happy.  I pull myself together and start pedalling again.  I look up the road and suddenly a black bear crosses in front of me.  This makes me happy too.  If I didn't have my little meltdown, I would not have seen the bear.  I will admit, I was a little scared to keep riding toward where he went up.  But at that point, maybe a bear attack would have been welcome.  I KID!!

I get to the top of this climb and the boys are pulled over, under a tree.  They cheer as I throw my bike down lay down my bike and tell them what happened.  They explained the final 12 miles of the ride and after a few minutes I am ready to go.  For a little while, I am happily coasting down the road.  I see Keith drive by and I wave at him enthusiastically.  We approach Emerald Bay and I look at the final climb up to Inspiration Point.  I say a quick "Oh, HELL NO!" and pull over.  Keith pulls in a minute or so behind me and I load up my bike and call it a day.  That last climb was steep, narrow and crowded with cars.  If I had to stop, there was no way I could have started up again.  Keith and I pulled over at the top and I said goodbye to the boys and thanked them for their encouragement and patience.  I was asleep in the passenger seat of my car in about 15 minutes! 

As I reflect on the day, I realize mistakes that I made.  I should have drank more and something other than plain water.  I should have eaten a lot more!  And I should have eaten the right stuff.  Live and learn. 

Even though I felt like a horrible cyclist that day, I'm not giving it up!  Tomorrow morning I am taking a female co-worker up Calaveras for her first time on the bike.  

Until later............. 


Looney said...

Sounds like you did well to make it most of the way around. The elevation was certainly a factor too.

I remember the good 'ole days when interval training meant finding a road with lots of dogs running loose. Good thing the bears don't give chase!

Southbaygirl said...

I think you did a fantastic job!!!

And how cool that you saw a Black Bear! That is uber cool!

I am sorry you had a meltdown-I think the same thing would have happened to me too!

Dan said...

I agree with Looney that elevation probably effected you to some degree. Looks like a beautiful place to ride though.

Lily on the Road said...

Wow, that doesn't sound like a very fun day, but good for you to tough it out as much as you did!

Having just ridden a hilly 100K, I can sort of empathise with you, however, your hills sound enormous...thanks goodness the bear was just checking you out and not checking you out for dinner!

LDub said...

what a hard ride jo! with better nutrition you could've handled it. nutrition and someone to actually ride WITH you could've handled it no problem! when you're (basically) riding it alone - that is so hard.

you are awesome. you've come so far as a cyclist!! be proud!

Kristi said...

I'll tell ya....when I was doing my long rides last year, every time at about 75-80 miles I wanted to throw my bike off the side of the road. For some reason that was always the mileage where I hit my lowest point mentally.

But like you say...it was a learning experience. And I think you rocked it!

René said...

Wow - pushing yourself to the point of meltdown while riding alone, that is harsh! The heat can do that. Good job on toughing it out as long as you could and knowing when to stop.

trailmomma said...

aaaah Tahoe! My love, my heart, my soul but yes, it can definitely kick you in the rear when you least expect it.

I have been out of the loop and did not realize you'd be riding AROUND the lake. Yes, it is brutal. The Emerald Bay climbs are brutal. Starting that late is brutal.

But how cool you saw a bear!? In all my years going to Tahoe, I have yet to see one (don't really want to ha).

Great job regardless. You got further than I ever would have under those circumstances!

Katie A. said...

Uh, silly girl! Did you forget about the fact that the air is thinner up there!? It always feels like 10x harder up there - I think you did great! I'm running the Tahoe Marathon on 89 from Tahoe City to Pope Beach! That climb you were describing is one of the hardest for the run! Kudos to you for making it up with a bike!

Maryland Girl aka Michelle said...

I with Penny I think you did a great job! One day I am going to fly myself and my bike out there to ride with you!
Live wildlife on a ride is great! I only saw road kill my last ride.

Anonymous said...

Great job girl! That ride sounds very intense and without the proper fuel I'm sure it was even more so! Great job on getting as far as you did and maybe one day we can tackle the entire beast together :) I'm pretty sure I'd be way behind you!

Aka Alice said...

You are amazing JoLynn. That ride around Tahoe is a bear (no pun intended).

If I know you, you'll do it again someday!

Kristen said...

You did amazing! That ride sounds hard. I know that last part you are talking about and I would be scared to death to try and bike up that hill. Be proud with how far you went!

Cool you got to see the bear too!

Drs. Cynthia and David said...

Way to go on a tough day! I know what you mean about the heat and dehydration. If you don't manage it well, it will suck the energy out of you.

Awesome legs there!


Glenn Jones said...

Ah! Now yesterday's comment you left me has some *real* meaning!

Don't be so hard on yourself JoLynn. Remember - we're talking Tahoe. You have to contend with altitude, which immediately means less humidity. Like when the sun is out - is pretty close to zero. And the roads? Winter just finished (in fact didn't it snow up there a couple weeks ago) so the roads are still all torn up from freeze/thaw.

Still - your photos show the beauty of the area. Thanks for sharing. And is the Harrah's buffet still good? It used to be the best for hundreds of miles. When my parents lived in Sacramento, we'd drive up there for the day. Harrah's was always the final destination!

Irene said...

What a ride! I'll also chime in and say that you did awesome, meltdown and all. (FYI - I probably would have done the same!) Will there be a next time? I love Lake Tahoe. We haven't been there in years. Your pictures brought back a lot of good memories. Thanks for sharing those!

Thanks for the comment on my blog. No, I'm not in that header picture, I took the picture. :)

Iris said...

Sounds like an AWESOME ride! Sure, some things went wrong, but you did great. :) And, seeing a black bear - something many people don't get to do!

inkskin said...

Sometimes there is nothing better than a good meltdown to recalibrate myself. You managed to recover and did great. You are strong and did what you could on that day. Way to go!

I am certainly inspired by what you accomplish. :)