24/240 – What really happened?

It’s 6am, I’ve been pedalling for an hour and a half since my four hour nap to get over the last 120 miles.
The suns coming up, but my hearts starting to sink for I’ve entered the valley of doom.

I’m tired, fatigued and simply not getting the fuel back in.

My legs start to feel heavy and I’m reduced to a crawl… I’ve bonked.

Do you ever feel like the wheels have come off?? 

I can’t lie, I knew the train had already left the station when I headed out at 04:40 after 4 hours sleep post my first 120 miles but I had to try, I had to fight one more time.

Me, heading out early morning for the next shift before the bonk!

Unfortunately, it is disappointing for me as at this stage I shouldn’t be making these silly mistakes- I completely messed up my nutrition, I didn’t eat enough from the word go and now I was paying for it.

There’s no excuse at this point in my training, but it is tough to eat when you are just so focused on riding and churning the miles out, especially when you are on your own and fatigued, being out for these long hours you tend to lose the plot a bit, I like to call it ‘bike brain’.

As you can imagine, I was absolutely distraught when I headed in at 07:30 after a total of 160 miles. Frustrated to say the least! I do these long rides in training (around 100 miles) regularly and i know when somethings not right.

If there’s any positive to take away, it’s that it wasn’t my legs, my knees or my lungs that gave out, I feel put up a fairly good fight mentally too, but the fact of the matter is I just didn’t put the fuel in the tank!

Anyone who knows me will know that I don’t really learn by listening, I learn by doing and experiencing things myself.

This was one of those times and probably the biggest ‘bonk’ I’ve ever encountered.

Lesson learnt. Chapter closed. Move on.

It will be done.

Incase you missed the action….

What is 24/240?

To keep my training interesting my coach and I come up with milestone sessions to keep me focused and give me targets to aim for, so effectively it is just a training ride for me. The challenge is to cover 240 miles in the space of 24 hours.
This is a really great practice ride for me, as it gives me the experience of many things including:

  • Being in the saddle for long hours (longer than my usual training)
  • Nutrition and getting feeding right on the bike
  • Coping with mental fatigue as well as physical
  • Logistics – route planning, timings etc
  • Night riding (super fun!)

So the plan for the first attempt was to ride from 14:00 – 23:00 covering 120 miles, then sleep 00:00 – 04:00, ride 04:30 – 14:00. This includes around 2 hours of stoppage time – time for stopping at the lights, changing clothes, stretching, eating etc…
I chose a 40 mile loop that I would cover three times per session, coming in on the second loop for a short break for food etc..

24 hours sounds like a long time, but in reality after all these miles it doesn’t leave much time for anything else!

I will be attempting this again soon, with a slightly different strategy and LOTS more eating!!

To be continued….