“I did my first metric for the year at the end of January with two other guys. It was a warm day for the season, so a friend who’s usually more of a roadie wanted to retrace the Lakeville-Milltown-Lakeville route from last year. (http://lakeville-milltown-lakeville.blogspot.com/) Since I’m usually up for absurdity, I said sure, why not — let’s ride 80+ miles of gravel in January!
I had bought a Garmin 510 the day before, so this was a perfect chance to test it out, right?! The manual stressed the importance of testing out the device and directions options prior to a “real” ride, but I couldn’t be bothered with this warning. I found a copy of the route from the year prior, created the Garmin file, and uploaded it. This took me waaaaaay longer than it should have. Note that all of this setup was happening early on Saturday morning before the coffee had sufficiently woken me up. The next challenge was getting the Garmin mount on my tiny handlebars, which were already crammed full between the other cycling computer and the extra brake levers. The Garmin got mounted eventually with much swearing, rendering one of the additional brake levers useless and taking up entirely too much space. The Garmin was at an angle but we thought it was ok.
We rolled into the WalMart parking lot in Lakeville behind schedule and cranky, got our stuff ready, and then headed out. I was completely unfamiliar with the route, as was the second person, and the third is completely direction deficient as a default. The angled Garmin screen, combined with my inability to use the device properly, resulted in a series of missed turns. Nothing worse than cruising along in the groove and then hear the Garmin beeping angrily, telling you to turn around. Eventually I got my Garmin navigational privileges revoked and one of the boys took over, placing it on his handlebars.
Once I wasn’t the person navigating, I kept getting dropped as the boys didn’t “need” me any more for directions. I was having a rough time, like I usually do during the first half of a ride. (One riding buddy joked that it takes me about 50 miles of a century to warm up – he’s not wrong.) I eventually caught up to the boys when they stopped to wait for me. I rolled up, threw my gloves on the ground, and generally had a tantrum. I had officially bonked and lost my marbles. They agreed to ride SLIGHTLY slower til we reached the halfway point.
At 40 miles we hit a Kwik Trip in Faribault. Thank the lord. I chugged a coffee and ate multiple donuts. The sugar and caffeine hit my system and I was off like a ROCKET! I’m sure my odd mid-ride energy boosts are puzzling to other riders. How I go from half dead to riding along and singing is a mystery! We saw the tracks of other bikers that day but didn’t end up catching anyone.
Towards the end, another buddy on the ride started bonking. The gravel had gone from mostly frozen to soft and occasionally muddy and sticky. He pulled over and asked what I had left for food. I opened my bag and showed him – he ate everything I had left, much to my dismay. I spent the end of the ride hanging on as the boys charged forward. We made it back to the parking lot in one piece, amazed at our January accomplishment! After the ride I got my initiation to Old Country Buffet, and when you’re that hungry anything and everything tastes amazing.”
Nicely done, Melissa! It’s amazing what a mid ride boost of caffeine and carbs can do. We hope you get that Garmin figured out, I think most of us have been there!