Five Miles of Hell

Date: February 27th 2017

From/To: Jacksonville FL/Lake City FL

Distance: 90 miles

Conditions: Mostly sunny, low 80s and wind in all directions!

Today’s Top Tracks

The Race – Instrumental by Syndicate Sound Labs

Hope – Tim Legend

Turn Around – Acoustic ­­– Iration

Melissa – The Allman Brothers Band

 The wind was at my back leaving Jacksonville Beach. For a while I was feeling invincible, confident, and determined to finish the first day on a strong note. I left around 9:30, after a final breakfast with mom and Aunt Tracy. Nothing can describe the feeling of the first few pedal strokes on the road. The day finally came and was feeling great about it. Things got interesting when I realized I took a wrong first turn not once, BUT TWICE, before I finally found the right road to take me westward. After adding an unneeded five miles onto my distance today, I tried to laugh it off and remain positive. After all this was the first day and I was already getting lost, how unexpected. I took Beach Blvd all the way to downtown Jacksonville, and crossed the Acosta Bridge over the St. Johns River. Shortly after that I ran into Route 90, the retired east/west panhandle interstate that offered me shoulder room and more freedom to ride without so many trucks and cars on the road. This of course is compared to the modernly popular Route 10. The best part of the ride was a 15-mile bike path that took me from Jacksonville all the way to Baldwin FL.

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I was biking at my own pace when another biker caught up with me. His name was Jamie, and he turned out to be an athletic trainer (how lucky am I). We biked together for the entire distance of that bike path, and Jamie, after learning about my bike trek, was a wealth of knowledge.

His four rules:

  • Rehydrate – Drink 12 oz. of water every half hour. Once you feel depleted, it’s too late, and your body has gone into recovery mode, leading to dehydration and mental fatigue. It’s better to remain ahead of depletion, I certainly learned this lesson today after only drinking 30 oz. in my first three hours. I won’t be making that mistake again..
  • Replenish – Your body functions based on what you feed it. For long term, high endurance events like this, protein intake needs to be the main focus during recovery hours, and carbohydrates serve as instant energy along the ride each day.
  • Motion Management – How you treat your body physically off the bike is just as important as the biking itself. Staying loose and well stretched will help the body to recover quicker, and tolerate the long term endurance on a regular basis.
  • Sleep – I had no problem with being told I need 9+ hours of sleep a night. Sleep is the reboot for mental strength you need when doing long term endurance. Everybody needs more sleep; most people wait until they feel they’re not getting enough to do something about it. In all honesty, you probably need more sleep, even if you don’t feel tired.

In summary Jamie told me that this is a great opportunity to not only raise money for a good cause, but also a valuable time for me to learn how to take care of my body. Jamie has trained many athletes and knows from personal experience the value of good health, he told me that at 23 years old I’m taking for granted being young, and he’s right. There will come a time when that’ll no longer be the case, and I’d like to start taking care of myself now so I don’t have to worry about that later on. At the end of the bike path, we parted ways, and I continued for another 50 miles to Lake City. Everything went well until I met what will soon be a familiar enemy of mine, the headwind. It’s called the never-ending hill by some, it’s hated by all who have felt its unwelcomed resistance. I was hoping it would die down, but I faced it most of the way to Lake City. Along the way I stopped at a cool monument, honoring The Battle of Olustee. I wont get into details, but this battle was a huge win for the Confederate Army in the Civil War, and it took place right where I was standing. It’s interesting to see a memorial for a Confederate Victory, being from the Northeast where the Union Army is praised for their victory over the Confederates; but anyway that’s enough history for now. It was cool to come across something like this unintentionally, I can imagine I will have many more encounters like this in the future.

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I made it to the east side of Lake City, and I can now finally explain the title of this blog. I was about 5 miles away from completing my 90-mile day on the bike. You would think that 5 miles of 90 would be a breeze, but that simply wasn’t the case here. I felt like there was some external force working against me for those last 5 miles. My legs stopped working, my bike felt like I was dragging something from behind it, and I had lost the mental strength to suck it up and finish strong. I had to get off my bike every mile of that 5-mile stretch. Call it what you want, but I blame my misguided start for this struggle. It may be a mental game, maybe it was simply the last 5 miles kicking in. I finally made it to my hotel, but that last leg took a lot out of me. I hung around the hotel for the most part that evening, had a steak at Texas Roadhouse, and was soon off to bed after that. Tomorrow will be the real test. Another high mileage day, only this time I’m worn from the previous day’s trek. The exciting part of this journey is that every day will be different, and as I start each day I will have no clue what will be in store for me that day. I doubt there will be many more times in my like that will be so unpredictable. Regardless tomorrow provides plenty of challenges already. We’ll see how it goes, come back tomorrow to find out.

Enjoy The Ride,

-Matt

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