Looking Back

It was just over a year ago that I was stuffing my jersey pockets, not knowing what I’d need or crave on a ride over fifty miles. I’d plan, sort, bake the day before, package, rearrange, ponder, unpack, and then pack way more than I’d ever need while imagining a confidence I could only fantasize. My pockets were so heavy they’d clunk on the back of my saddle, then sag and swing when I stood up on a climb.

Saturday morning we lounged around with coffee and we both ate only half our bowls of oatmeal because it was the consistency of paste. I wrapped four dates each in a strip of wax paper, made a PB2 and honey sandwich on raisin bread, grabbed a tube of Hammer Perpetuem Solids and one Hammer Espresso Love Gel, drank a dose of Hammer Fully Charged*, and we got out the door for the ride like another day at the office.

Riding is an excellent lesson in how to live in the moment. I ate my sandwich at about mile thirty-five with the thought that it might be too early, but I’d been hungry for the last half-hour and the tip I learned when I first started riding in the early 80’s still hangs with me: “Eat before you’re hungry and drink before you’re thirsty.” The thought always reminds me that it’s not necessary to save nutrition for later, rather it’s essential to prepare for later by taking care of energy now.  It’s a completely different mindset than that which we follow during a non-riding work day.

My energy was stable the entire 77.04 miles. I didn’t bonk; I didn’t even droop. I munched on my dates and three solids throughout the day, and I didn’t long for anything more. When I arrived home I had nothing left in my pockets but one optimistically half-empty tube of Perpetuem Solids.

That evening we volunteered for the second consecutive year at the finish of the Central Coast Double Century. I kid you not, the second rider (eleventh overall, I think) who rolled up after we started our post was plastered with the Hammer logo. I asked him if he worked for Hammer or just liked their stuff. Duh…shows you how sheltered I am. He said Hammer sponsors him. We chatted about what products we liked and used, and he mentioned that sometimes he thinks Fully Charged is almost too good because it can make him go out too fast and he’ll suffer later in a ride. Not only did that make complete sense having used Fully Charged enough to know how great it is, but it was another example of how imperative it is for us to stay alert to our energy in the moment.

We talked of how much we value the knowledge of Steve Born, and then he brought up exactly what I’d been pondering for this blog a few hours before. He said, “I haven’t talked to Steve in a long time. Once I figured out what worked for me, I just use it.”

Ain’t that cool.

*I am in no way sponsored by Hammer. I’m not being paid or otherwise compensated for touting their products. They just work for me and part of the impetus for this blog is to share what does.

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