Sunday, July 1, 2012

Biking - Tour de Duanesburg

In honor of the opening road stage of the Tour de France, I got out today for a long ride of my own.  Of course, my 46-mile total was much less than the racers' 123 miles, and my 2,547 feet of total climbing paled in comparison to their 9,900 feet.  But I had several good climbs on a warm morning, and no cramping issues, so it was a good ride.

After I rode the flat streets out of Schenectady, I came to the bottom of the 7-mile climb up NY-159 to Mariaville.  I know this one pretty well, having climbed it dozens of times over the years.  The key is to just keep spinning along in a comfortable gear, and enjoy the brief respites in gradient whenever they appear. 

In Mariaville, I picked up a potassium-rich bottle of OJ at the store before continuing on my way (each bottle = 2 bananas).  The gentle downhill to NY-30 was somewhat nullified by a westerly headwind, but was pleasant nonetheless.  Then came the next climb, a shorter but steeper one-miler that was over before I knew it.  The long 3-mile cruise down into Esperance made it well worth the effort. 

At the Stewarts at NY-30 and US-20, I downed another OJ and half of an energy bar, and then started the last big climb out of Esperance, about 2.4 miles in two parts.  The legs were still feeling good, with no signs of any cramping.  Turning off of US-20 onto Suits Road east of Duanesburg, it was a screaming 40mph downhill down Darrow Rd. to Pangburn Rd., and a relatively flat ride the rest of the way.

I think I finally have the perennial cramping issues figured out.  It's the potassium.  I've never eaten enough fruit, so I'm probably always starting the day at a disadvantage, and it degenerates from there.  On my cross-country trip in 2010, I drank many OJs every morning as I stopped at stores biking through small towns, and never cramped once.  By pure dumb luck, I was managing the potassium and didn't even realize it.  Now I do.

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