The 100 K route of the Tour des Lakes https://www.tourdeslakes.com/
runs right by my house, so for some time I've had it in mind to sign
up for the 100 K and sign out at Checkpoint Three. Finally this year
I noticed it in time to plan, and was capable of riding fifty K --
that's only thirty miles. (The brochure I got at the start point says
that Checkpoint Three is thirty-eight miles, still within my range if
I stop and rest a few times.)
The last time I went on an organized ride was before the League
Against Bike-riding realized that the September Century and the
National Rally were attracting the wrong kind of new members.
I prepared for the September Century by training all summer -- about
half-way around one of my fifty-mile loops there was a little store
that sold ice-cream candy bars and real churned buttermilk.
Preparation for the Tour des Lakes consisted entirely of making tea
and "switchel", rebuilding the insulation on my left pannier, filling
it with ice, beverages, and food -- and making maps.
In the twentieth century, when you showed up for an organized ride,
you were given a photocopy of a hand-typed cue sheet and a hand-drawn
map, usually on letter paper, but sometimes on legal paper. Only the
roads that intersected the route were marked, but all roads were
labeled, and if you missed a turn, you could easily find the nearest
part of the route with the aid of your county map.
Ah, yes, excellent county maps could be purchased at any bookstore
So when I decided to attend the Tour des Lakes, I expected to be
handed a usable map at check-in. None the less, I thought it wise to
print out the relevant portions of the map on the website
and slip the sheets between the layers of my insulated pannier.
So I tried, tried, and tried to load the image into Open Office Writer
so that I could crop it to the parts of the map that I meant to use.
Nothing worked. Much, much later I realized that I could take
screenshots. My PDF reader doesn't do much, but it does allow me to
scroll around in an image.
However, the decorative jpeg on the link to the PDF could be blown up
to a usable size, and I loaded that into Writer and printed out three
overlapping portions. The street names on the jpeg were illegible,
but I do have a county map. Since these were emergency-back-up
copies, I didn't bother to write notes on the maps to show the street
names. I could, after all, easily do that while resting in the shade,
should it turn out that I needed them.
I suspect that the page designer should have used a GIF instead of a
JPG, since all edges are sharp. When in doubt, there is a very easy
way to find out whether JPG or GIF works better: save as one, re-open
the original file, save as the other. The *smaller* file will have
the better image. JPG and GIF are both compressions, and when a
compression is struggling, it doesn't compress as much.
I also suspect that I was expected to download the PDF to my
smartphone, but buying one just for one ride would be ludicrous -- and
if I did have one, the only way I could carry it would be buried in a
pannier, which would render it useless. Moreover, though smartphones
are too big to carry in a pocket, the screens look very tiny to one
who complains when reading maps on a monitor that's fifteen inches
high and a foot wide. Far better to print out snippets that I can
carry in my notebook pocket.
But the route was so well marked that I didn't consult my maps until
it became obvious that I had missed Checkpoint Two.
This was a great mistake.
When I passed the Pizza King, I reflected that I should go in and have
lunch -- but surely Checkpoint Two is just around the corner!
And it was -- the *previous* corner. Comparing the route map to a
Google map does not rule out the possiblity that Checkpoint Two was
*in* Pizza King.
Many factors contributed to my bout of heat exhaustion, but spending
half an hour in a cool place, eating food and drinking tea, would have
countered all of them.
When I set out with only a snack bar for breakfast, I figured that I'd
be eating early and often along the way -- but loss of appetite is an
early sign of heat stress. When I saw the food vendor setting up to
serve lunch after the ride, I should have asked whether he could sell
me some *now* -- he seemed prepared for those who started early on
short rides to roll in any minute -- but finding out which way I
should turn at the start point seemed more important.
I should mention here that there were only two flaws in the route
marks. The first route marks were not quite visible from the starting
point, and there should have been an extra confirmation arrow where
the route turned onto State Route 5. Each flaw caused only a minute
All in all, the people who stuck down all those arrow-shaped bits of
tape deserve a round of applause.
In general, the ride was well organized, with water and snacks at
checkpoints, and a man in a car checked on me to make sure I had
enough water. "I'm all set", I said, but I wasn't *drinking* it.
Not long after that the ride organizer called to check on why I wasn't
accounted for and, knowing that I'd not make it to Checkpoint Three
before the ride ended at four o'clock (it was already after && and I
ride very slowly), I told him to strike me off his list of people he
was responsible for.
Not long after that, I looked at the hill ahead and stopped to change
into walking shoes. And few miles after that, I called my spouse to
come and get me. I was amused to note that we rolled out of the
driveway of the man who had lent me an oak tree to wait for him under
at precisely four O'clock. By the time he got there, I was pretty
much recovered -- partly because my host brought me an iced-tea glass
of ice water. (I still had a bit of switchel to pour out of my bottle
onto the roots of the oak before we loaded the bike into our truck.)
3 October 2019
Looking into the causes of the my exaustion:
Writing this post has finally wandered back to the top of my list of
things to do.
On shorter rides on cooler days, I pay a *lot* of attention to getting
enough water. I even play games such as pouring a few ounces of ice
water (from my insulated pannier) into a bottle and making a point of
drinking it before it gets warm.
So why didn't I on the Tour des Lakes? I think it was lots of factors
The latest time I could sign in for the ride was about the time I
normally get out of bed. This was not as big a factor as disturbed
sleep was when I got up at three in the morning to ride a double
century and didn't realize that I was ill until the following day, but
I should have compensated for it.
Memorable ride, most of it spent in the Glendale Inn. I remember that
name well, because after I realized (at 125 miles) that my leg had had
it and rode back to the nearest phone, I called the number on my map
only to discover that I was no longer in the territory of the sheriff
I was supposed to reach. By the time the message was relayed first to
the correct sheriff, then to the ride leader, "Glendale Inn" had
morphed into "in Glendale", and it was morning before they found me.
And me dressed in shorts and a sweat-wet T-shirt in the chill of the
night. When my husband showed up, I took him inside and introduced
him to the crowd.
Monday, 7 October 2019
Another factor was that in my hurry to get to the start/finish by
nine, I skipped my morning exercises and my breakfast was a candy bar
(labeled "protein bar") eaten in the truck. At the time, I thought
that I'd eat early and often along the way, but I was too distracted
to buy food at the start point, and the next place food was available
was Checkpoint One. There was a large spread of snacks, but it wasn't
a sit-down meal and I didn't eat much. I *did* top off my water
bottles -- which weren't nearly as empty as they should have been. I
didn't notice that there were no porta-potties until thinking back
after the ride. At seventy-nine, this should have been a matter of
great interest to me. (I presume that there was a restroom within
walking distance. Google Maps suggests that the parking lot the
checkpoint was set up in was on the edge of a park.)
There were lots of places to eat in North Webster -- at least I
noticed a Pizza King -- but I wanted to stop at Checkpoint Two first,
and didn't have the sense to go back when I realized that I had missed
it. And by then, I was out in the country again. And I had no urge
to dig the meal bars out of my insulated cooler. I was probably
already stupid at that time.
I lay down in the shade a couple of times before flaking out, but not
until *after* I started feeling tired. And I wouldn't have drunk
fluids during these rests if I hadn't felt the need to down my two
bottles of cold tea.
I'm sure I'd have had more to say in fewer words if I'd gotten at this
post in a timely manner.
Monday, 14 October 2019
And now I've finally gotten around to spell-checking and sending it.
joy beeson at comcast dot net