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Sado-Masochistic, is what it is.
My son Jon and I took it very slow for his first riding of it and my first this year, and I declare, I think that's at least as hard as pushing a little harder because you're out there longer.
We both made the Wall. Except I cheated.... stopped after the first 3 preliminary hills to get my breath before I tackled it. Jon rode straight up all 4.
I bonked halfway up Maynardier Ridge (the last of the nasty hills, about mile 44) and had to sit and rest a little before continuing. It's the first time ever that I haven't made it up that hill. I was surprised because I'd just gone up all the other hills ,including "Killer Miller" Hill , without any distress. I took a couple salt tablets (cheapies from the drugstore) and a breather and then walked the rest of the hill. Jon gave me a Hammer Gel. (I'd been using a concoction of peanut butter and honey.) A few miles later I still was feeling bad, hamstrings and calves were trying to tie square knots, and Jon gave me an Endurolyte. He was carrying freebies from the Gran Fondo. I was just stupid, is all, and didn't plan right. I know better.
Or else I'm just getting too old for this.
About 15 min after the gel and lyte tab, I felt better, and by the last 5 miles I felt normal. When we got back to the cars, Jon put on running shoes and ran for 10 min, while I drank recovery drink, guarded his bike, and waited to see what I'd come back as in my next life. Guess I'll have to wait for another day to find that out, though.
I feel OK now. But I'm done w/ homebrew gels and drugstore salt tablets. Put out the money, honey, and put the hammer down.
5 hours for the 56 miles = 11.1mph. Bleah. I need 12mph to make the cutoff, which I did handily last year by 10 minutes.
There are still 2 months left.