Don’t race and drive

Racing your bike can make you stupid. Literally. Particularly after a hard race or ride.

Sometimes after a race I’ll unlock my car, then spend 10 minutes looking for the key again, only to find that I was holding it in my hand. I’ve come home from long, hard rides and then gotten into arguments over whether the temperature was good for riding.

It must be something about low blood sugar and brain function (and a quick google search would appear to confirm that).

Which is why I usually have a can of Coke ready to drink after a race.

But sometimes I forget, or I wait too long after the race is over. Or, like yesterday, when the promoter schedules awards for 2 hours after the race finish, and you are waiting around and don’t think to start eating something. That’s a bad idea when you have a 4-hour drive home from Michigan after racing for 80 miles.

I was driving along in a bit of a daze, with the cruise control on, absorbed in a “This American Life” podcast. At one point, I half-recognized that the mile marker numbers don’t make sense (driving 23 South to Toledo, they count down to 1, and these were counting up). But in my daze, it just didn’t register. So I kept driving.

After a while longer, I came a construction zone, had to cancel the cruise control and start paying attention. I realized that I did not recognize the exits. I pulled the GPS out of the glove box, turned it on, and saw that I was on my way towards Chicago. I’d driven 25 miles in the wrong direction. I think the road split in Ann Arbor, and I hadn’t even noticed.

Action #1 was to turn around. Action #2 was to get some food and then caffeine.

It was a long ride home.

Side Note:
But it was at least a long drive home in a new Jetta Sportwagen TDI, which I’ve concluded is the perfect bike racing car.

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5 Comments

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5 responses to “Don’t race and drive

  1. Jim

    I can’t count how many times things have happened to me. The brain is literally on hold.
    My issue is always that I am too tired to eat but I want to pound the fluids down. Enough fluids and there is no room for food AND I feel bloated.
    By the time I want to eat, I am in “goofy-land”. Nothing makes sense, I am short- fused, and I feel lousy. Then I wonder why I do this to myself?
    Yep, been there and done that.

    • Brian

      glad I’m not the only one. That makes me feel a bit better … especially the short-fused part. Couple of weeks ago, after doing a race then riding an extra 2 hrs, I got in an argument with my daughter over … nothing I can even remember now.

  2. I am proud to say that I always make complete sense after extreme physical activity. Always.

    • Brian

      Remember when we used to do that crazy “Belgian split” for prize money? I could always tell how hard the race was by my lack of ability to do the simple math to split the prize money.

    • Jim

      Oh, I make sense also. At least to myself!
      Everyone around me thinks I have lost my mind though.
      I suspect they are closer to correct!

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