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.
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.