Hot Corner: ‘Sign up now, suffer later’
By Rich Palzewic
I won’t take credit for the quote in the headline, but I can’t think of five more accurate words under the circumstances.
One of my good friends recently told me that quote after I told her I was contemplating signing up for a 12-hour bicycle ride at the Elkhart Lake Road America racecar track.
Last year, I did an article on Cohen Sylvester, a then-freshman at Bay Port High School, after he completed the event.
I thought it would be cool to do, but I didn’t give it much more thought.
Fast forward almost a year, and I’ve lost more than 40 pounds, have been doing group rides twice a week and was looking for something to keep me motivated.
My friend, who has done several long-distance running events, said, “Rich, sign up now, suffer later.”
Meaning, sign up and worry about the consequences at a later time.
It gave me the motivation to register later that night.
I even sent her a screenshot to prove my entry.
The 12 Hours of Road America begins at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 14, and goes through the night until 7 a.m. the next morning.
The course is partially lit, but it’s still a requirement to have a headlight and a taillight.
It’s not a race but a personal challenge.
The course is approximately four miles in length, and your goal is to ride as many laps/miles as you can in 12 hours, stopping/riding when you want.
My longest distance logged in one day is 120 miles.
One time, I biked from my childhood house in Wallace, Mich., to Marinette, Wis., did a 75-mile tour and road back home after the event.
I know the best way to train for a 12-hour ride seems simple: Ride your bike.
Yes, it’s important to log heavy miles to prepare, but speed work and rest are also crucial.
You don’t want to go into the event with a tired body, so I’ve been riding four or five times a week with plenty of rest in between.
My group rides serve as my speed workouts, while the rest of the days I take off the bike or ride easy.
I’m not going to give up pickleball or the other things I love.
In preparation, I plan to do two or three century rides, maintain my weight and not put pressure on myself.
It’s a challenging ride, yes, but it’s also not a race – I have to keep telling myself that.
I’m hoping to get into a nice group with other cyclists and keep a good pace, riding as long as I can to begin.
If you recall from last week’s Hot Corner article, drafting behind other cyclists conserves about 30% of your energy.
One time in Rhinelander, I participated in a YMCA Cycle-a-thon to raise funds for Strong Kids, and they didn’t have any spinning bikes available for me.
So, I volunteered to ride the entire four hours on my bike rollers and completed 77 miles.
If you don’t know what bike rollers are, Google it – they’re crazy.
Yes, I’ve fallen off my rollers before and crashed inside my house.
What’s my goal for the 12-hour ride?
I have a number in mind, but for now, I’ll keep that between me, myself and I.
I also have to make sure to eat and drink properly.
As soon as the ride starts, I must also start eating and drinking.
To combat stomach discomfort while doing ultra-long events, you shouldn’t consume more than 300 or 350 calories per hour.
If you consume more than that, your body isn’t efficient enough to process the extra calories, and you’ll most likely have digestive issues – meaning, plenty of trips to the bathroom.
There was once a famous Green Bay Packers head coach – Vince Lombardi – who said, “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”
I like that quote, but I change the wording to, “Fear makes cowards of us all.”
Fear of failure, fear of hurting myself, fear of the unknown and fear of the event will force me to log miles, even when I don’t want to.
I reserved a pit crew spot, so maybe someone reading this would be interested in helping and experiencing the 12 Hours of Road America with me as a pit crew member and having fun.
Activities are going on throughout the day/night.
You don’t have to sign up for such an epic event to feel satisfaction.
My point is, goals give you something to strive for.
Do a 5-kilometer run, complete a bike tour or start smaller – go for a walk.
Remember, “Sign up now, suffer later.”
As always, thanks for reading.
Editor’s note: To read another Hot Corner article from Rich, CLICK HERE.