Sometimes I like to consider myself I fairly hardcore guy. When the goin’ gets tough, most times I’m able to hunker down, grit my teeth and get through it. I might not get there first, I might not get there smilin’, but I’ll get there.

With that said, there are times (albeit few) when a guy just need to come to terms with the fact that it’s time to throw in the towel. A ride a few weeks ago was one of those times.

It all started innocently enough. An email went out from one of the Deadgoats suggesting a roll through some of the more picturesque roads to the south of Calgary on the cx bikes. The weather was supposed to be grand, and I had missed the last group ride so I was eager to get out.

Arriving at Good Earth Café, the weather was a little more ominous than I’d hoped, with low hanging ice fog, and hoar frost covering everything, but on the flip side, it wasn’t that cold, and man was it ever pretty. It was like riding through a world in black and white.

The ride was pretty stellar all round, and after 120k or so we found ourselves in Priddus where we had planned to stop for lunch. I had been feeling good and strong all day. The pace wasn’t too high, and it was fun to just get out and shoot the shit with Craig, Eric, and Thomas.

As we rolled into Priddis we spun our way to a quaint little eatery (isn’t everything quaint in a small town?). Though I wasn’t necessarily cold, it was nice to get inside and warm up. In light of the slightly cooler temperatures, most of the crew opted for a hearty stew – as did I.

Sadly this was the beginning of the end.

I’m not sure where my head was, but generally I tend not to eat heavy-ish foods on a ride. If a lunch stop is deserved, a sandwich is about as heavy as it gets. But it’s just one of those things… I was feeling good and felt there could be no harm in having something warm in my belly. The pace was pretty manageable after all.

Sadly not 10 kilometers outside of Priddis I found myself struggling to keep up… The flats were bearable, but the climbs were torture. I was cramping horribly, I couldn’t even straiten my torso, and, umm… Well, other stuff was going on too ;-)

Thankfully we were going to be passing through Bragg Creek on the way home (only 20k outside of Priddis) – I let the crew know that I would be requiring an immediate pit stop of an undetermined length.

I will spare you the details of what happened next but sufficed to say, I sent the boys on their way home and made a call to the “team car.”

My wife was there 30 minutes later. Thank god.

It was a disappointing and embarrassing way to end a stellar day, but I guess I learned an important lesson, or rather was reminded of a lesson I knew but chose to ignore:

Know yourself.

Regardless of whether you’re racing, training, or just out to hammer with your buddies – listen to your body and learn from your mistakes. Eating lightly was a lesson I learned a long time ago, but I was too relaxed, just going with the flow and suffered the consequences for not realizing the repercussions of my hearty lunch.

Hopefully it’s a long time before I make that error again ;-)