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Wild and Wonderful: Hilly Billy Recap

/ Brad Flowers

I am nearly 40. I have 2 kids. I think bicycle racing might be a mid-life crisis.

Now, to be clear, I have been riding bikes all my life. I grew up on the edge of a cornfield in suburban Indiana traveling around the state to BMX races. I went on road rides with my father. I have been commuting to work since college.

This is different, though. It started as stress management. It felt good to feel fitter. I rode further. But, with family as the priority and work second, riding needed to fit in the gaps and they weren’t very big.

That is when I first thought about training. Really for the first time since high school football. I wanted to ride fast, but didn’t have a ton of time. I consulted friends who have been racing, I looked at on-line training plans, I used mobile tools available to piece something together.

I felt good. I wanted a challenge so I entered a gravel race. I made it through and entered another. This time I thought I would try to “race.” I destroyed myself. I just felt horrible.

I knew if I was ever going to do this again I would need to think about nutrition. A big breakfast and a couple of water bottles wasn’t going to cut it. A friend recommended Sword. I liked the taste and the science made sense.

So, enter the Hilly Billy Roubaix. The conditions were tough. It rained for the first 2.5 hours. In northern West Virginia you can expect a few things: it will either be steep uphill or down, if by chance it is flat it will be filled with water, and the road conditions are certain to change around the next corner. Pavement turns to potholes, to gravel, to oily mud, to car-sized mud puddles. And back.

The state lived up to its moniker. It was certainly Wild and Wonderful.

I pushed myself a little further than I thought I could. I met my personal goals. And, at the end I was smiling and felt good. I am marginally fitter than the last race, but not much. I attribute the difference to a solid hydration and nutrition plan. And, that plan was very simple. Drink Sword.  

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