Tuesday, August 16, 2011


Today's time was worse, even, than last Saturday's. Two hrs 11 minutes for the 20.8 miles that I've been timing. Saturday I rode it in 2:08.

About 3 miles into the timed course I felt I would surely beat Saturday's time, and maybe even hit that elustive 10mph average. The hills during those first three miles are the toughest in the whole course, and I took them so easily I got cocky. After I crested the hill and started down, I noticed that I was up to 22mph and still pedaling.

That's significant. I don't remember ever having done that, before. Usually while coasting down a hill, I've had to stop pedaling around 20mph because I couldn't pedal fast enough to feel resistance, and my feet would come off the pedals. So this -- pedaling at 22mph -- made me feel that my skills and coordination were improving. And it must have meant that I was riding faster.

But three or four miles later, during the relatively flat stretch, I started running out of steam, and although I drank my Muscle Milk and kept pushing Gator Ade and water, I never fully recovered that feeling of strength I had had at the beginning.

My friend Leslie had coached me to hold back at the start, and turn it on at the end. And I should have. But I just didn't quite know how to hold back on the first three hilly miles. And once I discovered I could keep my feet on the pedals at 22mph, I couldn't resist seeing how fast I could go on the downhill stretch. Yeah, I was immature. I lacked self-control. No two ways about it.

And my logs indicate that I was, indeed, riding faster for those first 5.6 miles than I had three days ago. On Saturday I had covered the distance in 37 minutes. Today, I did it in 35. So bad strategy was probably at least partly to blame for my poor showing.

I also think insufficient recovery time should come in for part of the blame. I felt good, this morning, as I started on my warm-up run, but I didn't feel eager. I think another day of rest would have made a difference. After all, Saturday's ride was after three days rest. Today's was after only two.

When am I going to grow up?

So what now? Only one thing seems certain: I would be foolhardy to test myself again without three days' rest.

Thank you, all for the comments you took the trouble to write in the past few days. I really appreciate them, and hope you'll keep them coming. I would especially appreciate any opinions you might have about my analysis of today's poor showing.


  1. I've been doing some reading about fluids. It seems that less is more. I typically down two bottles an hour and am reading some Hammer advice that is sounding like one bottle an hour is plenty. Also, don't eat three hours before a big effort. So, heeding this advice, I skipped breakfast two Saturdays ago before starting a 103 mile ride. The theory is your body starts the ride using its fuel stores more efficiently. Anyway, no breakfast seemed to help. At least the whole ride I was strong and also I limited my fluid intake to no more than a bottle an hour and did not get any leg cramps.

    So, maybe don't put too much fluid. Make sure to take in around 300 calories an hour.Ride the first half of the ride to the point that it feels easy. If the hill is feeling real easy, just back off a tiny bit more so you're saving some for later. I find it extremely hard to gauge how much I am keeping in reserve. And I find it very hard to practice what I preach. I love going hard and sometimes do it right out of the gate. But I am happiest when I have controlled myself and saved some for the last part of the ride.

  2. Thanks, as always, for the advice, Leslie. I don't know about going without breakfast, though. I might try getting up at 3 am to eat, then going back to bed before my morning ride, but that sounds a bit drastic. I start feeling wierd if I go without breakfast even if I'm just sitting around doing nothing.