Saturday, August 27, 2011

Pit Stops can be Costly! (10.55 mph vs 9.73mph)

I've got plenty left to learn. Pit stops, you might say, are the pitts!

I rode 3 loops, this morning, for a total of 33.4 miles, and averaged 10.55 mph not counting time spent at pit stops, and 9.73 if you count them. Here's the breakdown:

I started at 7:02am and ended at 10:26 (3hrs 26 min); timed by my wristwatch

The individual loops, I timed with a stopwatch:
19.9 mi @ 112 minutes = 10.66 mph
6.7 mi @ 38 minutes = 10.55 mph
6.8 mi (sic) @ 42 minutes = 9.71 mph

Combining these figures, we get:
33.4 mi total
@ 192 minutes actual riding time = 10.44 mph;
@ 206 minutes elapsed time = 9.73 mph.

Translation: The time off the bike -- a total of 14 minutes -- was far too long. It's been half a century since I did any algebra, so I can't tell you right now how much I would need to reduce that 14 minutes to, but I hope to get back to you on that. Meanwhile, it's clear that 14 minutes is too long.

Which leaves the question of the third leg. Why did I drop from the 10.55 mph I had just logged to 9.71 mph on this leg? To put it bluntly: I was loafing. Realizing I had maintained a better-than-10-mph average up until that point, I simply thought I could afford to coast. Yes, there was an excruciatingly long red light at one intersection; and yes, I decided to stop and replenish the water in my sports bottle from a spare in my saddlebag. But mostly, I was loafing.

I think I had the stamina to maintain the pace I had set just previously. I just didn't try.

Three or four miles from the finish, I realized my mistake, so I started pouring on the steam. The good news is that I had steam to pour on. It wasn't enough to enable me to catch up, but I still felt pretty strong. I don't think my poor showing today was lack of conditioning. I think it was lack of skill. (Or smarts.)

Recovery note: After cooling down for half an hour, tanking up on carbs, fluids, and proteins, and getting a shower, I crashed for a good nap, slept soundly, and woke up stiff as a cadaver. But an hour later, the stiffness had worn off, and as I write this I'm feeling none the worse for wear.

The plan: Next Tuesday, ride two 20-mile loops, with one pit stop. Limit my time in the pit, and don't loaf on the second loop.


  1. SPLASH AND DASH! That's been our motto all season. My friend Jeff started that saying. When we've been doing centuries this year we've been skipping the first rest stop typically around the 20 mile marker and catching the next one around 40. Then maybe not stopping again or just a quick stop around mile 80 for water. So much time can be lost at the rest stops if you hang around and chat. Of course we aren't at the ride to chat. We chat after. We grab water, some nutrients and GO!

    I ran a lot in my 30's and 40's. I remember one race in particular where I just got a bad start. Got caught in some slow moving runner traffic and after weaving and bobbing, I finally got to mile three of the 10K run four minutes behind where I had planned to be. I could not make up that time. You have to get in your rhythm early and stay there.

  2. Good advice, and I really took it to heart on my next ride ("See 40 miles in 3:56") -- both the importance of keeping the stops short, and the difficulty of keeping up. Thanks!

    Question: How come you stop every 20 miles and then go 40 before your next one? Are you saying that by mile 40 you're warmed up?