Saturday, May 29, 2010
As part of my training for the 200 mile ride on June 19, I went for a 100 mile ride yesterday. Several hours after the ride I thoroughly debriefed in my cycling journal and I thought I'd share portions of what I wrote as it relates to all the blogs I've posted on how I'm training for the double century. This is quite long, so sorry for that, but for anyone who's interested I hope it helps you to see how I integrate all that I've shared into my training rides.
It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Seems like some famous novel starts that way and this certainly captures the essence of today. If I would have been able to stick to the plan and do only 75 today the second half of that statement would not be true but alas circumstances are what they are and I thought it best to push for 100 this week rather than jumping from 75 to 125 next week.
The ride started out perfectly. The morning routine went well, the first third (home to Rockford) was beyond expectation as I came in at 16.4, and the second third was nearly flawless as I hit 16.8 at one point and came in at 16.3 despite 10 miles of headwind and some pretty nasty rollers. But as I pulled into Maple Lake I could see that I was running out of gas. I stopped and replenished my drinks and then ate at Subway, hoping that a long break would help me recover but I never did regain my form. I even had the wind at my back for the first five miles of this final leg but I lost 0.1 mph nonetheless. There were lots of rollers in that section, though, and so I had to do quite a bit of climbing.
After those 5 miles, I turned into a 15+ mph wind and just tried to survive the next 11.5 miles to Monticello. It took a long time! I decided to add a rest stop at Caribou Coffee and came in at 15.6 but honestly this surprised me as I had given up on maintaining my average speed some 16 miles earlier. I knew that I just didnít have it in my to push anymore and I was satisfied to have finished 75 miles at 16.2. I lost another 0.4 on the final leg home but again it didnít mean much to me and actually caused me to celebrate when I realized that last year, at the end of June, I had come in at 14.0 on my Saint Paul OB ride.
All in all it was a very good ride but I must say that I was as exhausted as Iíve been on the bike since my first century ten years ago. Below I will assess the four elements of my strategy and explain why I think this is so.
On-the-bike training: Those five weeks off the bike while I was in India really hurt my conditioning. Now, I must say that Iíve never attempted something this aggressive this early in the season so in a way I have nothing to compare my conditioning to but knowing where I was before I left I have obviously lost a lot.
On the other hand, I should rejoice because just 1.5 weeks ago I was turning in 14.5 or so which was the best I could do at that time. To improve so much in such little time is no small thing and I should celebrate that fact. But I must also realize that Iím attempting something thatís way beyond what Iíve ever achieved and Iím not sure I have enough time to get ready for it--21 days is not much. But I will not quit! I will simply train as intelligently as I can and let the chips fall where they may.
Nutrition: I tried to carb load as best as I could the day before the ride but I ate a massive spaghetti dinner at about 4:00 p.m. and it gave me heartburn all night. Perhaps next week I should try to eat a bigger lunch and then a lighter dinner because I do need an excess of carbs that day but I don't need heartburn!
My breakfast went well. I just had two pieces of toast, water, and vitamins, and then I brought a banana with me which I ate at the 30 minute mark. Next week I should eat that banana on the way to the start but for this week things worked out very well.
As for my eating on the bike, it went very well except that I ate too big a lunch. My aim was to try to rejuvenate for the final third of the ride but I shouldnít eat so much next time around.
Finally, for recovery I simply had a double portion of Body Fortress Whey Protein with 2 cups of milk and given the circumstances that was perfect. Hereís a summary of all that ate from beginning to end today:
2 pieces of toast (150), banana (50), 6 mini clif bars (600), 3 bottles of Gatorade (300), 1 salt nut roll (240), 2 Starbucks Mocha energy drinks (420), 1/2 Subway pepperoni pizza (400), 1 medium sweet tea (250), 2 servings of Body Fortress (260), 2 cups of milk (180), 4 ďenergy pillsĒ (0). This makes a total of 2850 calories for the ride today and then an additional 600 cals for dinner, no big deal since I burned over 6,000 cals on the bike!
Rest: This was by a long shot the worst aspect of my preparation this time around both in terms of sleeping and recovery from a previous ride. With regard to sleep, I have been struggling with caffeine again and am not in a good cycle with that right now. Further, I began to get sick two nights ago, struggling with a soar throat two nights ago and then with more general sickness in the chest last night. To try to combat this I took a large dose of Dayquil but I think there is some kind of stimulant in it because I could hardly sleep all night. I did have some caffeine yesterday but not much so I do think this was the culprit. Further, because of my large meal earlier in the day I had heart burn all night no matter how many Tums I took and I tossed and turned the whole night through.
I was more tired during this ride than I have ever been on any substantial ride in the last 10 years. Thatís quite a thing to say but itís true. I was flat out sleepy and somewhat exhausted. Itís crucial that I solve this problem and get very good rest this week no matter what that takes.
As for physical recovery from past rides, I was scheduled to take an intense 25 mile ride on Tuesday but I had two popped spokes and couldnít get them fixed in time to take the ride that day. So I took a 27 or so mile ride early the next morning on which I averaged 17.4 which is great but which did tax my body. I was rather sore in the legs this morning when I started so I obviously need to put more than two days between intense efforts. This next week I have to work on Monday morning so I think Iíll do my intense ride that day followed by a 10 mile recovery ride on Tuesday, taking both Wednesday and Thursday completely off. Hopefully this will set me up to succeed at the 125 mile level next Friday.
Mental toughness: This part of the ride gave me the most joy because I had a lot to push through today and I did. I wasnít nearly well conditioned enough to do a century, I was sick, I was sleepy and exhausted, and I faced a strong wind for 35 or so miles during the hardest part of the ride. Further, if I would have gone straight home from Monticello I would have come in at 97 or so but as tired as I was I pushed into the wind for a couple of more miles to ensure that I completed a century. The obstacles were substantial today and I pushed through them all, and though I didnít meet my goal of 16.0 I did come in at 15.2 and on a day like today I think thatís pretty awesome. I feel great about my mental game!
Finally, I do want to note what I did after the ride as I think itís important to establish a consistent post-ride routine. (1) I drank 2 cups of milk with two servings of whey protein. I had eaten sufficiently during the ride and so I didnít feel the need to have a post-ride meal. (2) I took the rolling pin and ďrolledĒ my leg muscles for 3-5 minutes to help with lactic acid. Weíll see tomorrow and the next day if this worked or not but at the moment it sure did feel good! (3) I cleaned out my pockets and saddle bag and took care of everything right away. (4) I took a shower right away while my muscles were still warm and tried to relax them and deal with lactic acid build up. (5) I tried to nap but honestly I had so much caffeine today that I couldnít sleep. Still, it was good to lay down and let my body relax for a while. I was down for about an hour or so.
This routine felt very helpful at the time, I look forward to improving it in the weeks to come. Thanks so much, Lord, for your grace upon me this day. I love you for looking over me!