Saturday, June 05, 2010
Yesterday I took a 125-mile bike ride as part of my training plan for the double century in two weeks--yikes--and as I always I later debriefed the ride in my training journal. Here's a part of what I wrote, it's long but hopefully it will be of interest to fellow riders.
What a difference a week makes! Last week I thought I was going to die about 75 miles into the century but today I could have kept going after 125 miles. I must admit, however, that I would have needed to rest for a bit as I had just faced 13 miles of very strong head winds and I was tired. But be that as it may, I could have kept going and that felt great!
I started the ride just north of Saint Francis (at the corner of 47 & 95) and rode up 47 to the northeast corner of Lake Mil Lacs. I then continued up 47 for 7.5 miles so that later in the ride I’d finish up right at 125. The ride up 47 went very well. It was overcast and the road was wet from an earlier rain but it never did rain on me and the wind was, for the most part, still.
I reached Ogilvie at 16.2 and then climbed up to Mil Lacs and made the turn at 15.9. I picked up 0.7 on the way back to Ogilvie, later dropped 0.1, and then completed the century at 6:00:28 at an average of 16.5 with a maximum speed of 28.7. I missed a sub-6:00 century by that much!
The next 25 miles were pretty difficult as the cross-wind picked up to 15+ mph and then turned to a headwind for the last 13 miles. Because of this I lost an additional 0.4 and completed the 125 at 7:45:30 at an average speed of 16.1. So with that, here’s an analysis of the various elements of the training plan for this week.
ON THE BIKE: This week went very well. I took one strength ride of about 22 miles and one recovery ride of about 10 miles. This was a nice rhythm though I might add one more recovery ride this week, I’m not sure. As for today, my goal was to finish at 16.0 and thus I got the average speed up to 16.0 or so as quickly as possible, which was not hard on such a flat course, and then just pushed a steady but sustainable pace all the way to the end. When I climbed or faced a head-wind I didn’t get impatient and push too hard, as I sometimes do, and when the road turned downward or the wind was at my back I took advantage of it but I didn’t burn myself out. All in all, I felt very good on the bike and probably could have knocked out 150 today, although I must admit that those last 13 miles of headwinds did wear me out a bit.
NUTRITION: My nutrition this week went very well. I just ate normally, making sure to get a consistent mix of fruits, veggies, carbs, calcium rich items, and protein rich items. I decided not to worry about the “carb load plan” which calls for heightening and lowering carbs at certain times of the week and just eat the right stuff consistently instead. This worked very well as I had all the stores of energy I needed for this long ride.
Further, it worked perfectly to have a big lunch the day before the ride and then a light dinner. I slept like a baby without a bit of heartburn! And then for breakfast I had a homemade breakfast sandwich (Thomas’ Multi-Grain Muffin, egg, slice of ham, slice of cheese: 350), a banana (100), a cup of milk with whey protein (220), and another cup of milk (90). On the bike I had 6 mini Clif Bars (600), several bottles of Gatorade (700), 2 Salt and Nut bars (480), 2 hot dogs (535), 1 cup of milk (90), 1 mocha (300), 1 brownie (150), 1 Harvest Energy Power Bar (250), and one more banana (100). Finally, for dinner I had 1 cup of milk with whey protein (220) a bowl of Top Ramen with spinach and onions (425), and an apple (75).
This is a grand total of about 4685 calories but I burned a lot more than that today! Spark People says I burned 9,600 calories on the bike but I doubt that, it was probably closer to 5,000-6,000. One way or the other I burned more than I consumed today and yet I never felt famished or “ran out of gas.”
All of this went very well but there are two issues I want to note. First, it was a mistake to have a mocha and a brownie 80 miles into the ride. My stomach felt nasty afterward due to all the butter and other garbage in the brownie and the combination of these two caused my blood sugar to surge which took some time to deal with. Second, I think I need to mix my on-the-bike foods a bit to add some protein, various fruits (dried fruits would be a good option), and less “sugary” items. Clif Bars and Power Bars are very helpful but I need to balance them with other kinds of foods. And as for the hot dogs, I know they’re not the healthiest things to eat but I must say that I felt great after eating them! I really needed that bread to balance all the sugars in the Gatorade and energy bars.
As for caffeine, I took one “energy pill” with breakfast, one about 42 miles into the ride, and then had one mocha. My thought was that I didn’t want to have masses of caffeine at any given point because I didn’t want to overload and burnout but rather have enough energy throughout to keep a steady pace. For next week, which is only 25 miles longer but will probably be considerably harder, I should take one “energy pill” at the beginning of the ride, one at 50 miles, and two at 100 miles. I should not ingest caffeine from any other source as this will give me the energy I need but help me avoid the issues involved with sugar spikes.
REST: I slept very well this week, including last night, I managed my “off-the-bike” days very well and allowed my body to heal up and grow stronger, and I remained disciplined on my recovery ride, staying on a flat course and keeping the pace at around 14.0 mph. It takes discipline to rest. I felt very good and strong and able to ride on a couple of my off days but I denied the urge and I'm really glad I did. It made me stronger when it counted.
MENTAL TOUGHNESS: This aspect of the ride also went very well today. Mainly, I stuck to the plan, remained patient, pushed when the conditions called for it, and never gave up. I dissected the ride into seven sections as there were six stops and I tried to stay focused only on the present section, giving little or no thought to the entirety of the ride except insofar as I needed to maintain a sustainable pace. This was very important because 7:45 is a long time to be on a bike and it’s nothing compared to the 12:30 it will take to complete a double century! It would be good to work on this strategy and refine it on next week’s ride.
RECOVERY: My recovery process was very different this week as my ride ended about 35 miles from home. When I reached the car, I (1) changed my shirt and shoes, (2) packed things up, (3) ate and drank a bit on the way home, (4) ate a good recovery meal when I got home, and (5) only later took a shower and massaged my muscles. Last week I had no soreness whatsoever in the days after the ride but since I waited so long to massage my muscles that may not be the case this week. We’ll see but one way or the other it would be good to remember to stretch and massage the muscles immediately after the ride no matter where I end.
I want to bring my thoughts to a close by giving my thanks and praise to you, Lord God. I am so grateful for health, all the stuff required to ride, the passion to stretch after a challenging goal no matter what the cost, all the food and other things you provided for me today, a beautiful day, and so much more. I love you, Jesus, and I'm deeply grateful to you. I count it a great privilege to live all of life with you including life on the bike!