I ride folks, I ride a lot. Every single day, at least 47 minutes (16 miles 20+ mph) but often, more than that. I only take days off when I can’t fight it any more, or more to the point, when I can’t argue with the fatigue any longer. That may seem odd but I’m happy and I’m not about to change – at least till the snow flies.
In riding every day, I’ve become acutely aware of what works as far as my “diet” goes, and what doesn’t. I know what and how much of it I need to maintain my weight and I only bother with foods I enjoy.
Recently I’ve been on an experimental diet for a review of a diet/fitness tracking app and I decided to alter my diet to match what their system says I should be consuming in terms of calories, carbs, protein, sodium, sugar, cholesterol, fat and fiber. The first two days didn’t go well but on the third day I had it dialed in. I limited a few normal food items because of an abundance of carbs and replaced them with a healthier alternative. I thought I was winning the battle, balance was just a fraction away – the exception being sodium. I know what they say I need and that doesn’t square with what I know I need, so I didn’t worry about going over.
I ran into trouble with their goals on my ride the next afternoon though. It was a windy evening, so there’s that, but it was a struggle to end up with a 17.5 mph average – I had to work my butt off for it and I was beat 13 miles into the ride. It was the first time, ever, that I thought to myself that I should have taken the day off. It was also the first time I didn’t get any enjoyment out of my ride… And I had no clue why.
It wasn’t until the next day when I threw that diet out the window that I started bouncing back. I hadn’t put two and two together either though – yet.
I ate well on Friday and ended up with a great couple of rides on Saturday with a decent run in between. I felt strong all day long, something I’d been missing.
It wasn’t until I rode today that I really started figuring things out. I had conditions much like I did on Friday, breezy and hot. I went out with a goal of 17.5 mph for a nice recovery ride after yesterday’s hard effort. I made it back after my 16 mile ride without ever having to breathe heavy…I didn’t even break a sweat. I was expecting 17 because the effort was so easy. With stops I managed to finish at 18 even.
Trying to stick to someone else’s idea of what my diet should be dragged on my performance big time.
I’ll try to contact them on Tuesday to get my head around it. I’ve got my own hypotheses but I’ll reserve judgment, and comment, until they get a chance to explain their method for estimating daily requirements and how those requirements would be expected to work for someone who rides like I do.
After just getting done writing a post intended as a call to bureaucrats and public planners to build roads with wider shoulders, I had a bit of an epiphany after replying to a comment left by the proprietor of Cult Fit…
He was lamenting the fact that he’s gotta drive his bike to a trailhead to go for a safe ride – and I have done the same thing – and felt odd for having to…
There are two ways I know of to pick good roads to ride on, other than knowing the roads around my home town – the first is to ask those who ride in clubs where they ride – one of my favorite, least trafficked routes I got from one of the guys I ride with on Tuesday nights… The other way, the way that’s given me the best ideas of how to get around and avoid hectic roads, was to ride those two centuries and the 80 mile pre-century prep ride with the club. I used the last fifteen miles of the Tour des Lacs on my hill climbing quest last Saturday.
Generally speaking (and especially in the case of the Assenmacher 100) the routes are chosen directly by or with the help of local bike shop owners with safety in mind – the safer roads have wider shoulders or less traffic. You can’t go wrong. If you get bored with a normal route(s), do a local century, you’re bound to find a few great new routes to add some spice to your rides.
UPDATE: Be sure to check out the comments, there are several excellent additional options posted in the comments.