My Venge is the Ferrari of bicycles, everyone knows this. Mine, being the “Comp” may be the Dino or in today’s terms maybe the FF (Ferrari’s grocery getter) but I’m cool with that – and the best part is my wife didn’t ask for a divorce when I brought her home, so that was the icing on the cake. Had I come home with the $12,000 S-Works Venge, well let’s just say a bike worth Twelve Grand would be cool as hell at the Tuesday night club ride but it wouldn’t exactly keep daddy warm at night. Get it?
Whatever. The point is, I had to come up with an awesome name for her because she’s a badass… She shall be called Cavelo Rosso [Notice the difference from the title – It took a bit to hit me, change the vallo to velo… Cooler! Yes, I am aware that I am a nerd. In the real world I hide it well. On my blog I can let him play.], which means Red Horse in Italian. Now, you might be inclined to say, “but Jim, that bike’s black“. Oh ye of limited vision! That’s not black, that’s clear coated carbon fiber baby, she’s naked! So, she’s a naked mare – just enough red to cover up the ni- well, you get it. That’s hot and deserving of a proper name that exudes that hotness.
So, I got to thinking, Ferrari, red, red, Italian…stallion… BINGO! But red stallion looks like this: Stallone Rosso. Yeah, I’m not a gay femme so that wouldn’t do. Then I went with Red Mare because in English, that sounds pretty freaking awesome! Night mare, red mare – wicked fast! YES! Unfortunately that translates to Italian like shit, so that was out. I couldn’t even pronounce it!
Then I didn’t like the masculine nature of red horse so I just decided out of the blue that I’d tinker with the gender. Made sense to me and 95% of the people who will ever read this blog would never be the wiser! Unfortunately it’s that five damned percent that would figure out, while much sexier sounding, Cavalla Rossa really means Pink Horse – and Rossa is spelled wrong, it’s Rosa! Well, again, back to the “not flamin’ gay” thing. It’s just not, um, me.
So Cavallo Rosso held the day. And as the great and wise Donald Duck Dunn once said so eloquently:
Fit it does.
Update: driving down the road this morning I thought of a much better name Cavelo Rosso.
One of the toughest things I’ve dealt with on a bike (besides pedaling harder) is proper hydration. My first year I was all over the map and I paid for it on more than one occasion with huge bonks – and even a large drop in performance over two weeks because of a severe electrolyte imbalance. I’ve since worked it out to a bit of a science. To keep this post a reasonable length, I’m not going to bother getting too verbose with the importance of proper hydration, I’ll just simply leave it at this: It’s more important than what I eat and just plain water isn’t good enough. No it isn’t, please cut it out, you’re wrong (or you’re not pedaling hard enough).
In my first year of cycling I stuck mainly to H2O on the bike – no additives, just water. Generally speaking I’m not a big water fella, but on the bike water worked at quenching thirst better than anything. Unfortunately it also diluted what little electrolytes I had left in my body over a long ride or ten so I would end up cramping up on a ride longer than 75 miles – it got so bad my sweat stopped tasting salty. Gatorade helped fix that but I always ended up a sticky mess. Then I won a pair of Peal Izumi shoes from another blog last year and when they arrived, much to my surprise, the box was filled with goodies including Gu electrolyte tabs. I love those – they’re just mildly flavored in a 26 ounce water bottle and not near as sticky if splashed on me (or the bike). I stuck with that in one bottle of water and one of the Electrolyte tab (or Gatorade) for every long ride since and have yet to have a cramping episode like I did last year. Just a few weeks ago though, a friend gave me a half-used jug of Hammer Perpetuem (H.P.) drink mix and I traded that for the Gatorade or electrolyte tabs, at least until the first refill. This has proved to be the best yet, especially for centuries.
There’s always a question of how much though. Fortunately, Endomondo (my fitness tracking software of choice) throws out a suggestion for hydration for each ride. Assuming warm conditions, 85 degrees, it breaks down like this for me:
(2) 26 oz bottles of water on rides ranging from 16-20 miles (or 1.5 liters)
(1) 26 oz bottle of H.P. and one of water, for 20-40 miles
(1) 26 oz bottle of H.P. and one water, then refill both with water for 40-60 miles (or 3 liters)
” “, then refill one Gatorade or electrolyte tab and one water twice for 60-75 miles
” “, then refill at least three times with one Gatorade (or electrolyte tab) and one water for 100+ mile rides (about six liters total).
Depending on your noob status, you may be looking at those last few (3-6 liters) and worrying about having to stop to let some of that liquid back out too often. If you’re giving enough of an effort, the fear is unnecessary. You’ll be able to go when you stop to refill and that’s only if you have to. Often times I don’t have to relieve myself after the first stop on really long rides (75+ miles). I almost never have to stop for rides up to 40 miles long.
Some personal stats, considering weight and effort is important to hydration needs. The harder the effort, the more you’ll need to stay hydrated (I’m assuming if you weigh more, you’d need a little more fluid, though I may be mistaken – I simply don’t know):
I’m 6’0″ tall, weigh 158-160 pounds and I ride between 19 and 21 mph average.
Now, I actually have a friend who passed out on a 41 mile solo ride and bashed his melon pretty well because he didn’t drink enough (he used to make jokes about “p*ss*ng crystals” after a century). Thankfully he was just fine with a black eye and a little scrape, but he cracked his helmet too. Proper hydration is a must if you’re going to perform well. Good luck and enjoy the ride.
I am here to smash a few myths in the face about the Specialized Venge Comp. This will be a short post because I’m excited to have a great new bike but I’m not stupid – I’m on the pink cloud right now and it’s going to last a while before I come down – my bike is AWESOME.
That said, here are just a few:
The Venge Comp is a stiff ride and no good for a century unless you’re a racer in which case you’ll live with the pain: Nope. The Comp is smoother than my Trek 5200. I’d choose the Venge for a century over the 5200 seven days a week and twice on Sunday. Now, is it as stately as a Roubaix on rough roads? Hell, I couldn’t tell you because I’ve never ridden one, but the truth is, the Venge Comp is a race bike – it’s a Ferrari. A very well mannered Ferrari (Call it the FF of Ferrari’s). It is not the S-Works F-50 though. I will have no problems riding my bike on century rides – guaranteed.
The Venge slices through the wind! Well, yes I’m sure it does, but it’s still a bicycle. It does not pedal itself and the nameplate is a big “S”, not “Harley Davidson”.
Now, one thing I can confirm about the Venge… Rough pavement on any bicycle sucks – bad. On my Cannondale SR 400, rough pavement was demoralizing, on my 5200 it was a nuisance. On my Venge Comp? Surprise! It’s still a pain in the butt. It’s rough freaking asphalt! On the other hand, put the Venge on decent pavement… It’s a rocket ship. It’s fast and smooth.
Finally, and I don’t know if I just happened to hit the perfect setup on my bike or whether it has something to do with the geometry, but of my three bikes, the Venge is by far the most comfortable to ride in the drops. The other two aren’t even close (the Trek does beat the Cannondale for comfort in the drops but only because the overall ride is so much more comfortable).
So, as we all know, these bikes are not cheap – the real question is this: Do I have any remorse or second thoughts now that I’ve got a few miles on the bike?
Not even a little bit. The Venge Comp far exceeds my expectations. It’s an exceptional bike for the money.
I did have one surprise however. I was cruising down the road with a smile on my face when something occurred to me… I no longer have an excuse. Three days ago I was riding a 14 year-old bike with round composite tubes. Now I have one of the most aerodynamic bikes on the market with fantastic race gearing. Now the only weak link is me.. I didn’t see that one coming.
UPDATE: Because I am comparing the ride between my new Venge and my 5200, there are a few important details that will matter to those who have a decent working knowledge of bikes… First, both bikes have the tires inflated to the maximum 125 psi. Second, the 5200 sports a 2011 Specialized Romin saddle while the Venge came with a 2013 Specialized Romin saddle.
UPDATE 2: I developed a bit of slop in the rear hub. My LBS pro tightened it up a bit but I won’t know if that did the trick unless I get my new rear wheel taco’ed. I picked up a new set of rims that ended up being just shy of a full pound lighter and are a whole lot smoother. I am immensely more happy with my bike with the new wheels. Faster too.
UPDATE 3: My full 700 mile review is here.
PSA: There exist people who are not able to handle direct honesty or evaluate themselves well. If you are one, it would be best to skip this post. While it is not my intent to shame or berate anyone, some do not possess the ability to address reality on reality’s terms and will therefore misinterpret the intent of this post. If this describes you, there is no sense in reading on. You will end up with an unnecessary and unintended resentment. Best to move along to something that suits your character better.
This series is not, thank God, my Anthony Weiner lapse into idiocy, where I find it necessary to post a bunch of pec, bicep and glute photos that show how awesome I think I am and look (truthfully I’m not all that impressive, but it’ll do). Thankfully I am not such a sad person emotionally that I must show off physically to compensate for the screw that’s loose mentally (got that Tony?). That said, part one dealt with frequency or how often I must ride in order to maintain my awesome boy-ish figure (if not for the unavoidable signs of aging; gray hair, crow’s-feet, receding hair-line, etc., there’s no way you’d guess I’m over 40). Part two was about attitude. I opened myself up a bit to illustrate what I must do mentally to maintain fitness. To sum it up in a short sound bite: “There isn’t much traffic on the extra mile”. For part three, I thought I’d look a bit at intensity. I’ve been going through a remarkable change in the last several weeks, centered around an incredible uptick in miles and intensity week over week and month over month. Here’s the week over week illustration:
My normal week is, depending on weather, between 100 and 150 miles. In the summer time that’s closer to 150. The two weeks in July, the 8th to the 21st, were broken up by a vacation down to the mountains of Georgia where I concentrated on short but challenging climbs and less intense rides with my wife… In short, I was on vacation – I wasn’t exactly looking to tear it up. When we got home though, the mileage and the intensity really started ramping up. The color differences on the graph are as follows: The darker yellow (small slivers at the bottom of three weeks) signifies mountain biking. The lighter yellow, cycling transport, or my version of a light intensity ride (17.5-19 mph average). The Red signifies cycling sport or, you guessed it, red-line hard cycling – I use the sport designation only to track high-intensity solo workouts or group rides where the average speeds (on open roads) will be in excess of 20 mph. Let’s look at month over month now:
The pink signifies indoor trainer workouts and green is running… Now this was an incredibly bad summer weather-wise. We’ve had loads of rain – so much so that it actually harmed some of the State’s crops so my overall mileage has been down over last year, especially through June and July, but you can see the spike this August… I’ll easily end the month with around 750 miles (if not a few more), my best month ever by almost 70 miles, yet I’ll hit that having taken off seven days. Last September, my second best month ever (next to the previous month at 684 miles – just couldn’t get it to fit in the graph) I only took four days off all month. Now, I gave the month over month breakdown to add context, for when I try to break this down point by point – and please try to remember, this is an opinion piece… It is not necessarily based on science, just my experience.
How many people have you seen out there who are amazingly fat and out of shape, walking and/or jogging as if their life depended on it (well, let’s face it – it does), sweat dripping off of their faces, huffing and puffing, working hard? How about on a bike (which is probably a better method of fitness to look at for this post)? Not many. I’m looking at the ladies who put on makeup before they “run”. Now, not discounting the fact that if we exercise in zone two we burn more fat, I find the calories in/calories out approach much more appealing because it doesn’t take ten years to knock the fat off. My weight loss, and invariably my fitness, were dependent on my willingness to put forth an effort crossed with my willingness to eat a decent, balanced diet. The harder I worked and better I ate, the slimmer I got until I’m at a point where I have to eat more than I’m comfortable with just to keep my weight up (I know, this is a good problem to have). That worked excellently last year when I finally gave it the effort I needed to get the body I’ve always wanted. Last year, more than 250 miles per summer month were dedicated to red-line riding. This year, until August, I kept the cycling sport workouts down to around 200 miles per month but ratcheted up the intensity in hopes of getting to the next level in terms of speed. August showcased the payoff. I’m riding 1-1/2 to 2 mph faster this August compared to last August and loving it.
My wife and a few friends were hanging out making jokes out of excuses that we’ve heard and even uttered as it related to riding Lead Bike for the 8km race-walkers in the Crim yesterday. Keep in mind, the walkers start ten minutes after the runners… I had to start punching a hole for the lady who eventually won within one mile of the start. In other words, a lady walking at a 10 minute mile pace caught runners within a mile who had a ten minute head start. Folks, here’s the harsh reality: You may get into shape at that pace before you croak, but it’s doubtful. The dreadful truth is this: People who get into shape comfortably are almost as rare as unicorns – they give up first, complaining that “exercise doesn’t work”. Exercise works just fine, they don’t, and therein lies the rub. Now, remember the context folks, before we get bent out of shape… We are dealing with extremes here. While I don’t disparage a twenty-minute mile, I don’t agree with the premise that this is a type of exercise that will bring about desired results either. It’s something, that’s for sure, but once you’ve broken the cobwebs lose (with the aid of your doctor of course), if you want to lose that ass this century you’d better try a little harder than two hours for a five-mile “jog”.
Now, that said, and going back to my data for the last month… In July I thought I’d plateaued, hit a spot where I just couldn’t get any faster. The reality that I had to come to grips with was that I had plateaued and that I didn’t want to work any harder than I already was to get faster. A gentler way to put it would be that I just didn’t have the time or desire to put the energy into improving. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I was okay with this. After all, I thought, there are folks out there who only wish they could ride as fast as I do – on a slow day. Then we went on vacation in the mountains and I tried a climb that I’d done last year at the same time and made it three times farther up an insane mountain road than I did just the year before. I tried again with the same results, and again… Four times farther than the year before. Then one last time before we left – six times farther than my best effort from last year. That got me a little bit excited… Here I was just a few days before thinking that I was as far as I could go – and then this. Well, to keep an already long story from getting out of hand, I hit August refreshed and recommitted. Three centuries, three weekends in a row and I had a personal best by five minutes, a very solid effort only missing the prior week’s performance by ten minutes and then I blew the doors off that first century by 19 minutes, cranking out a 4h:36m 100 miles – in a week that I’d put in over 200 miles. Folks, I’m not supposed to be able to do that, but there it was.
So here I am, coming into the fourth weekend in August and I was pretty beat. I rode hard on Tuesday and then again on Thursday, but I took Monday off (as I have been for a couple of months now). Wednesday was slow and short. Yesterday we put in 26 miles but they were very slow. Today will be long and slow followed by another needed day off tomorrow. I need to ratchet things back a bit to rest up. I don’t have to take time off of the bike necessarily, but I do have to take it easier for a minute to get my legs back. I know this, but damned if I’m not sitting there yesterday evening trying to figure out how I can squeeze a few extra hard rides in because I don’t want to lose any momentum! I won’t, in the end, add any extra fast rides, but that’s the discipline needed to drop the fat. I am an all or nothing kind of guy (as are most people when you boil it all down). I can take, and need, easy days to let my legs recover. I have to be careful though, that I don’t take my foot too far off of the gas pedal; 200 pounds and misery is waiting for me if I do.
Mrs. Bgddy, the kids and I went out for a 7 mile mountain bike ride late Friday morning. On returning home just after noon I was happily amazed to see that UPS had arrived early and dropped off a package for me at the front door. I had a window of opportunity, if very narrow. I grabbed that check, kissed my wife and ran out the door, calling ahead to the bike shop to let them know I’d be in shortly – to please get my bike ready (remove the spoke protector, index adjustment, etc.).
At 12:38 on Friday afternoon I walked into the shop and paid for my new Venge (it was absolutely awesome to lay down a stack of $100 bills on the counter). Twenty years ago I couldn’t pay for a washing machine without financing it.
After dropping the kids off at Aunt Kate’s house and eating dinner, we headed home and I set to tinkering. Reflectors, gone. Cheap plastic reflector pedals, gone. Somehow the shop got the saddle height perfect and I moved it up about 1/4″ to match the setup on my 5200.
After volunteering at the Crim as the Lead Bike for the 8km Race Walkers we went for a ride on the Flint River Trail (more on that later) and then took a nap (I rode on the 5200 – I didn’t want the Venge’s first ride to be in a huge crowd in downtown Flint). Congratulations to the lady who won, whoever you are, that was a race well walked and apologies to anyone who may have been offended by my booming voice – except you idiots with the headphones who couldn’t hear me right behind you (you’re playing that shit too loud).
In any event, I just went over the whole bike for a last minute check to make sure all of the nuts and bolts are properly tight.
UPDATE: First Ride analysis would be silly and biased, but it is definitely smooth. My 5200 is harsher than the Venge (and the 5200 feels like a limo compared to my Cannondale SR-400). One report that is fair to confirm… When you step on the pedals, it goes and fast. Alas, it is a bicycle. It does not pedal itself.
UPDATE 2: I got rid of the wheels just as soon as I could. I’m much happier (and the bike is just shy of a pound lighter). 17.3 pounds, dripping wet, with the pedals and cages.
Do you own a high-end bicycle? My wife and I have a few.
Do you remember the commercial where the guy has two bikes on a rack on top of his car and tries to drive into his garage? Ouch! While I can afford nice bikes, I can’t afford two of each because I followed my own advice and bought the most expensive bikes I could afford.
My bikes are covered under my homeowner’s insurance policy. Crashes, theft, the whole nine yards, they’re covered. Check to make sure yours are too.
Just figures. I’m just a few days away from taking possession of my brand spanking new, several thousand dollar, absolutely beautiful, Specialized Venge. I picked out the cages yesterday as a matter of fact…and the county just landlocked me with a brand new layer of chip-seal on our road. It was so fresh yesterday afternoon that I got little splotches of tar on my shoes when I crossed the street to get to the mailbox. I ended up going for an easy ride with the family on the mountain bike. Fabulous.
Back to the aforementioned Venge… I quit drinking and changed my life on November 18th, 1992. Everything big that I’ve bought over the last twenty years has been on some kind of credit or financing. I can remember early on talking with an elder friend who said one day I’d be able to pay cash for such things if I stayed sober and lived a decent life. I thought he was nuts.
Sure enough, when I walk into the bike shop to pick up my Venge, it’ll be with a pocketful of hundred dollar bills which I will plunk down on the counter with a smile on my face.
When I walk my new ride out to the car, it’ll be mine. No payments, no interest. Mine.
That’ll be a happy moment in my life, let me tell you.
If you know a newbie aspiring pace line rider, please pass this on to them… For all of our sake.
It’s a rare day that I see a bad cyclist riding with us on the advanced ride. Most noobs simply can’t keep up with the pace so we usually have a fairly legitimate crowd on Tuesday nights. This was not the case last night, and nothing rattles a good group more than a shaky rider. He was so bad that one of the otherwise reserved riders mentioned something to me about it as the kid fell back after a pull that lasted entirely too long at about 23 mph. Technically it was more like 23 to 25 to 22 to 21 to 23 to 20… You get the idea The poor guy behind him was on his brakes constantly while I managed to stay far enough back to absorb a lot of the back and forth. In addition, once the kid started running out of gas, instead of falling back to rest, he tried to stay up front even though his counterpart (we run a double pace line) had fallen to the back. That’s when the mistakes started. From where I was it looked like he shifted two gears down two gears instead of one so all of a sudden he couldn’t spin his feet fast enough to keep the pace up so he slowed and then freaked and his bike started shaking as he tried to regain composure. Ideally he’d have been in the back resting up a half mile before all of this happened. He was so bad that I actually said something to him when I got back by him.
If you’re a noob, as I was not long ago, you absolutely want to ride with a group that is either faster than you or that you can just barely keep up with… It’s going to make you a faster rider, but when people tire out, even experienced riders, mistakes happen. For instance, a friend of mine had his rear wheel taco’d when a fairly experienced rider, who had been riding with us all day, cramped up and ran into his wheel while we were stopped in a rest station parking lot. The other day after 58 fast miles, pulling slowly into another rest station, a very experienced cyclist who appeared quite gassed bent my rear wheel up pretty good when he accidentally got his wheel stuck in a crack in a sidewalk and fell towards his clipped in foot. He fell into my wheel and knocked me over into a ditch. Fortunately my wheel wasn’t so bad that I couldn’t continue – I just had to release the brake lever about half way to get the wheel to spin freely.
So here’s a simple list of noob mistakes that get the group in trouble:
1. If you’re in a large organized group and you’re completely gassed, stay to the back and take advantage of the draft to recharge.
2. You want to pull a little bit longer than you feel comfortable with because doing so will make you stronger – just keep it within reason.
3. Don’t pull so long that you become fidgety – your chances of hurting someone else go up exponentially.
4. Take a good long pull at the front but don’t over stay the welcome. If you gas yourself to a point you’re unstable you will be viewed as dangerous, not tough.
5. Keep your head up if you’re getting tired. One of the first things that will go will be your desire to keep your head up (I know this for a fact). You mustn’t ever take your eyes off of the group in front of you – you’ll end up running into somebody in front of you when the group makes a turn or stops for a light or stop sign.
6. Be extra careful in a parking lot or at a rest station. Get out of the way as soon as possible (I made this mistake the other day – I should have dismounted and moved faster).
7. Smooth the groove when you’re up front. Keep a constant speed on the flats, pedal your ass off downhill and be careful not to slow too much uphill.
8. Speaking of downhill – if you’re up front going down a hill, you will be pedaling for almost all you’re worth while the group behind will be coasting – the draft works that well.
9. Don’t sweat being a noob. I found getting my ego out of the equation the best policy here. The tough part, of course, is realizing that we’re not just talking about riding a bike – anyone can do that. We’re talking about riding a bike at more than 20 mph, with mere inches between cyclists – simply standing up at the wrong time to stretch your legs could send someone to the hospital.
Eran over at Velo Quips came out with the best, most influential post I’ve read in well over a year. I needed that shot in the arm – and the whole premise was a 20 year old kid telling me, a guy damn near 20 years his senior (and everyone else) that we’re doing the club ride wrong… And he’s right.
Here’s the part that changed my view of the club ride forever: “The reason why group rides CAN be an effective training tool is their similarity to race conditions. You have a bunch of “similarly” skilled guys going head to head for all the glory. What makes a group ride nice is the lack of consequences. It is training, you didn’t pay 40 bucks and drive 2 hours to be there and the outcome of your ride should really be irrelevant. While you might think that if Joe Blow beats you in the town line sprint your life will be over, but trust me it won’t!
The key thing to do is use other riders to push you to levels of training stress you could not achieve on your own. When you are on the front pull a little harder and a little longer than you think you should. Let’s say everyone is avoiding the front because the big climb is coming up. GOOD! Get on the front and drive it all the way there, and then when the climb comes, ATTACK!!! You will certainly get swallowed up and when you do, hold on for dear life!
Do everything that would seem silly in a race. Attack off the front, attack on top of a failed attack, ride too long on the front. Make sure when it gets easy for you, you make it hard again. If you are sitting on the back of the paceline and you are “chillin” go up the side and get on the front again. Who cares what the local team thinks of your lack of discipline, you are here to work hard! When everyone else sits on you for that sprint drive it hard to the line, don’t worry about people passing you, their glory doesn’t extend beyond strava and their cubicle! FITNESS WILL CONQUER ALL!
The group ride is your chance to work on all your weaknesses, blow yourself up a bit and still have a tiny peloton around you to keep you rolling and motivated! If you are really lucky you will find a group that you can just barely hang on to and they will drive you deeper than you have ever been before. If you choose between the slower group and being king or chewing on your handlebars only to get dropped from the faster group, pick the faster one! Next month you may be holding on longer and longer and longer!”
Well damn if I didn’t do that on Sunday for the Assenmacher 100 and I made it 83 miles with cat 2&3 racers and a bunch of Master’s as well. I tried it again today and I had a blast! Attacking off the front, chilling out when I pulled too hard, I did it all – just to blow up and ride back with a small group of friends, where I did the same again. I was giddy when I packed my bike up afterwards and I laughed my ass off about it. I can’t remember ever having so much fun on a Tuesday night ride.
Just like Eran suggested, it’s a group that I can’t hang with, but I’m making strides in getting there – and after reading that post, I’m having a blast doing it.
UPDATE: Steven Francisco has a companion piece (same blog) that I linked to above that I look at as required reading as well.
Food, Fuel and Fluids
I need to eat the proper foods for energy. I need the proper fuel onboard. I need to drink the proper fluids in the right succession.
So here’s how I train for a century now that I have a few under my belt… If you can call it “training”:
16 miles a day: Wednesday through Friday.
35.5 miles on Saturday
16 miles in Sunday
Monday: Day off
35 miles on Tuesday – Club ride
…And that’s if we have no rain. If we get rain during the week I’ve just taken the day off. Other than that I went on one prep ride on July 4th, 76 miles. That’s it.
I know the 10% per month folks are probably fit to be tied right about now, but the truth is I’m in an awesome groove, so let ’em froth – I never bought into the notion that you should only increase 10% at a time (not for cycling anyway). Depending on fitness and size (I have an abundance of fitness and no extra weight), I truly believe that if you can ride 50, you can make it 100. In fact, this is exactly how I got into long rides in the first place. I went from 35 to 62.5, then to 90 and 100, then 125… Not exactly 10% at a crack.
Three weeks ago I had to dig deep through a rough patch in the Tour des Lacs. I was struggling going up hills at about the 80 mile mark and I wanted to take it easy the rest of the way back… Deep down though, I knew I could motor through it because I’d been through worse. Sure enough I kept chugging along and 15 minutes later and I felt a lot better – I finished strong. Just the other day at around the 90 mile mark my quads knotted up after a decent pull into the wind. When I dropped back to take my place at the back of the pace line I missed my wheel by a foot and started losing ground, fast. I stood up and gave it a few good cranks anyway, got back into the draft and sat back down. A few miles later I was okay again Last year, the second my quads knotted I’d have been off the back. I would have written about it, saying that I just didn’t have the legs, that I should have trained harder, that I should have taken better rest days (or more of them) or drank more Gatorade (technically I should have had a bit more because I did exactly that after both knotting issues and felt better, but that tidbit I picked up through trial and error). The point is, I would have been wrong.
With that said, I always have a little bit of a problem with “listening to my body”, that quaint little sound bite. If I didn’t know any better, my body told me to take it easy for the last 20 miles of the Tour des Lacs and the last 10 of the Assenmacher 100. I do know better though, what my body was telling was, “Drink more ya dope, I need some Gatorade in here”! What I’m getting is this: If I have a goal, be it lose weight, ride “x” mph or become fast enough to hang with a specific group of cyclists, I can’t simply “listen to my body” – I have to learn all of the translations first, because at some point, if I really want to get fit, ride “x” mph or ride faster, I’ve gotta learn to tell my body to shut the hell up and work a little harder.
I’m just sayin’. Of course, if I’m working just a little harder than Jensie, then maybe, just maybe, I can have a listen.