Up until April, my single best month of cycling included three organized centuries, four 38 mile club rides (maybe five) with a total of 803 miles for a month (August 2013).
With my BCB (Best Cycling Bud) Mike living just two miles up the road, my long weekend rides have gone from 35-45 on one day and 20 miles on the other (last year) to 65-80 on one day and 40 (or more) on the other. With the Horsey Hundred last week, I knew I was going to close in on my best month… I didn’t know I was going to destroy it:
879 miles, just under 30 miles a day (29.3 to be exact, or 28.3 if we can’t ride today – and that’s likely, due to rain).
I’ve been tempted, now that I’m in my fourth year of cycling, to try a pro-style schedule which is quite simple: no days off. There are slow days, in the form of active recovery, or days off for rain as always, but as we get into the dry season come July I almost always take time off with sunny skies just to take a day off. I’m going to see how long I can go without a day off and (more important) without a drop in performance. Previously, that was 13 days in a row, then I’d tank.
I’ve written about this before and drew the inspiration from last year’s Tour de France coverage in which it was revealed that the cyclists, on their “day off”, spend three hours on the turbo.
This made perfect sense to me as I’ve always had a miserably tough time getting my legs spun back up after a day off. Interestingly, I used to schedule days off on Monday, the day before my toughest, fastest day. My warmup was always miserable and getting my legs under me for the main ride was unnerving. Since dropping the practice this year, Tuesday nights have been much faster and more enjoyable.
Just in the nick of time…
Yesterday’s ride wasn’t without its excitement… Well, the first 63.87 miles were relatively perfect. Sunshine, some clouds now and again, a nice breeze then wind, temps in the mid-70’s (pretty awesome for a 7:30 am start)… The trick was, the forecasters were calling for rain to come in at noon. Not 11 am, not 1 pm… Noon. At 10:30 we were over 60 miles (it’s a long story, I’d put in about five slow miles before the ride ever “technically” started, 2 miles getting to Mike’s house, three or four miles looking for Chuck, who’d taken a shortcut to meet us up the road). We ate wind for the next 32 miles or so before turning back. Crosswind at first, for a couple of dozen miles, then a glorious tailwind… Which gets us to that 63.87 mile mark. Mike had noticed a gathering of intensifying pod of clouds that was now to our south. With our west southwest tailwind, the ominous set of clouds were chasing us. Phill and Brad had already split off for home, it was just Mike and I. The good news was that Mike and I had Brad and Phill on the edge (mostly Brad, Phill’s Kung Fu is strong) so with them on their own, Mike and I could hammer. On the negative side, Mike and I had been doing the lion’s share of the turns up front for 40 miles… We were both fairly smoked. It started spitting on us with just four miles to go. It was a steady, but light, rain with 3-1/2 to go. Just ten minutes and we’d have missed the rain entirely.
I pulled into the driveway just as the rain picked up:
68.87 miles… I ended up with an 18.5 mph average, but with all of the slow miles at the start and riding the next 30 directly into the wind, I was quite stoked that we ended up above 18. Not a Herculean effort by any stretch but it was fun… Except for the major altercation I had with an ignorant and indignant motorist. More on that tomorrow, but I’ll tease you with this: It almost came to fisticuffs. Seriously.