My previous best was a string of 71 days in a row publishing a post. As of this morning’s post about yesterday’s little recovery ride that turned out to be a little faster than anticipated, I’ve got something like a 90 day streak going in terms of posts. I’ve published at least one post every day since the beginning of the year.
I just wanted to take a second to thank all of my friends who have been a part of my experience as a blogger.
I read a great reminder post yesterday written by a new mom and an accomplished runner about working training plans into a hectic life.. Now to be fair, I don’t really think you can call what I do “training” anymore. I ride. For fun and stress relief. Because I have a hectic life. I just tend to do it really fast, because that makes me smile.
I don’t sit down and say, “Okay, I have to go [insert pace here] for [insert distance or time here] because I have to PR [insert event here]”. Three years ago? Yeah, to an extent, but nowadays it’s more about just going for a ride. For me, nothing is set in stone as long as my BMI is in the low 20’s.
Yesterday when I got home from the office, after one of my guys calling from jail and another two more not showing up due to car trouble, and deadlines that won’t move, I needed a ride. Bad. It should have been an easy day after the club ride but I needed to burn off some adrenaline.
I did everything right… right up until I turned out of the driveway with a 20-ish mph tailwind. After a mile I turned left and expected to battle a merciless crosswind. Instead I simply got down in the drops and held 20-21 mph fairly easily.
Now, two miles later it was a different story when I was headed back south (my normal weekday route is short, only 16 miles, and boring. The main reason my wife and l ride it is because it takes advantage of a lack of traffic and I like it because I can get it done in 48 minutes if I have to). Still, 16 mph was fairly easy and 17-18 was achievable so I stayed with 17.
The next three miles, heading east, were just as easy at 20-21 as the mile west – no east/west tilt to the wind, it was straight out of the south. Then two miles fighting the wind, a few tiny rollers… a mile north at 26-27, then turn around and do that mile again (it’s a fun mile, worth doing twice) followed by two wonderful miles north ranging from 24-29 mph, a couple headed back west and I was on my last mile…
I was at 18.7 average when I turned for home but the wind was picking up. In a rare moment I decided to just spin it home rather than bother worrying about holding my average. That last mile took me more than four minutes and I still came in almost eight minutes faster than my target of 16 mph anyway…
Nothing is set in stone.
Yesterday should have been an easy day. I rode hard the day before and I’ve got some big plans for the weekend if the weather cooperates, a fairly big “if”. On the other hand, I knew I’d have an easy day on the trainer today as the weather is showing high wind and storms all day long. More important, when my butt hit the saddle, I simply didn’t feel like going slow so I didn’t. The decision was based solely on my desire, and because I choose to be happy with who I am and how I pedal my bike, I am free to do as I please. That is all good.
It also meant I had some time to stage a few photos before dinner…
Rarely has there been such a perfect day for a club ride. Well, it was a little chilly, upper 40’s (8-ish C). Hardly a cloud in the sky. The cool part was the wind, or lack thereof. Two whole miles an hour from the wes… dude, who cares what direction the wind was out of? It was two freakin’ miles an hour!
With the winter swimming season over and the spring season starting in two weeks, Mrs. Bgddy secured a babysitter for the girls and was able to head out to the club ride. On the way out we discussed some strategy and I clued her in on what to expect with the lack of wind… The draft in a relatively windless day, if you’ve never experienced it, is truly something to behold. Headwinds and tailwinds in a large group are fairly straight forward and simple to work with. Where you get into trouble is with crosswinds. Well, with a two mile an hour wind, there’s nothing to worry about. The group punches a hole in the wind the size of a car and you’re only putting in maybe half the effort as those in the front… As we got started, after our 7.77 mile warmup (seriously), I changed my goal for the ride. I decided to show my wife (rather than explain) how to hide to see how far we could make it together.
Mike and I started out at the front but rather than take the first full mile, we pulled off the front after about three-quarters and headed to the back. I got back into my line right in front of my wife who was the last rider, about 12-14 bikes back. From there I just opened up a hole every time a cyclist came off the front. With the group as big as it was, I knew we had enough people for a full recharge, otherwise I’d have just done my share and that would have been the end of it.
The pace was quick but not hectic, maybe 23-24 mph… Now that may seem pretty fast but with no wind to battle and 14-ish cyclists to hide behind, it’s more like riding at about 19 or 20. In other words, it’s quite easy going. My wife was still hanging tough at fourteen miles when we started getting into the hills. She made it up the first three pretty well, considering that we climbed them at around 20 mph. Then a long, shallow descent at 26 before a sharp left and we hit the challenging stuff.
That’s about the time my wife started struggling from what I gathered. I knew we only had a few miles left before the B group turned of to do our thing without the constant hill attacks so I let my wife fend for herself… I also started heading toward the front to take my medicine. The group always thins out at that point in the ride so I figured it was about time I did my fair share because there aren’t as many people to hide behind. For the first time in the four years I’ve been riding with that group I felt like I had enough left in the tank to stay with the big group for the whole ride…
I didn’t. We have a fair hill to climb right before our normal turnoff and I let myself drop about halfway up it when I was certain I could hang in. There was no way I was going to give up riding back with my wife when I’ll have plenty of opportunities all summer long to give it another go. I don’t get that many chances to ride with my wife. As soon as she rolled up to the meeting spot with Mike and Diane on their tandem we rolled out, quickly working up to a 21-22 mph pace. We had a few slow-down’s and faster spots throughout but we managed to keep it pretty consistent – and Mrs. Bgddy stayed right there the whole way.
We crossed the City Limits with a 21.2 mph average for the 30 mile course. If memory serves, it took me a little more than two years with the group before I could hold that kind of average. Of course, the circumstances are very different for the two of us but still, that was one solid effort. My wife is a cyclist, and it is good.
The second day of March was the last time I took a day off the bike. Do the math, my club ride tonight will be 27 days in a row and I’ve got this down to a science. This year is a little different from last though, at least so far.
We’ll start with Monday but pay attention to the weekend…
Monday: Easy spin, slow speed, high but easy cadence, 16 to 20 miles at about a 15 or 16 mph pace.
Tuesday: 7.5+ mile warmup 16 to 17 mph pace. 30 miles of full-on, tongue hanging out 22-23 mph average pace.
Wednesday: Easy ride, same as Monday.
Thursday: Medium effort 18-19 mph average for 16-20 miles. Probably my most pace… enough work you can call it lolligagging but not too tough I can’t smile.
Friday: Medium effort 17.5 to 18.5 mph average for 25 to 35 miles with my wife and buddy, Mike. Generally speaking, a nice, fun ride.
Saturday: Bigger miles, 40 to 50 miles at around 18.5 to 19.5 mph average pace. A little faster but slow enough to be loads of fun. Getting into summer this will head north of 75 miles, same pace.
Sunday: For now, usually around 38 miles at around a 20 mph pace. This will get longer and faster as we get closer to summer. This one is usually some work because we’ll have a smaller group and will have to take more turns up front.
So that’s about the done of that. Add the mileage up and it should come out to around 200 miles in a week.
Monday is rightly my “Holy Moses, my legs are tired” day. In fact, Monday used to be my day off two years ago for just that reason. By fluke I learned, after choosing a recovery ride on a Monday, that I felt a lot better on Tuesday night if I didn’t take the day off. It appears that when I take time off, it takes a day to get my legs spun back up and ready to go. Taking Monday off was actually making my Tuesday harder.
So yesterday was my “day off”. It was pouring outside for much of the day so I ended up on the trainer for 45 minutes just spinning away the time. No worries about speed or increasing my fitness, just keeping my legs rolling so I will have a better go of it tonight.
In keeping with this schedule, not only am I able to ride on a daily basis, I’m able to maintain a pretty decent pace when it counts and I still have a couple of rides a week where I can just sit up and smell the fresh air (or office air as the case was yesterday – not quite as sweet, but better than struggling through the Tuesday night club ride).
It’s Time for Changes in Pro Cycling Coverage – Simple Solutions to Keep the Peloton on the Right Side of the Grass, Pumping Air.
Antoine Demoitié : 1990-2016 – http://wp.me/p1Wg03-fYd
A young racer was killed after he was involved in a crash. According to reports he survived the bike crash but was run over by a media motorcycle. It cannot be emphasized enough how ridiculously senseless the loss of a 25 year-old young man is because a motorcycle carrying a TV camera was too close to the cyclists to avoid running a kid over after the crash.
It’s not just Antoine. According to a linked article;
In 2015, the list of riders injured by race motos included Tinkoff riders Peter Sagan and Sergio Paulinho, both at the Vuelta a España; Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing) at Clásica San Sebastián; and Jakob Fuglsang (Astana) at the Tour de France. At the 2015 Ronde van Vlaanderen, Shimano neutral service cars took out both Jesse Sergent (Trek) and Sébastien Chavanel (FDJ).
The women’s peloton is not immune. Marianne Vos, the most decorated woman to ever pin on a race number, suffered a broken collarbone during the 2012 Valkenburg Hills Classic, after an incident with a race moto. A month earlier, Emma Pooley, an Olympic medalist and world time trial champion, was knocked off her bike by a race moto at the women’s Flèche Wallonne.
And who can forget Johnny Hoogerland getting knocked into a barbed wire fence by a support vehicle?
It’s time for cycling to enter this century in terms of race coverage because most of these accidents are entirely unnecessary – and coverage can be made better in the process. Here’s how:
- Take a note from NASCAR… Mount cameras on each bike. Most teams are struggling to make weight on the bikes anyway by adding lead. A small battery powered camera could easily be mounted on the head tube or under the handlebars.
- Run cable cameras, similar to those used in NFL stadiums, along the entire course (granted this is no small feat but if it saves lives – and it would – it’s worth the effort). This would make peloton coverage better because cameras could be moved to where the action is. Now, I’m not saying this solution would be easy – it won’t but done correctly the capabilities for great coverage would be stellar. This way all you need is the lead motorcycle(s) to clear the way.
This still doesn’t deal with the pesky team cars (maybe we go back to the olden days of fixing flats? Sure beats dying) but it’s a good start.
I love cycling. I love cars. I love motorcycles… All three zooming around together in a confined space sucks and I’m tired of seeing my favorite cyclists taken out by vehicles.
It’s time to fix this. Open up in the comments with your ideas.
It’s been cold in my neck of the woods and it doesn’t help that we ride early. Yesterday the cold finally broke, just in time…
My daughters are outside playing basketball, I’m dressed and sitting on the couch waiting for my wife to finish getting ready so we can head down to my mother’s house for Easter dinner. I feel awesome. We got back at about 11:30 from a perfect ride with many of my friends…
It was one of those cold mornings, it took ten minute of my car warming up to fight through the thick frost on my windshield. It was supposed to warm up quick though and with nary a cloud in the sky the quick warm up seemed plausible. I left a layer and a half off of my upper body and went with knee warmers and thermal tights on the lower half. I aired up the tires, filled the water bottles, loaded the bikes and packed my shoes, gloves and a cap to go under my helmet.
This photo was not taken yesterday, which explains why it is not sunny…
We arrived at the meeting spot, readied and headed out – five of us B guys, my wife (who is rapidly becoming a solid B) and Diane (on a tandem with Adam) and two of the A guys (and Dave’s wife with him on the tandem). Each one of us were stoked to be riding and the weather couldn’t have possibly been better – 40 degrees and rising, abundant sunshine and a mild single-digit breeze out of the south.
The pace was quite subdued, Dave and Craig were content to keep the pace reasonable to keep the group together and we just rode.
20 miles in and my wife and Matt were struggling staying connected to the group so I went back to help them. As is often the case, when I fall off the back, when I have a mile or three to ride at an easier pace, I recharge if you will. I was banking on that for my wife and Matt. My wife was game but every time I put the hammer down Matt would slip off the back. Simply put, I think Matt just doesn’t care about keeping up and holding a draft like I do. He knows the way back and he’ll get there when he gets there, and I respect that about him.
A mile later though, he was in so I set about trying to reel the group in without dropping my wife and friend. It went well at first, the group got closer, we gained almost half of the mile we were down back but it was an exercise in futility. I spent God only knows how many miles up front pulling, followed by a mile or two’s worth of rest before taking the lead again for several more miles.
We rolled into a small town store out in the middle of nowhere and the group was there waiting for us. I used the facilities, bought a Payday that I wasn’t going to eat and went outside to fire down a banana before rolling out. Total stop time was less than five minutes.
The rest of the ride was plain old awesome. I knew we only had 12 or so miles to go and we had a lot of helping wind. The pace was lively, halfway between 20 and 30 mph though we did top 29 for a goodly section (maybe three miles with a straight tailwind).
My wife and Matt were still with us turning onto the home stretch, just four miles to go. I was hurting, after the 44 miles the day before and I was awfully tempted to sit up and just let the big group go to ride back easy with my wife and Matt but I just couldn’t justify it. I stayed with the main group, took a turn up front and hammered it home.
37.84 miles, one hour, fifty three minutes and we pulled into the entrance to the parking lot. 20 mph average, give or take a tenth.
I ate a few nuts to tide me over until dinner at my mom’s house… It was a feast and I enjoyed every delectable bite. My wife and I curled up on my mom’s sofa afterwards and we took one exceptionally satisfying nap… before:
Yep, more carrot cake. Life is good. Thank God.
After our Easter Egg hunt this morning, my wife and I will be spending the morning on the road bikes. The weather is supposed to be perfect, much warmer than yesterday, and sunny. Then we’ll head down to my mom’s house for an early dinner party before coming home to chill out and watch a movie before going to bed for a good night’s sleep.
Doesn’t get much better than that.
It’ll be another 200+ mile week in the books. The weight seems to be burning off nicely and I’m glad to be out on the road again regularly. I missed it.
Happy days are here again.
Happy Easter, my friends. I hope you are able to enjoy the day well.
Enough said… though I’d extend that to medium well also, but I’m a steak snob so I shouldn’t count. Technically.
Power Line: The Week in Pictures: Superman vs. Batman Edition. http://google.com/newsstand/s/CBIwtIPb5ik
Eating on a bike ride is highly personal. It depends on how far, how fast one rides, one’s weight, how much one ate before riding, and how many calories one takes in with powders added into water (my personal favorite is Hammer Perpetuem for long rides).
I have a blog friend who was told you shouldn’t eat anything if the ride isn’t more than four hours long. This is among the most idiotic advice I’ve ever heard given to another cyclist – unless very specific criteria are met.
First, if I go out for anything more than 25 miles I bring a Gu. I probably won’t eat it, but I bring it just in case. More than 33 miles and that Gu is going down the gullet. More than 35 miles and I’m bringing a Gu and a banana. Fifty miles and I’m bringing an extra backup Gu just in case. We did 44 miles earlier today and I was darn near Betty White status at 23 miles. We took a minute to eat at 25 and I felt infinitely better, almost immediately (banana and a Gu). The last 19 miles were comfortable and fast. I pulled into the driveway with a smile on my face.
Here’s the trick, we did that 44 miles in less than 2-1/2 hours. 18.5 mph average in some pretty hefty wind and a lot of it in our face the last half. Without that fuel, I’d have bonked between 33 and 35 miles. It’s all in the pace. If I’m cruising around at 15 miles an hour I don’t need much in terms of food. I get into that magical “fat burning” Zone 2 and I can go all day. At 18-20 mph, and above, I need some calories to sustain the effort because I can’t ride that fast in the fat zone.
Now that is where pace and weight dictate what to eat. What about other calories? Hammer Perpetuem is calorie rich with all kinds of good stuff to keep one’s effort sustained. A bottle laced with Perpetuem obviously means less edible calories are required on board.
NOW, and this is important so pay attention you who happen to be newer to cycling… The tendency is more often for noobs to overeat on the bike. Gu’s, Perpetuem, bananas, sammiches, energy beans (Jelly Belly rocks)… Stinger products, the list is endless, too much is just as bad as too little and means you can’t enjoy that wonderful post-ride lunch or dinner.
In fact, I’ve read posts before written by people who consume two Gu’s for a 5k run or a ten mile bike ride. Now, if you happen to be doing that 5k while doing a handstand or riding that ten miles on a unicycle, then maybe I could see the need for a Gu. Maybe.
We want to find that butter zone where we’re not eating too much but we’re taking in enough to sustain our effort. To find that zone, I like to assume that I want too much but once I start heading down the path to feeling like Betty White, I have to rectify that immediately if not sooner.
So definitely, heading out for a couple of hours on the bike, eat a little bit. You’ll feel better and ride faster.
Ride hard, my friends.