Saturday’s 43 mile “Epic” MTB ride at Santos: report, pictures, video.
On Saturday morning Mike Simmons, Paul Lewis, Mark Huff, Daniel Cleaver, Jim Beyer and I arrived bright and early at the Landbridge Trailhead in Ocala, Florida. Landbridge is just one of several trailheads along the incredible and mammoth (nearly 100 miles of trail, and growing) Santos MTB mountain bike park. Our plan was to ride a slightly longer version of the OMBA/IMBA 42-mile “Epic” ride.
The forecast was calling for an absolutely amazing day, clear and mild with highs of around 78°. When we first arrived at the trailhead, however, it was downright cold at just 39° (F). The sun was coming up and we knew the temperatures would warm quickly, but the first couple miles were… uncomfortable. Some of the guys were smart enough to bring jackets and other outerwear. I was not one of the smart guys. Apart from my calf compression sleeves, I was in my usual XC Lycra and pretty darn cold. As we started our ride, the windchill made things even more unpleasant. I literally could not feel my face, and even my gloved hands felt numb. Thankfully the cold was only a factor for a very short time.
The ride was, in a word, awesome! We wound up doing 43 miles, and everyone had a fantastic time. The weather was so nice and we were having so much fun that the ride felt like much less than 43 miles. There were no serious mechanical issues, and everyone was in a great mood. I think it would have been physically impossible to not be great mood. There’s nothing like being out in the woods on a beautiful day mountain biking with a bunch of friends. I’m smiling just thinking about it. 🙂
For the most part we were just out riding and having fun and, with just a couple of exceptions (Paul and Daniel rode blistering times on Ern ‘n Burn!), none of us rode for time. That said, quite a few PRs were set out there on Saturday! Personally I set somewhere close to 20 PRs, and with one exception (shown in the video) I was not riding for time. I love riding fast and pushing myself, but it was very nice to be out there just riding with friends and not thinking at all about Strava.
Of course I still uploaded my ride to Strava (it can be found here), and there’s some interesting data to be gleaned from it. I’ve done longer rides than the Epic at Santos, but I’ve only done the actual “Epic” one other time. That time was back in early September 2012 with Mike and Jim. Back then I was not in peak condition, and I had some leg cramping issues late in the ride. While I’m not in top physical condition right now, I’m in much better shape than I was last September. The data from Strava backs that up…
Last September when I did the Epic I rode 41.7 miles, my average heart rate was 171 BPM and my average speed was 9.7 MPH. Total moving time was 04:18:03. Strava assigned that ride a 342 (“Epic”) Suffer Score.
Strava’s Suffer Score, by the way, is based on heart rate over a given period of time.
Saturday I rode 43 miles, my average heart rate was 165 BPM and my average speed was 11.7 MPH. Total moving time was 3:40:21. Strava assigned Saturday’s ride a 240 (“Extreme”) Suffer Score.
So comparing Saturday’s ride to September’s ride: I rode further in less time, my average speed was 2 MPH faster and, despite riding faster, my average heart rate was 6 BPM less than it was when I did the same ride back in September. Also, unlike the September Epic, this time I suffered no cramping or fatigue issues.
There’s no question that I’m in better shape now than I was back in September, but I’m still not quite back to the condition I was in towards the end of 2012. I’m training hard, and I expect to reach, and surpass, that level of conditioning this month.
Okay, enough talk. Here’s a video of me and my friends tearing it up on Saturday. 🙂