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Fun 65 mile ride yesterday with Mike.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

From yesterday's 65 miler. Beautiful country in Clermont, Florida.

From yesterday’s 65 miler. Beautiful country in Clermont, Florida.

Yesterday my friend Mike and I decided to do a fun 65 mile Memorial Day ride. We were just looking for saddle time on a fairly long, but low stress, ride.

The route we choose was the entire West Orange Trail from Apopka to Killarney Station (~21 miles), then directly on to the end of the connecting South Lake Trail/Lake Minneola Scenic Trail (~9 miles). We then turned around and rode the same route back, with a an added ~5 mile (total) “out and back” offshoot on the short, but hilly, Hancock trail.

The total ride was 65.4 miles with around 2,000 feet of climbing. We kept the pace social, averaging around 17 MPH. Most of the ride is pretty flat (this is Florida, after all), but there’s some nice elevation in the Clermont area. The best climbs are on the Hancock Trail, which leads to the National Training Center.

Mike Simmons internalizing the biggest smile I've ever seen.

Mike Simmons internalizing the biggest smile I’ve ever seen.

Of course what goes up must come down, and so some of the descents after the climbs are pretty thrilling. Yesterday after the biggest climb, Mike and I rocketed down the other side. I spun out my gears, got in the aero position and topped out at 41.2 MPH. That’s the fastest I’ve ever gone on a bike. I liked it. 🙂 Mike’s hit speeds of over 60 MPH on his bike before (in North Carolina)!

I like to charge up climbs because they are there, plus I just enjoy climbing. There’s one short segment called Greater Hills Hill that will spike the hell out of your heart rate if you ride it hard. I did ride it hard yesterday, and my average heart rate was 191 BPM on that little section. I wound up with a new PR, placing 3rd overall out of 730 riders/3,209 rides.

A deadly Coral snake. This is the second time Mike and I have seen a Coral snake on a road ride.

A deadly Coral snake. This is the second time Mike and I have seen a Coral snake on a road ride.

I’ve been experimenting with different cadences a lot lately. I’m most comfortable mashing at slower cadences, probably because I’ve got big powerful legs.

Mashing–especially when in the drops–tends to bother my lower back. As long-time readers know, I’ve had lower back problems on and off since I was in my early 20s. So lately I’ve tried to focus on generating good power while churning the butter. I hit the aforementioned climb spinning at around 113 RPMs, which is quite high for me. I felt good and seemed to get up the hill pretty quick. I’m going to keep working on getting comfortable riding at high cadences without bouncing or sacrificing power.

Last week I grabbed the KOM on the segment West Orange Trails Fastest Section, and as we approached it I told Mike where it was. He said he wasn’t going to hammer it, but I knew better…

Mike managed to give himself the most glorious Cat 5 tattoo I've ever seen. He refused to wipe it off, so I kept 20 meters between us for the rest of the ride.

Mike managed to give himself the most glorious Cat 5 tattoo I’ve ever seen. He refused to wipe it off, so I kept 20 meters between us for the rest of the ride.

Sure enough, as soon as the segment started, Mike poured on the speed. I wasn’t going to chase him, but after I few seconds I decided I had to… 🙂

Mike rode a great time of 1:17, and grabbed 4th overall on the leaderboard. I rode a time of 1:12, which was a few seconds off my recent KOM time of 1:09. I got off to a slow start yesterday, and when I rode the 1:09 time my legs were fried from the the 8DC. I know I can go back and ride at least a 1:06 on fresh legs. That section really is fast and super to hammer.

Here’s the entire ride on Strava.

After yesterday’s ride my total cycling mileage for the month of May stands at a little over 571 miles (919 kilometers). 571 miles is a new single month distance personal record, and I’ve still got four more days. My May goal was to ride 1,000 kilometers, and so that’s looking very likely now….

I am going to have to back down on the miles towards the end of the week, though. I am doing a 100 mile group ride this coming Saturday. This ride will be my first century (my longest ride thus far is about 75 miles), and I’m very excited about it. I know that my legs, stamina and cardio are more than up to this task. The only thing that is of concern is my lower back, which has been bothering me lately. On yesterday’s ride I definitely had some lower back pain, but was able to work through it by changing my riding position and doing some stretches at rest stops.

I’m either taking today off from riding, or just going to do a short recovery ride. I probably should get some miles in, so the recovery option sounds most likely.

John Stone Fitness Comments

4 Responses to “Fun 65 mile ride yesterday with Mike.”
  1. Ah, back pains. Did you “un-flip” your stem to combat that? Now that I’m in my forties, I’m only in the drops when I’m burning a match, but in the 80s I would ride the drops all the time. Have you spent any time evaluating your on bike posture? Have you had a full bike fit?

    Here’s some reading (I’m guessing you most likely have already seen this though, judging by your constant thirst for information!):

    GD Star Rating
    • Hey Joe, yep–I actually did unflip my stem just a couple days ago. It’s still slammed, but I thought I’d see if having it pointing up offered any relief. Not really. It’s only a 7° rise, but I’ll probably leave it as-is for now.

      I think my bike posture is pretty good (thanks for the link, though, I’d not seen that article). But yeah, I’m definitely going to have a professional bike fitting done pretty soon.

      This is the same exact lower back aching that I’ve been dealing with for more than 20 years. I think all the saddle time I’ve put in over the last month is what’s aggravating it. And I really do prefer riding in the drops. Back pain aside, it’s by far the most comfortable and natural position for me–even more so now that I’ve slammed the stem.

      I think my main issue is flexibility. I think my hip flexors and hamstrings are not very flexible, and so putting down power while aero really stresses them (and, in turn, my lower back). I need to work on improving my flexibility in those areas, I think.

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