Taking stock on my final hard training ride before the XFL.
Yesterday morning I looked at my training calendar, and I noticed that the last ride I did of any real length was exactly one week prior. That ride was just shy of 125 kilometers/90 miles at about a 20 MPH/32 KPH pace, and since then I’ve only done a series of 32-50 kilometer/20-30 mile rides at various intensities ranging from mild to aggressive.
I felt like I needed to get one more hard training ride in before this coming weekend’s 274 kilometer/170 mile cross-Florida (XFL) ride. Yesterday was pretty much my last chance to get a good training ride in, as I need to be fresh and tapered for Sunday’s XFL ride.
So I sat down at my computer, and mapped out a nice 103 kilometer/64 mile loop that took me north to 42, then west on 42 before turning south on 450.
I was in the mood to ride solo yesterday, and with no one to paceline with and share the workload I figured finishing the ride at a 20 MPH/32 KPH average pace was a good goal. Also, it looked like I was going to be riding into a headwind for a fair amount of the last half of the ride, so I knew that I was going to get a good workout.
In addition to the training aspect of the ride, I wanted to sort of take stock of a couple problems that I’ve been dealing with. Specifically, my lower back, which I injured a couple weeks ago in a bike wreck, and some saddle soreness that I’ve been experiencing lately.
It was somewhat cool when I set off, but it didn’t take long for things to start warming up. Before too long I was sweating heavily, and chugging down the water. Also, right now the pollen is everywhere! My eyes and throat were itching, and my sinuses were a wreck. All you folks up north who were jealous of the mild Florida winter, you can gloat for the next 6 months or so. It’s going to be a long, hot summer here…
Despite the heat and the pollen, I was feeling good yesterday. My heart rate was a little higher than I would have liked to have seen it, but I think that was a combination of the heat and the fact that I was riding solo.
My injured back was aching a little bit from time-to-time, but for the most part it was a non-issue. I’m sure I’ll be feeling it once I’m deep into the cross-Florida ride, but I’m fairly confident it won’t be a major issue.
I’ve also made good progress with the saddle soreness I’ve been dealing with. First, I need to explain exactly what’s going on. I posted the following in reply to a question about the saddle sores last month:
“These are not traditional saddle sores (as I understand them to be), nor are they on my ass. What I’ve got are skin inflammations right in the crease where my legs meet the rest of my body (tant-ish area). These inflammations are moderately hard, puffy and sore, but they don’t have heads on them, nor are they “open” (they are not bleeding or anything like that).”
Here’s a picture of the sores, which you definitely do not want to see (WARNING!! Nudity–graphic image).
I have tried all kinds of over-the-counter products to get rid of the inflamed tissue, and you know what actually seems to be working? Preparation H. Yep. I guess it makes sense, as the product is designed to reduce inflammation. I picked this tip up from some fellow cyclists, and I’m glad that I did.
So my lower back and the saddle sores seem to be, more or less, under control. Those were my two biggest concerns heading into the XFL ride, so I’m feeling pretty good about my overall condition as the big day approaches.
Anyway, back to yesterday’s ride…
As expected, I did encounter some fairly strong headwinds on the return leg of the journey, and I had to really push hard to keep my pace up. I wound up completing the 3h13m ride at an average pace of 19.8 MPH/32 KPH, 202 watts average power (210 weighted average power) and 160 BPM average heart rate (157 “Extreme” Strava Suffer Score).
Now it’s time to do some shorter, low intensity rides. I want to be fresh and well-fueled for the ride across Florida on Sunday. I’ve done lots of century rides, but my biggest ride to date is still just 172 kilometers/107 miles. I feel like I’ve done everything in my power to prepare for Sunday’s long 274 kilometer/170 mile ride, but there’s no question it’s going to be challenge. I’m not worried about my legs or cardio, so as long as my back holds out I think I’m going to make a solid showing.