Tough 132 KM ride in the wind and heat.
Wednesday’s 121 kilometer (75 mile) hill training ride, which gave me a new single-ride elevation personal record of more than 6,100 vertical feet, didn’t seem to affect my legs too much: on Thursday I did a light Zone 1 (Recovery) 32 kilometer/20 mile ride, and my legs felt 85%-90%. I was very happy about that.
I wanted to get one more good ride in before I disappear into my pain cave for TrainerRoad’s “8 Days in California” event, which starts tomorrow. I had a choice to make: there was a small (three of us) 132 kilometer/82 mile group ride on Friday morning, and also 106 mile/171 kilometer WMBC group ride on Saturday morning.
I decided that doing a century less than 24 hours before a very tough 8-stage “race” might not be the wisest thing to do. I elected to do the slightly shorter Friday ride so I’d have a day of recovery before the 8DC.
Before embarking on our journey, the forecast was discussed: high temperatures above 90° F, a nice tailwind while heading north, persistent crosswinds while heading west, and then a strong and relentless headwind for the final 65 kilometers/40 miles. There was talk of altering the route, but I was looking forward to the challenge. My vote was to ride as planned, and so we did. My goal was to complete the ride at a 32 KM/H (20 MPH) pace.
So our compact little group of three (me, Tracy Draper and David Benzel) set off bright and early from Wooton Park. The planned route promised to be very scenic: we were to head north, then west, through the beautiful Ocala National forest; the route then turned south into the wind, winding through the always amazing Emeralda Marsh.
Early in the ride I was feeling some frustration as we slowly slogged our way out of the congestion and traffic towards more remote roads. Our average speed after 7 miles was just 27 KM/H (17 MPH), and by the time we had open roads I was ready to drop the hammer.
With no more traffic to impede our pace, we flew north, enjoying the scenery and the nice tailwind. When wee reached the halfway point of the ride our average speed was up to 34 KM/H (21.3 MPH).
Of course what goes “up” must come “down”: that nice tailwind became our brutal adversary (um, I mean “training partner”) as we turned south for the final 65 kilometer (40 mile) leg of the journey. Added to that, it was now extremely hot.
We went to war. The three of us took big, multi-mile pulls as we fought our way south. Despite the strong headwind, I was still determined to finish the ride with at least 132 kilometers (82 miles) at a 32 KM/H (20 MPH) pace.
David wanted to cut the ride a little short. I was fine with that, knowing I could continue to ride once we got back to home base, and so the route was altered. When we arrived back at Wooton Park my average speed was right at 32 KM/H (20 MPH), but I was still about 5 miles short of my self-prescribed 82-mile goal. I told our little group that I was going to continue to ride, and asked if anyone wanted to join me for another five miles. David was done, but Tracy was in for another five.
I wanted to make absolutely sure I met my average speed goal, so I rode the final five miles at a little over a 21 MPH average. I was surprised that my legs still felt so good after Wednesday’s 121 kilometer hill training ride and the hot and windy ride we had just finished. The benefits of riding every single day and maintaining a very clean, healthy diet, I suppose?
Considering the slow start, the very strong winds during the second half of the ride, the heat and only three of us to share the workload, I was very proud of our small group.
I wound up with 132 kilometers (82 miles), 2,297 feet elevation and a 32 KM/H (20 MPH) average. Total ride time 4:05:59 (hah, that’s literally 1 second faster than a 20 MPH average over 82 miles), average heart rate 143 BPM, average weighted power 193 watts, average cadence 89 RPM and a Strava SufferScore of 136 (“Tough”). You can check out the entire ride with all data here.
So this morning I’m definitely feeling some general fatigue, and my legs are a little stressed. I’m going to do a light recovery ride, take it easy for the rest of the day and hope I am ready for the first stage of the “8 Days in California”, which is tomorrow morning.