Extremely tough 106 mile training ride with Dave Viney.
This past Saturday’s WMBC group ride was the 170 kilometer/106 mile Salt Springs route, which is one of my favorite WMBC (We Must Be Crazy) rides. The route is very scenic, and has some nice rolling hills along the way, giving us about 3,400 feet of elevation in total.
I’ve ridden this route this many times, most recently in mid-December with a small group of strong friends: Hector, Jose, Alberto and William. The five of us averaged 21.7 MPH on that ride, and we all had to work for it.
The Crazies tend to do B-paced rides, and so I figured I’d just show up, get some base miles in and enjoy the more social pace. Well, all that changed when Dave Viney emailed me on Wednesday and said he was going to be there. 🙂
Who is Dave Viney? Among his lengthy list of accolades, Dave is a multiple Canadian national Masters time trial champion, and a multiple North American Masters time trial champion. His engine is strong in any cycling situation, but he is an elite-level time trialist with a very impressive cycling resume. He regularly crushes people half his age in competition.
Dave and I have ridden together several times in the past. Our most recent ride was a 143 kilometer/88.2 mile training ride in late December (here’s the ride on Strava). We averaged 22.3 mi/h (35.89 km/h) on that ride, and I came very close to cracking towards the end of that one. Of all the people I’ve ridden with over the years, no one has ever hurt me the way this guy does.
Needless to say, I was very excited that Dave was going to be at the Salt Springs ride! He mentioned that he was bringing a friend, Ellert, so that was our core “A” group.
It was fairly cold when we rolled out, and the pace was a leisurely ~20 mi/h for the first 20 miles or so. We lost about half the group at around mile 13 when they stopped for a SAG (I am an outspoken critic of this early SAG stop, and refuse to acknowledge it when we’re riding). 🙂
After the first 20 miles we started to ramp up the pace, and by mile 25 there were just five of us remaining in the “A” group: me, Dave, William, Brian and Ellert.
We made a SAG stop at mile 44. At that point the weather was warming up nicely, and our average speed had risen to 21.4 MPH. We decided that we were going to do the last 62 miles/100 kilometers at a much faster pace. The increase in pace was not going to be easy, as we would be dealing with a stiff crosswind or headwind almost the whole way back.
After the SAG the pace began to lift considerably, and it didn’t take long before our little group began to blow apart. William tapped out around mile 55, Brian told me he was done a couple miles later, and at about mile 65 we lost Dave’s friend Ellert.
So, with 65 tough miles already in my legs, I was looking at another 40 with just me, Dave, the hills and the wind. “This is going to hurt“, I thought.
I thought right.
Dave was riding his time trial bike (I really need to get one), and when he was pulling he would get down on his aero bars and just settle into a fast groove. The guy is an absolute animal, and matching his pace even when I was drafting was incredibly painful; maintaining the pace when I was pulling was excruciating.
Our average speed between mile 50 and mile 90 mile was 23.8 mi/h–and keep in mind we were fighting crosswinds and headwinds. I was in the deepest, darkest corner of my pain cave.
As most of you know, I’ve been eating under maintenance for five weeks as I cut down nearly 25 pounds. Being in a significant caloric deficit for more than a month straight obviously is not ideal preparation for long and difficult sustained efforts like this one. Unfortunately just past mile 90 the chickens came home to roost, and I bonked.
All at once I felt my energy leave me. My legs turned to jelly, and I was instantly weak. I guess the only surprising thing is that it took 90 grueling miles for it to happen. Anyway, I grabbed an energy gel from my jersey pocket and sucked it down as I rode, but it took a couple of miles for the gel to work its magic. By then I’d lost Dave’s wheel, and once you lose Dave Viney’s wheel you ain’t getting it back.
So I rode the final 15 miles solo, and the wind made that chore especially difficult. I finished the 105.4 (170 kilometer) mile ride with a 21.9 mi/h (35.25 km/h) average, my average heart rate was 156 BPM, and my normalized power output was 218 watts. I set a new 5-hour wattage lifetime best as well. My Strava Suffer Score was 266 (“Epic”). I’ve only had an “Epic” Suffer Score three other times, and I’ve not bagged an Epic since 2013. Here’s the complete ride with all data on Strava.
As I wrote on Strava in my post-ride notes, that was not my fastest century (my fastest century average is 23.3 mi/h (37.5 km/h), which I did at the 2014 Horse Farm Hundred), but it was certainly my fastest with a very small group of 2-5 guys the whole way. I also believe it was my most painful ride, like, ever. The 30 mile stretch between mile 60 and 90 was particularly tough, and took everything I had to continue. You know you’re hurting when you start wishing for a flat tire. 🙂
I’ve always said that if you want to get faster, ride with people who are stronger than you are. Training with a North American and Canadian time trial champion certainly falls under that category, and I know that ride made me a better cyclist.
Dave, thanks for bringing the pain.
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