Sunrise departure

This morning, I had a wonderful 40-mile ride with the B-Group of the Pearland Triathlon Racing Club. The temperature and humidity are on full blast these days, so we started the ride at 7 am. The goal is to get out and back before the temp gets too hot. Also, the roads are mostly empty early in the morning, so it’s safer for us. 

This was my first outdoor ride since the performance assessment earlier in the week and I had the results on my mind from the start of the ride. In particular, I kept thinking about the balance of managing my power and not riding too hard while leading the ride, and being concerned that I’m going fast enough to give the rest of the group a proper workout. 

I didn’t really volunteer to be the “lead” rider and route planner. It just happened and I haven’t shaken the role, actually, I’m learning a lot about how to ride in a group. In addition, I learn the difference between confidence earned from experience and arrogance. Many of the group riders are long-time racers and will give a new person enough rope to show themselves. Inexperience is very quickly recognized, so humility is always the better option if one desires to be welcomed into the group over time. 

Leadership lessons

One mistake that I made when planning the route was omitting a halfway rest stop. A gas station is usually what we use. Riders can use the bathroom, get cold beverages, and make any adjustments to their gear that they need. One of the long-time riders asked me where the turnaround was and then pointed out that I should incorporate one. I agreed to make the change. We discussed the best way to modify the route and still maintain the desired mileage. Typically, a last-minute or en route change is not a good thing to do. The route is posted online a day or two prior to the scheduled ride and many people download it to their bike computers because they are not familiar with the roads. The plan is to keep the group together for the entire time, but occasionally, someone may get a flat, have to stop or even get left behind. If that person has the route on their computer and we’ve changed it on the fly, they have little chance of catching up with the group. But, since it was so hot, having a pit-stop was an important addition to the ride, so I added it. 

Training focus

In addition to focusing on managing my power and staying in zone 1, I chose to start my ride in a fasted state because I need to train my metabolism to use fatty acids as fuel. For the first hour, I only drank water with added electrolytes. I began drinking my Infinit Nutrition about 90 minutes into the ride – I felt the fatigue beginning, so I knew it was time for some calories. 

We were all hot and I was dripping with sweat during the last half of the ride, yet, I was able to maintain my fastest pace while keeping my power output in zone 1. The wind was in our back during most of the ride back

My third objective was to practice holding the aero position for as much time as possible. My shoulders still get fatigued too quickly and that makes the aero position uncomfortable. Part of the issue is strengthening and conditioning my muscles to adapt to the position. The other aspect is having a proper bike setup for the position, which I don’t think I have yet. I have spoken with some experienced riders and they all suggest that I get a “tune-up” bike fit to further optimize my position. I have had two local bike fitters recommended, so I’ll contact both and see if I can get it done before Ironman 70.3 Lubbock.

Overall, I met some new riders and had a great morning feeling alive.