Sunrise bike rides are some of my favorite training activities. Today was a century (aka 100 miles) ride and was my first since last summer’s Ironman Florida preparation. I’ve been steadily building the distances. Johnny had a 5hr ride on my training schedule which is not enough time to ride 100 miles, but Bryan Philips asked if anyone would join him on his 100-mile ride so he wouldn’t have to do it alone or stay on the trainer.

โœ‹๐Ÿฝ Challenge accepted!  I’ll ride with you brother.

The night before the ride I received my quarterly post-surgery blood test and PSA levels are still undetectable. Meaning there are no signs of metastatic prostate cancer ๐Ÿฅณ.  As a result, I felt lighter and super joyous during the long ride. When things became the most difficult, around mile 80, I remained grateful that I was able to be out doing what I loved. I still remember how painful sitting on a bike seat was just 6 months ago.

The weather was perfect, the upper 60’s at the start with almost no humidity.

 

The ride was better than I expected.

The triathlon club met at our usual spot just before dawn which is special because the energy of the group is like an invisible bolus of caffeine mixed with excitement. The club splits into different distances and paces, but we all set off together. Brian, Cruz, and I were doing the longest distance today. Most of the others were doing 55-65 miles.

We rode our typical 100-mile route to the marina and back. It is about 15 miles short of 100 so we have to do short detours & squeeze in the extra miles along the way. The wind was at our back for most of the outbound ride (a southern trajectory), so it felt very easy.  Using these long rides as race rehearsal, I stay within my prescribed power ranges with few excursions even when that means I get left behind by the group (this is 100% ego training too).

Practicing and figuring out nutritional best practices is a high priority. By adding UCAN Superstarch to my plan I notice a dramatic difference in energy levels. I don’t have my typical highs and lows that come with big swings in my blood sugar levels. It’s not very soluble so I don’t leave it in a bottle and drink it throughout the rides, instead, I mix it with 10-12 oz of water and drink it about 30 minutes before I begin and then again about 2 hours into a long training session. For on-the-road hydration and fuel, I still use Infinit nutrition but with about half of the amount. I realized that something in the mix gives me gas. In addition, recent blood work has indicated that I’m consuming too many carbohydrates, my A1C is approaching pre-diabetic levels. It’s time to be more strategic with carbs. Finally, I’ve been very conscious and increasing my salt intake during the longer bike rides (Base Salts). The tweaks and changes appear to be having a beneficial impact.

    • I didn’t bonk at all. I got tired, but it was more fatigue than running out of energy.
    • I didn’t experience any leg cramps. This was a first. I’ve been able to prolong them, but never have I eliminated them. I believe that the salts play a huge role here.
    • I began to get hungry around mile 43. A small bowl of oatmeal before the ride and the protein in my Infinit mix sufficed. At mile 50, the turnaround, we stopped and refueled at the marina. I bring peanut butter and a few protein bars for this purpose.
    • Unfortunately, I was too thirsty towards the end of the ride and my urine was becoming darker / concentrated.  I was sweating faster than I was drinking. Perhaps I should change my goal from 1 bottle/hr to 1.5 bottles/hr. Becoming dehydrated on the bike will ruin my chance of having a good run during the race. Playing hydration-catch-up is not a winning strategy.
    • Using UCAN Superstarch works very well for me. Infinit gives me lots of gas and I run out of energy more rapidly. Combining the two products are working well. I’ll keep tweaking this combination.

Stay aware of the mind tricks during long efforts.

We rode the first 50 miles non-stop which was another first for me. The wind was largely at our backs so our average pace was at or slightly above 20 MPH. I rode by power with the goal of keeping it under 165 watts for the majority of the ride. The whispering voice in the back of my head kept telling me that 50 miles were too far to go non-stop and that 165 watts would wear my legs out.  Even in the face of contradictory data and experience self-doubt always seems to find a way to permeate my quiet mind.

My handling confidence in the aero position has increased a lot. I took a 90-degree turn at 22 MPh just as a truck pulling a boat was coming through the curve from the opposite direction. I had to stay in my lane or hit the truck, no time to get out of aero. Just lean and maintain control. To my surprise, I didn’t feel scared even when I had to be confident in my bike’s ability to hold a deep lean. I think I scared the driver though

The ride back was mostly into strong headwinds. Bryan was very strong and didn’t seem to tire. Cruz was good and keept up with him for most of the way back whereas I rode behind them so that I could keep my power within my desired range.

Around mile 80 I remember my butting hurting a lot. I began thinking about Ironman Florida and wondered why I sign up to do such long uncomfortable races. At that moment, all that I wanted to do was get off the bike and lay on a couch. The thought of riding another 32 miles (112 miles total), then running a full marathon was absurd. During these low points, I focus on what’s going on with my body and doing my regular check-ins to distract myself.

  • Am I keeping my cadence higher than 80? I find that I’m more comfortable with a cadence around 90 instead. How do your legs feel?
  • Still taking salt regularly?
  • Hydrating regularly, how much is left in the bottle?
  • How’s the breathing? Deep and diaphragmatic?
  • How long can you stay in aero this time? Can you make it to <insert distant random landmark>?

The final push was agonizing. My mind was worn, and my butt hurt a lot. We didn’t quite get the route correct so we needed an extra 8 miles when we returned to our starting area. This was a huge morale destroyer. All along the way, I’m thinking almost there, push just a little longer. Then we realized just how off were. FUUUUCCCCKKKK!!!

We did it, as we always do. Finished the strong!

I am grateful to have riding buddies like Cruz and Bryan who also love to push themselves. My journey is lighter and brighter because of them.