Weekend Training: I Wheelie Like You (Valentine’s Weekend)

“[On] Valentine’s Day, I’ll present my beloved with a shiny bauble I bought from our favorite store. Next, I’ll take my honey out for a sunset cruise, maybe to the spot where we first got acquainted. Later, back home, I’ll give my baby a bath. Then I’ll gently dry my sweetie and turn out the lights. I’m talking, of course, about my bike.”
– Scott Martin, roadbikerider.com

When nothing remarkable happens, you are left wondering if something actually even happened at all.  It’s funny how a lack of drama is usually what one craves when going on slightly long rides and yet, the lack of drama leaves the description of the ride as something like the following:  I pedaled a bunch and got where I was planning on going.

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Best road sign ever.

For Saturday’s training ride, I took a route that turned out to be 40 miles with Google Maps only taking me the wrong way once. The temperature was significantly warmer than last weekend by nearly 20 degrees–such a joy to ride in 45 degrees and not 25–and I also switched from a standard water bottle to a hydration pack, which I plan to use for the July tour, so getting used to it now is very important. Even though a frozen water bottle won’t be an issue on a summer ride, reaching down for one and risking another potential mishap with a parked trailer is something I’m keen to avoid.

One issue I’ve found with the pack is that more readily available water means more opportunity to over hydrate, which is a very real concern if you’re not properly informed on how to hydrate safely and appropriately for the activity you’re doing. So with a direct line of cool, refreshing water literally two inches from my mouth at all times, I have to make sure to not just drink and drink and drink just because it’s there and available.

I made sure to eat two granola bars in this ride instead of one, like last Saturday.  About 10 miles more distance and a smaller breakfast made my stomach feel a bit grumbly after waiting to eat the first granola until 16 miles in, so lesson learned.  I had eaten a half of a homemade Greek Yogurt Oatmeal Strawberry Banana Waffle and a small bowl of granola cereal an hour before I left.  I would have liked to have more time between eating and leaving in order to let the food settle and digest but I had accidentally slept in, my wife and I had afternoon plans, and I really needed to get on the road.

The consequences of my lackadaisical morning prep weren’t as bad as I’ve ever experienced but they weren’t ideal–further proof that nutrition leading up to a ride is just as important as nutrition during and even after.

As a brief aside, the afternoon plans that rushed me out of the house that morning involved my wife, her friend, and myself road tripping to see some friends about 80 miles away for the day.  The two of them are an amazing couple and got me thinking that their place might serve well as a potential stopping point for some good old fashioned couch surfing between century rides, as they live about 100 bike miles from our house in Iowa City. This serves as added motivation because they may be relocating this Fall, so I need to hurry up and utilize said couch post haste.

Other than my somewhat botched food intake that morning, I was successful in planning out a route that did not incorporate a dirt road. This required actual minutes spent on Google Maps street view at every turn to make sure the road was suitable for smooth and swift forward motion of a two wheeled vehicle.  Also, no dog attacks. Always a positive.

This coming weekend, due to two consecutive and really unavoidable rest days this week, I will be switching over to doing two bigger rides, with Saturday’s ride being the longest and Sunday’s being ½ or ⅔ the length.  This will begin to get me more used to back-to-back days on the bike.  As training progresses, I will continue to increase these distances until I get into back-to-back century rides.

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