“I was at this casino minding my own business, and this guy came up to me and said, ‘You’re gonna have to move, you’re blocking a fire exit.’ As though if there was a fire, I wasn’t gonna run. If you’re flammable and have legs, you are never blocking a fire exit.”
– Mitch Hedberg
Finally, a post about weekend training rides that does not revolve around ridiculous wind gusts. Both rides this weekend were at what I am now calling “optimal cold temperature.” When the temperature is in the low 30s and you are properly layered up, nothing goes numb and your water does not freeze. Thus, you are about as comfortable as possible when in layers.
I should preface all cold talk with another disclaimer about how I am a complete wuss in the cold. I blame a certain percentage of that on my inability to circulate blood effectively to my extremities, but I know that is only part of it. I know certain riders whip their shirts off as soon as temperatures hit the low 60s and I’m still in a windbreaker and sometimes long pants at those temperatures.
Another thing to note for the weekend was how tired I was at the end of the Saturday ride. My legs were quite heavy and I found it difficult to push through the last dozen miles or so. This was more than the normal heavy, mind you, and as I discuss later, I may need to adjust my weekday mileage to account for it.
Saturday started off quite poorly. I woke up and my wife came to my side to provide me with a full, unnecessarily detailed regaling of her nightmare where her friend drove their car off a cliff. I, too, had a nightmare and want to make the claim that my nightmare is equivalent in its level of terror, if not a full surpassing of plummeting to your death like my wife experienced. In my nightmare, my wife approached me to tell me she spent $250 to obtain a dog and $250 dollars to get a haircut.
For those who do not know, upon marrying my wife (almost by choice), she immediately cut her hair, which struck me as a huge amount of false advertising. So to have her do that again and pay that ridiculous sum of money, well, I think that one could equivocate the two nightmares.
As the editor of all of his posts, Joe’s wife would like to interject here that a dog and a haircut are not, in fact, worse than driving off a cliff with your best friend, you delusional prick.
After the storytelling session and a fair bit of debate (clearly ongoing), I headed down to prep breakfast, which consisted of some bacon, orange juice, and a new oatmeal pancakes recipe. I liked these pancakes quite a lot and one batch made enough for me to eat Friday night, Saturday morning, Sunday morning, and Sunday afternoon. One mistake I made with this breakfast is that I ate around 8 am but didn’t leave for the ride until noon. I should have had a small supplement about an hour before leaving. I would attempt to rectify this by eating earlier and more often while on the ride.
For this ride, I needed to get over 60 miles and with negligible winds, I headed East and South. I went back to eating the Appalachian Trail Cookies, which I had made for a previous weekend training session. I had three of these during the ride at the 13-, 24-, and 34-mile mark and also had a Special K Coconut Cashew Bar at the 43-mile mark.
Although these cookies are currently the frontrunner for best fuel on the bike, I think I am starting to get into long enough distances that I am going to want another form of food that isn’t granola. I will need to decide whether the best option would be a smoothie or some homemade energy gel or fruit that has a different texture to break up the monotony of granola bars and cookies.
After the ride, I had a quick chocolate banana smoothie with another Trail Cookie. That evening, my wife and I went to dinner with some friends where I had French onion soup, a burger, and a few of my wife’s spicy chicken wings. I have noticed that eating the way I have since January has made eating out more of a challenge because eating restaurant sized portions in one sitting like that causes my stomach to get upset and I’m generally not one to leave leftovers.
Heading into Sunday’s ride, I took my sweet time leaving. I had another breakfast of oatmeal pancakes and then sat around for awhile waiting for the temperatures to heat up to that balmy 32-degree range that Saturday so lovingly bestowed upon me. I also felt very tired with my leg fatigue from the day before carrying over. Given this, I spent a big chunk of time foam rolling my calves and stretching before I left. I didn’t make the same mistake as Saturday, eating a quick snack before leaving because of the early breakfast/late departure combination.
I took the same exact route as last Sunday, only stretching out another 4 miles on the end to get into the 35-mile range. After heading West and North, then turning back East for the most climb, I really felt like I wasn’t generating any power in my legs at all. I was averaging normal speeds, though, so perhaps I am making more of the fatigue than is really necessary.
As I mentioned in the February review, though, I am currently destroying all other milestones in terms of weekly and monthly mileage compared to any previous time in my history of biking, so fatigue is certainly expected. My current trajectory and training has led to me aiming for 100 miles over my four-day commute Tuesday through Friday. As a result, I take 10-, 13-, 20-, or 30-mile routes to and from work Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, and shorter commutes on Friday, treating that more like a cool down day with the longer weekend rides ahead.
In addition to the 100-mile work week quota, each weekend is met with a 5-mile increase. This week, the goal was 60 and 35, which means next week, I will aim to get between 65-70 and 35-40 miles on successive days over the weekend. All of these miles have crept me up to the 200-miles-per-week mark. Given my current leg fatigue, I am wondering if scaling back the weekday mile load is in order. I think I will aim for 80 miles this week and see if that keeps my legs more fresh come the longer, harder weekend rides.
In addition to the tired legs, I am noticing more aches and pains while in and out of the saddle. The past two weekends have resulted in sharp pains in my neck on the left side. I am not sure if this is a posture thing or not, but it’s certainly something I will need to keep my eye on and adjust as needed.
My bum is also getting more sore by the day. I bag balm near daily now to keep the chafing at bay as much as possible.
Overall, none of these aches and pains are unexpected. The key will be to constantly adjust and gain more comfortable while pedaling. Stretching is becoming more and more important as the miles add up and my wife is starting to question whether I need to consider regular massage as part of the process.