“There was a point to this story, but it has temporarily escaped the chronicler’s mind.”
– Douglas Adams
Training this weekend was very abbreviated. The original plan was to do two 50-mile rides over the weekend and bring the bike into the shop this Tuesday, giving them five days to give it an overhaul. However, with about five miles to go in Saturday’s ride, I got a flat tire (shocking), so I decided just to bring the bike into the shop then. I expect to have it back by Wednesday or Thursday and I’ll do some easy spin 20-mile rides through next weekend, taking Monday off to rest, pack, and try to sleep.
Even with the abbreviated weekend training, Saturday’s ride was going very well. I planned on pushing the pace on Saturday, trying to log a top speed for the 50 miles and then do a light spin on Sunday’s 50 miles. I did get a good session on Saturday, pushing myself as much as possible. My total speed was 15.7 mph and that was affected only by one major stop where I refilled my water bottles and searched in vain for some Excedrin (I took it out of my bag apparently) as a bit of a headache was setting in. My moving speed average was 16.5 mph. I think that’s a decent moving speed given the 2,000-ish feet of climb the ride contained.
I left closer to the afternoon for this ride to get used to some heat riding. Ever since my weekend in the heat, I have been leaving very early in the morning, switching my sleep schedule to a 2-4 am rise time so that I can avoid the majority of the heat. This tactic will continue for the Big Ride but the daily miles required will inevitably push me into the late afternoon so I will inevitably be confronted with several hours of pedaling in the heat. It was not overly hot on Saturday but pushing the pace like I did simulated the conditions I may be in on Big Ride afternoons well enough.
A Week Without a Bike
With no bike, my training will be more focused on recovery and stretching than in piling up some last minute miles. Instead of biking, I’ll be walking to work and the time I would spend in the saddle will need to be spent stretching and relaxing so my muscles are ready to go come the early morning of Tuesday the 18th.
Eating wise, I will be ceasing any caffeine intake to make sure it’s as potent as possible when it comes time to pedal Tuesday morning. I will probably eat lightly during the week and then start stocking up on carbs Friday through Monday to get ready for the estimated 20,000 calories I will burn over the 5-day ride.
I have thought about this ride every day since late January, poring over the details and the route to take. I’ve spent 428 hours on a bike since the New Year and at least half of those were spent thinking about this ride, contemplating whether or not I’d be able to do it, where I would run into trouble, planning for mistakes, and worrying about failure. I’ll be thinking all of those thoughts and more while pedaling through the Big Ride, I expect.
At dinner on Saturday, my wife asked if I was in danger of over planning as I railed off the list of supplies I would need to bring. I said, “For me, there is no such thing.”
My mind has never really understood the idea of rest, of letting things be. I have images of my father, a hobby DJ, writing out a painstakingly thorough step-by-step instruction guide for plugging in his equipment so he can go into any gig with the idea that as long as he follows those instructions, everything will work the way it’s supposed to. I expect to find myself packing and repacking my supplies, making sure I have everything, finding the best arrangement of items all with hope that if I can account for every possible contingency, I will be able to find success.
Upcoming Big Ride Details and Live Updates
We will be posting shortly a preview of the Big Ride, complete with mileage and expected weather. Once the ride is underway, my wife will be providing live updates throughout the day via Twitter (@cycologyphd) and Instagram (@doctorofcycology) and a daily blog post of my completed ride and a general rundown of each day of the ride for those of you who wish to keep track of my progress.