Month in Review: July ’17

“Life… is like a grapefruit. Well, it’s sort of orangey-yellow and dimpled on the outside, wet and squidgy in the middle. It’s got pips inside, too. Oh, and some people have half of one for breakfast.”
– Douglas Adams

The month in review post…more than a week late. This post has a strong chance to be quite redundant if you followed along with the daily posts of RTYD IV, as that was certainly the highlight of the month.

The Training of the Century

The Beginning of the month was my first endeavor into multi-day 100-mile rides that went past just two days. I took big advantage of the holiday weekend and logged four 100-mile rides from Friday to Monday.

The first ride of the 4-day event was in June and was used as a nice send off for the Great Cycle Challenge. Those rides are highlighted in Weekend Training: 4 Centuries in 4 Days. Those rides were important because they informed me about the way my body would feel on days three and four when I’d have to get up and pedal another 100 miles even though I really wouldn’t want to.

The following weekend (July 8-9) did not go according to my masterplan. The original plan was to do 50-mile rides that weekend and then bring the bike in Tuesday to have the pre-ride overhaul done during the week. However, on Saturday’s ride, I popped a tire at the 46-mile mark and decided to just bring the bike in then. I wouldn’t get it back until the following Thursday, so I did very mellow 20-mile rides that weekend (July 15-16) to keep my legs loose and feeling good.

I had to run errands the Monday before RTYD IV so I wound up with about 13 miles of riding that day before putting up 777-ish miles over the next five days.

RTYD IV

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For the Big Ride itself, I have daily accounts of each ride (Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, Day 5) as well as a summary in the Day 5 post highlighting all the statistics and breakdowns of the ride, so I won’t go into those stats again here. I also made sure to write a special thank you post dedicated to everyone who made the ride a success.

Overall, I have had to recall the ride a few times to some curious individuals and my take-home messages are as follows:

  1. I was quite disappointed by my Day 1 performance. I came in just under my desired average speed. I am not sure if I was too tentative to open up the speed a bit, knowing how many miles I had left to go or what, but that really set the tone for the rest of the days where I would fall further and further behind my desired pace. When I inevitably find the next ridiculous ride to complete, I will want to revisit this and figure out a way to get my pace on point for the first day and get off to a better start.
  2. The disappointment of Day 1 was magnified when thinking back to the 4-day century weekend because I thought I would be fine until Day 3, as that was the day on those rides where it was a struggle to get the pace right.
  3. I really liked having my dad follow me for the last 80 miles or so, if for no other reason than the removal of the wretched backpack from my tired, cramped shoulders. If I do another ride, I would love to have a tail car that can carry supplies for me. It would speed up every aspect of the ride from stops to actual bike speed because that backpack certainly sapped speed from me, especially in the later days. I am also quite sure that the backpack is one of the main reasons my left pinkie is still slightly tingly numb even today at 2 weeks later.
  4. I have never felt less capable biking than I did on Day 4. The memory of that particular day is of feelings of helplessness. Nothing I did could restore any energy to my body and legs. I couldn’t move any faster or push any harder. I was completely spent.
  5. I think the missed alarm heading into Day 5 was a lifesaver because of #4.
  6. Not everyone is as comfortable with the urinating habits of a cyclist five days into his trip as the cyclist is.
  7. Leaving your wet, sweaty cycling shoes in a plastic bag for over a week post-ride and then taking them out in your basement office will inevitably generate a very vehement “put those freaking shoes in the garage right now, I’m dying!” response from your pregnant wife.

Coming Down

The aftermath of RTYD IV was some time off the bike. And by some time off, I mean the two days it took to get back to Iowa. By Tuesday, I was biking to school again. However, I would take the short way to work for the rest of the month and would spend a few days walking to work instead of biking. I have had two weekends since the big ride and I have yet to really go for a legit ride again. This has been due to wanting a bit of a break and having another marathon to complete, this time in the form of a work marathon, racing the clock against arbitrary deadlines for assignments. This weekend (8/12) will certainly mark a 30-mile ride to get back into the swing of things.

By the Numbers

Because of the multiple rest days before and after the Big Ride, I ended the month of July at only 1,300 miles, quite a difference from the 1,632 I put up in June. One interesting stat is that I put up 332 fewer miles in July but spent only three fewer hours pedaling; a mark of just how slow and plodding some days of the Big Ride really were.

By the end of July, I had logged 6,222 miles for the year. Again, my year-long record for miles prior to this year was 2015 at 4,180.7 miles. So with 5 months to go, I am above that record by 2,041.3 miles. Although I do not foresee me logging the same amount of miles I did in the first 5 months of the year (3,291), with the shorter days, I do think reaching 8,000 miles for the year is a more than obtainable goal.

Looking Ahead

I will not be able to log nearly as many miles going forward for several reasons including the changing weather and shorter days, the several weekends of travel I have in the Fall with weddings and the like, and the impending end to all of my free time in the arrival of our first tiny baby infant human near the end of the year.

If I go for another ride like this next year or in the future, I will set a year-long goal to hit 10,000 miles, I think. A nice round number to deal with our obsession with such numbers. We cannot celebrate 3,128 hits in baseball as a milestone even though it’s better than 3,000 hits.

Additional Thanks

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Another big shout out our additional donors to The Flutie Foundation. I had a few people donate after the ride, including Marie Gaine and Noreen and Ted Abel, bringing my total monies raised up to $1,500. Thank you so much.

full calendar - JulyTraining log July

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