Monday, May 20, 2013

100 Miles of Harvest Moon

After I killed myself (in a good way, really!) last weekend I was instructed to do "6 hours of easy riding (because 6 hrs on a bike isn't easy)" by my coach.  Let me tell you, my "easy" barometer is whacked.  I have no idea if "easy" means something "not hard" or if it means "ride on the flattest bike trails in the city".  I have lost my sense of easy! 

I figured 6 hours = 2 loops of a local half iron course called Harvest Moon.  It wasn't the textbook definition of "easy" but it wasn't "hard" either.  In years past, it was challenging but very doable.  I emailed my coach my plan, and she said go for it.

This course is practically in Kansas with lots of exposed rollers.  It can be windy (and usually is).  But the good thing about it is that I could easily get in two loops and it wasn't far from my house.  One of my CDA training buddies (Jackie) was nice enough to join me and I roped in another friend (Dee) from my tri club to ride with us for the 2nd loop.  Hooray for no longer doing long rides by myself!

* random sidenote:  seriously, I ride with people for nearly all of my rides.  Huge contrast from my IMTX training, where nearly every ride was solo.  I am so much happier this time around.

Loop 1 was to start at 9 AM, Loop 2 at 12:15, giving us 15 min of padding for stops.  I brought half my nutrition with me, knowing we'd be back after 3 hrs to refuel.  It was slightly chilly (and I was worried about rain), so I wore my running tights and a jacket over my cycling outfit.  We took off for our 6 hour adventure.

Immediately, my friend could tell that my hill climbing has been paying off.  Normally, we'd be equal or she'd be a bit ahead of me.  This time I was ahead of her, and early on in the ride, I was doing hills in my big ring.  I was so happy riding that I completely missed our first turn.  Rather than turn around, I just decided that we would do the first loop counter-clockwise.  Hills are hills, it doesn't matter which direction you do them in. 

We're riding along, doing just fine.  Stopped once at mile 15 to adjust our layers (I took my jacket off).  More riding.  I'm going along and I hear a weird noise, look back, and my friend is now horizontal on the road.  Bad.  I flip around and she had a pretty decent wreck.  She had her spare tubes crammed in the back of her rear bottle cage. One of the tubes popped out and got jammed in her rear wheel, effectively acting like a full-stop break at 18 mph.  She was lucky - some road rash, a bit of carbon damage to her bike but not in a critical spot, and some pride.  But nothing was broken.  Lucky.  So after that fun, I sent a text to our friend Dee asking for 1st aid supplies, and we were back on the road. 

We got to our trucks at 2:40 into our ride, so I opted to ride into the park to use the bathroom (and get some extra distance) while Dee bandaged Jackie up.  I came back and my stomach was growling, so I inhaled a bunch of chews.  It was cool so I wasn't drinking much, but I wasn't exactly eating much either.  I took down ~200 calories and promised to eat every 30 min on the next loop.  I had drank ~30 oz of my 40 oz of EFS (300 calories), so I refilled that as well.  
Eastern plains.... please don't rain on me!
We left about 12:25 and decided to head back doing the "proper" clockwise loop.  That meant we were saving the big rollers for the end, but it also meant that we didn't have to do a steady climb back either.  Things were going pretty well until about an hour into the 2nd loop where my bike started making this really loud banging noise.  Over the next few hours, I figured that it is somehow related to my crank, as it would make the noise semi-regularly when my right foot was at the bottom of my pedal stroke.  It would make the noise pretty consistently for a while immediately following a quick stop, and the noise seemed to happen with hard pedalling or soft pedalling.  I dunno.  It will be looked at this week.

Smiling and happy at mile 77
We stopped at every turn, just to make sure we didn't lose Jackie.  She really worried me.  Normally she's very peppy and chatty.  During the 2nd loop, well, meek is the best way to describe her demeanor.  Or quiet determination because she was likely hurting and was channeling all of her energy into finishing the ride.  
We made the final turn and had ~15 miles of rollers.  I was curious to see where my legs were, as I was 77 miles into the ride.  Suprisingly, my legs felt good.  I didn't push it up the hills, I still spun, but my heart rate wasn't too high and my effort felt good.  My nutrition was good as well.  I didn't quite manage to eat every 30 min, but it was close enough.

We got back to our trucks, having completed the two loops, and I went back out on the main road to play catchup.  We kicked ass on the second loop, 43 miles in 2:35 (5 min faster than the 1st loop).  I decided I needed to finish up my ride to 6 hrs total and headed back out on the road with rollers.  To my suprise, I still felt *really* good and decided to push things a bit.  A few mental calculations, I realized I would be at 98.5 miles for 6 hrs and I needed to ride a tiny bit more for an even 100.

Boom.  First century ride since 2011.
100 miles, 6:06, 16.4 mph
Loop 1: 16.0 mpm
Loop 2: 16.7 mph
3922 ft climbing

This was the fastest century ride (with the most climbing) I've ever done.  I was curious to see how I'd do, since I've been doing harder/shorter rides instead of distance.  Apparently I can do distance just fine.  I even felt like I could do quite a bit more riding.  Merlin felt comfy, I didn't have any significant comfort issues.  I even forgot to bring chamois butter and had to use tri slide, but my saddle area was just fine.  I also got new cycling shoes (and hey, I went up a 1/2 size) and my feet felt GREAT all day.  Now if I can get that clanking noise worked out, life will be good :)

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