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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Ride Report: Ride 4 United Way 2013 (160km)

I did the Ride 4 United Way today, 160km.

Started out in the main pack, nearer the front.  This may have saved my butt as there was a pretty good crash behind us, all we heard was the sound of bikes hitting asphalt - badness!  Hope all were OK (especially the bikes).

My challenge at this ride has always been the ferocious hills, and right now I'm far from my optimal weight so that challenge was magnified.  The first big hill is at Solina, and as usual I was dropped from the front pack.  That was not entirely unexpected, and fortunately this year there were a couple guys that I teamed up with and took on the next 10km or so with.  But then we hit some steep rollers and I couldn't stick with them... pop!

I rode on my own for a little bit, then was swallowed up by a larger group from a local bike store.  I didn't really enjoy it, I was the only one not from their store in the group, and they didn't seem to want me there very much.  I stuck with them anyway for about 30km (since the other option was tackle the headwind on my own) but at some point we met up with a couple other guys and I hung with them instead.

After the halfway rest stop, I knew the hills got much worse, and there was little hope of sticking with any group. Went out on my own, which wasn't that big a deal since mostly it was tail/cross wind and lots of climbing.  I descend pretty fast on my own, being 20lbs over my ideal weight!  The only time it comes in handy.

At about the 100km mark is "Heartbreak Hill", very very steep climb.  Even with the triple (sacrilege!) my cadence went to nothing and I struggled up...

One other guy caught me when I stopped to fill my bottle, so we rode together for 20km or so.  That was great, nice to have someone to work with and chat with a bit.

Then we got stopped by a train.  That train then stopped, blocking the crossing, while another train came from the other direction.  Then the first train finally started moving.  I don't know how long we were there, seemed like an eternity!

After that people kind of spread out, and I was on my own for the last 30km.  By that point I didn't mind.

Felt really good at the end.  I really stayed on top of my nutrition - close to 10 bottles of Gatorade/Heed by the finish, which should have been good for ~1500 calories or so (probably more, I mixed them pretty strong!).   Also had a full caffeine coffee beforehand, which I don't normally have, but allegedly if your body isn't desensitized to caffeine it can have endurance performance benefits.

Average speed was nothing to write home about, but the hills really are killer on this route.  28.3km/h vs 26.7km/h last year.  Like I said, nothing to write home about, but nice to improve.