Monday, October 20, 2008

Track and Back

I learned a good lesson this weekend. You can only fake it for so long when it comes to endurance and training. I'm woefully out of shape when it comes to doing anything bike related that requires me to go for more than an hour or two at any type of reasonable pace. I need to spend some serious time if I want to get any level of bike fitness back for the next season. The plan is to kick my butt in gear and get to the gym along with buying a trainer and spending hours soaking the floor in my basement.

The morning was definitely a bit on the chilly side with temps hovering in the mid 30's when I rolled out of the house at 6. I thought the plan was to meet some others at Starbucks for some java before hitting the start of the ride. Nobody showed, so I sat and warmed up with a cup o joe and rolled to El Bait Shop around 7. The weather had turned quite a bit in that hour. It was now pretty much like riding in the shower with the amount of water vapor in the air.

My favorite part of the ride still has to be rolling through town with a police escort. It's great seeing a cop fly up to an intersection and block traffic for you. My friend Courtney and I were the early go getters and rolled clear to the start of the hills on Vandalia without seeing another rider. Grelk sliced by at that point in time cruising his streamliner. That was the last we'd see of him before we hit the turn at the racetrack. We held on to a pretty steady pace and made a quick stop at the Monroe aid station as our only stop on the way out. Somewhere around Reasoner the sun started to melt some of the fog cover off and we could see around us a bit. By this time, we'd hooked up with another rider from Iowa City and were rolling through a 3 person paceline. No real hammering, but we were upping the pace a bit now. I started to pop about 2 miles from the track and fell off the back as the other two rolled on.

We hit the track around 11 with just a shade under 18 mph average. Not bad for the amount of hills on the route. However, I looked back at last year's ride and I'd made the same jaunt a full mile per hour faster. This year they were a bit more prepared with food when we showed up. I was a bit disappointed that they only had water at the track though. After sucking down some lunch and giving the legs a quick break, I rolled a few laps at the track and headed back towards home. Courtney, The Rev, and I made up the return trio. The Rev pulled us all the way into Reasoner and I was getting slower and slower at that point. He made the executive decision to check out the bar and catch a bit of the game while we rolled on.

The roll home was pretty decent. The rolling hills took it out of me, but not quite as badly as I expected. We hit El Bait Shop around 3:15 in time for some beer and relaxation. I felt much better at this point than I did last year. Last year the last water stop wasn't set up so I was forced to trudge the last 15 miles on just a few sips of water in 90 degree temps. No worries this year as the stops were all staying put and the temps were much more agreeable. I downed my BBQ sandwich, two free beers, and added another on top before calling it good. I did win a new blinkie in the raffle so all was not lost. I rolled into home with 106 miles and 4700' of climb for the day. All in all, not too shabby.

Now here's where the training issue started to catch up to me. I've long contested that most anyone can ride a century, even a moderately hilly one like this. Having somewhere around 300 miles in the bank over the past 8 weeks, I was pretty sure I qualified as having no training for this ride and I made it in decent time with just under 6 hours ride time. However, I paid for it Saturday and Sunday after the ride. I think my body pretty much ate itself up to get me home. Though I really didn't feel that bad either day, I had absolutely zero energy. I bailed on riding Sunday morning and pretty much laid around most of the day yesterday. At least I proved my own theory...

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