Sunday, August 12, 2012

Longest Ride Ever (Barely)

By about 1.5 miles today's ride was my longest and while I'm undoubtedly fatigued it was a great workout.  I got off to a much later start than I'd planned (maybe good practice for riding during the hot part of the day), but lately I've been letting myself get a bit of extra rest when my body wants it on a Sunday morning.  Gearing up for the long ride also took longer than normal; I wanted to be properly prepared and have a good plan for my day's nutrition (not to mention enough sunscreen).  I left the house with plenty of Clif Shots, 32oz of water, and 6 scoops of Carbo Pro with 20oz of water in my other bottle.  I suspected I may have been short on water and as it turned out I was right - more on that later.  

As far as the route itself, today's ride was a straight shot along the service road of the Long Island Expressway.  I don't often ride the service road (as many other Long Island cyclists tend to) because in many areas there are traffic lights approximately every 1.5 miles.  On a good day you can keep catching greens but you are bound to get hung up every now and again.  There isn't typically much traffic on the cross-streets so I can usually get through by slowing down, shifting to an easier gear, and crossing after checking that the coast is clear.  Today though I went further than ever before and as I made it further east the lights were fewer and farther between.  

Early on in the ride I caught up to a group of about 6-8 riders some of whom were clearly triathletes.  I quickly ended up towards the front of the group and rode several miles alongside a guy headed for his first half-iron event next week (Timberman).  At one point we must have made it through a light which his buddies got caught at and realized we were way out in front.  He signaled that he was going to wait for them to catch back up and despite enjoying the camaraderie and banter I said my goodbye and pedaled onward.  

It wasn't too long after leaving Timberman that I met another fellow rider, this one riding solo.  He shot past me at a traffic light I was stopped at but I caught up and we starting talking.  We were out for similar rides and while he was clearly a stronger rider (tapering for the Livestrong century ride in Philly) we rode together for about 2 hours.  Despite the offer for him to pull me in his draft we rode side-by-side for the majority of the ride.  I figure that since I'm riding solo in Arizona, I may as well train that way.  The ride was good and the overcast sky helped to keep the sun at bay.  I probably rode too hard early on in the ride and I felt it as the miles built.  My legs began to fade as I entered my third hour of riding but I was able to maintain my cadence and prepare for my run.  For the 3hrs and 45mins I rode at an average speed of 18.1mph and covered 67.96 miles (but who's counting).

The only real hiccups of the day were that my feet were barking big time and I think I could have done a better job hydrating.  I haven't really experienced the foot thing before but I will definitely keep an eye on the situation in my upcoming long rides.  I may even consider getting a better insole for my cycling shoes.  As far as the H2O, after about 3 hrs I was completely out of liquid and had to stop and get a water refill.  I will need to either start riding with more (i.e. buy more cages) or be prepared to stop for a refill along the way.  I'm not certain but I think the lack of proper hydration is what leads to mild stomach cramps once I start running.  The cramping today was minor enough though and I had no problem making it through the 30 minute run.  In fact I felt better during today's run than I felt during any 30 minutes (even the first 30) of yesterday's long run.

All said this weekend's training was tough and the going is only getting tougher.  These next 97 days (as I was reminded earlier by the Ironman Arizona website) are going to push me to, and beyond, my limits.  I can't wait!

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