Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Apparently the theme for this week is that every post has to be titled with a number.  So today's title is 101.  Which is the number of miles I rode my bike for yesterday.  This was in fact my first century ride...

Here's how it went...

The plan:  I was only supposed to ride somewhere around 90 miles in zones 1-2 according to my training plan.  However I have this irrational fear of distances.  And 90 seemed awfully close to 100.  And whats an extra ten miles right?  Why not get the confidence of getting that first 100 mile ride behind me.  So 100 miles became the goal.  I created a 50.8 mile route on map my ride and downloaded it to my Garmin Edge 800 so I could follow the course with that and not have to worry about directions.  I decided to base the route of a recent ride I did with a friend of mine in Little Compton / Westport / Dartmouth area and ride two loops.

So with that done it was time to get ready.  I often find it amazing how much extra time it takes to get ready for big workouts.  Checking the weather, prepping your bike, getting your clothes ready, and mixing up all your nutrition takes a significant amount of time.  But with all that done it was time to go to bed and await the uncertainly of my first century ride.  I went to bed thinking about how to pace it...   never having ridden for just under six hours before I had no idea and really did NOT want to blow up in the middle of the ride.


Tuesday morning I got up, ate breakfast, drank some coffee, read some slowtwitch and when I'd finally run out of excuses and coffee I loaded up the car and headed out to go ride.  I had brillianty decided to start my ride from Gray's Ice Cream in Little Compton, RI so that I'd have a lovely post ride reward!  I'm smart like that sometimes.

I loaded up the bike with a bottle of water, and my one calorie bottle loaded with 1500 calories worth of a mix of Hammer Perpetuem, Hammer Gel, Gatorade, and water that makes a delicious fruity paste full of energy.  I then stuffed two extra water bottles in my bike jersey to get me through the first 50 mile loop and off I went.

I'd forgotten how hilly the last ten miles of the ride I had just done that I based this route off of.  Apparently I'd put that part of the route in my first ten miles.  So I had to contend with ten miles of rollers right out of the gate.  I kept a VERY close eye on my wattage at this point as I really didn't want to run out of gas on my ride.  So I kept a wattage ceiling of 240 watts and tried to climb at 200 watts whenever possible.  Nice and easy.  My plan was not to set any speed or power records today.  The goal was just to cover the distance feeling comfy, try and stay aero as much as possible and get it done.  So my power goal was to average 140 watts and look for an average speed between 17-18mph.  Just a bit below goal race pace for the ironman.

Five miles into my day I hear the nasty sound of my rear tire going flat....   so ten minutes later I'm up and going again without issue.  Fortunately the five miles of riding and the sun had the rear tire nice and loose so it wasn't bad getting it on and off.  Psychologically a flat at 5 miles into a century wasn't fabulous.  But what can you do but change it and get going again.

After the first ten miles the next 30 or so miles are fantastic.  Fairly flat, or lots of false flats, super gentle descents.  So I made up a lot of time and for the slow speeds on the climbs here.  There are some great roads in that area with decent conditions and not a lot of traffic.  I was enjoying staying aero, focusing on drinking lots of fluids and making sure I was taking in enough of my calorie bottle.  At around the 30 mile mark I began to wonder if I could survive 100 miles on my saddle.  I was starting to get quite sore, but fortuantely for me by mile 40 that seemed to have worked itself out and I was comfy again.

Somewhere around mile 40 is where I had changed the route from what I had ridden before.  I did it blindly knowing nothing about the roads I'd chosen other than that roads in the area are generally pretty great.  Well I sadly chose some rougher roads that slowed me down and shook me a lot, but I got through them ok.  The last ten miles also had a couple of nasty climbs in it and some more rollers.  But at least I knew the car and the end of my first lap was almost there.

Once at the car I got ride of my empty bottles, blown tube and other trash, restocked on fluids and got going again.  I hit the lap button on my bike computer so I could try and negative split the ride which was my goal.  Or at the very least even split the ride and not fall apart at the end.  I caught a nice second wind and almost but not quite enjoyed the ten miles of rollers.  Once onto the flat roads again I felt pretty good till around mile 70 or so.  30 Miles to go...   little less than 2 hours and my stomach was starting to feel weird and I was getting a headache.  Not sure what that was all about...   but I suspect nutrition.  I started to really crave gatorade.  Maybe for the sodium, or maybe the sugar?  I passed  a gas station not long after that and stopped in to get some.  The cold gatorade tasted AMAZING considering it was close to 80 degrees out and sunny for most of my route.  I immediately perked up which makes me think I need to change up my nutrition as I don't have it quite right yet.

I downed the first 20oz bottle of gatorade very very quickly and loaded up the second one to get through the rest of the ride with.  Once I hit about 3/4 of the way there the rest of the miles really started to drag.  I just kept an eye on the power and cadence numbers and tried to keep up my effort level.  There was some construction I'd hit around mile 40 on the first lap that had a policman directing traffic I'd chatted with as I went by.  He looked pretty surprised to see me again three hours later.  It was pretty funny.  Other than that the rest wasn't too eventfull.  I enjoyed watching the miles tick by as I got closer and had a huge smile when I watched the 99 tick over into a 100!  I'd done it!  One more mile of easy pedalling back to the car and I could get an ice cream!

Of course turns out after that effort my stomach wasn't sure what it wanted... and I wasn't sure it wanted ice cream.  Then I get to the window and they have 1,000 choices and I cant decide so I paniced and just got some lime sorbet.  Which was great...   but not perfect. 

So how did I do?  Lets look at the numbers....

Lap Distance 50.8 Miles per Lap.

Lap 1: 2:56:46 135 Watt Avg 17.3 mph avg
Lap 2: 2:56:40 140 Watt Avg 17.3 mph avg

So I managed to negative split the laps by six seconds and keep a dead even average for the entire 100 miles. Wattage wise there was a nasty headwind that kicked up for Lap 2 which is why the same speed cost me five more watts.  Overall I'm quite pleased.  I rode within myself and didn't go crazy so I didn't fall apart.  I've put in a TON of hours training lately so 140 watts isn't much, but its a decent effort for the amount of strength left in my legs currently after a very busy week of training and riding 70 miles only a few days before.  I also learned some great lessons from this ride.

1.  That my goal to average between 18-19mph for the B2B is realistic and will leave me with some energy for the run.
2.  That my nutrition isn't 100% dialed in, but I did do great with water consumption and timing of finishing the calorie bottle.
3.  Pacing by wattage and cadence is definitely the answer.  I'll also keep a loose eye on heart rate as well.  I spent the whole ride trying to be at 140 Watts at a cadence of 90.  Worked great.
4.  That I can currently spend about 5 out of 6 hours in aero.  More will come with time.
5.  That I still can't for the life me wrap my head around having to run a marathon after riding 112 miles.  I need to work on that one.

All in all a great ride and I'm glad I have that first long one behind me.  Today is a much needed day off before the rest of the week's training.  I'm definitely still feeling a little tired from yesterday, but otherwise feel pretty good.

Oh and speaking of loosely looking at heart rate.  I often pay closer attention to it post ride to make sure I'm staying in the zones I should be.  My goal for this ride was to spend most of it in Zone 2.  Which for me is about 150 Watts or so of power and 130 bpm heart rate.  Heres the chart from training peaks showing my nice and even heart rate stuck solidly in zone 2 for six hours. : )

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