Yesterday was a beautiful day, down here in the Houston Area!
I was able to get together was a local Triathlon Group- I’ve ridden with them several times and I really put a lot of my improvement to their credit.
I knew this was going to be a 40+ mile ride. So I prepared by ensuring great nutrition on my rest day(Friday) and the morning of the ride.
I got all of my gear set up the night before. Made sure all of my Gels and Gu’s were in my trusty day trip backpack(it was a cool little birthday gift from Backwoods last year- My wife and I use them all the time haha). Went through and did full mechanical checks on everything( more about this in a little bit). I also got my kit ready, however it had apparently not been washed since my Thursday ride.So I tossed it in the washer Friday night, just before bed. I figured I would try something new, since I was going to be getting up so early, and put it in the dryer on “fluff”. Well this turned out to be a bad idea. Cause at 6:00 A.M. I was pulling on wet and cold kit and hating life for a few minutes. In the end, I was mostly dry before heading out the door and I was dry before the ride started, so no biggie.
With a Roll Time of 7:00 A.M. from my Buddy’s house, I got up at 5:50. Immediately went and started a small coffee and some oatmeal. Got dressed( with a few curses and and shivers) and got my tires pumped(15 minute drive to the meet up so figured why not air em up in the comfort of my warm home and wet kit?) and then settled down a bit to eat my oatmeal and drink my coffee.
While I was eating, I also got in a few stretches to help warm me up a bit(some injuries have to be babied everyday- and if you treat them right, they never bug you…. mostly).
I took off around 6:35 AM and got to my Buddy’s house right at 7. It was a bit chilly so I opted to wear arm and leg warmers and put a light running jacket on as well. I also had my thermal skull cap. I just used finger-less gloves, as I never “feel” like my hands get that cold as long as I have some blood pumping(and if that stops I have other worries).
I situated my gear with opened gels/gu’s in my right jersey pocket, an extra heed mix packet in my center pocket, and more gels and gu’s in my left pocket, along with my knife 🙂 I open them and have them positioned so I don’t need to fumble around trying to get a gel out while riding. It has worked so far!
I had my water in one bottle and mixed Prepetuem into the other. I had the Heed packet, just in case I finished the Perpetuem and felt I needed more electrolytes.
For my Nutrition Cycle during the ride, I am continuing to use the 10(ten) minute timer method. So after the first ten minutes, I pop a Gel and 2 squirts of water. Second 10(ten) minutes I take 2 squirts of whatever I have mixed(if I am only carrying water I skip the gel on the second cycle). Then I just rinse and repeat this. So basically every 20 minutes I am getting a bit of calories, protein, carb’s, and electrolytes. So far this is working well for me- as we will talk about in a minute. haha.
So we take off from my Buddy’s house and get to the park that the group is meeting up at and we wait as more peeps arrive. On our way we actually pick up another one of the riders in the group. It kind of worked out like you would see in a movie- as the group moves along another one just drops right into place- it was pretty funny and cool too.
Once everyone arrived, we were 9 riders deep. Nice little crowd!
At around 7:45 we head out! The first 15 miles of the route we took I have done before. We stopped at another local park at the 13 mile marker and took a break. This was in a park. This part of the route would not be repeated, as it is a ride in, turn around and ride out portion of it. We all stretched our legs and made sure everything was riding okay. At this point, I took off my light jacket and rolled it up and put it in my center jersey pocket. It is a running jacket, so it packs pretty small, but not as small or convenient as a cycling jacket. There may be one of those will be in my future :).
Everything else was feeling and working fine. I was feeling great. The pace was low enough I was having a good conversation with a couple of the other riders. We took off again after a few minutes and continued our journey.
Just before the 15 mile mark, one of the riders peeled off and turned around- that is what he had planned on doing as he didn’t have the time to do the full ride that day.
So now we are down to 8 :). As the morning progressed, the sun came out and the temperature warmed just enough to be nice and toasty when we stopped, but the air felt great while we were moving.
Since it was such a beautiful day, we saw several other individual riders and groups of riders, getting their own miles in for the day. Good Times!
The roads were busy at times, but we were very visible, as we made sure to keep closely together for the first half of the ride. We also managed to hit every single red light possible. I am pretty sure we hit a couple that weren’t even there(least that is what it felt like haha).
At about the 28 mile mark, we had another rider turn around. Again this was planned and we were prepared to lose another one, haha. We made our turn around stop point at the Starbucks on the Kemah Boardwalk. This was about 30 miles in (per my Garmin- I had an extra 2 miles on the rest of the group since I had left from my Buddy’s house). We did quick checks and had a little cup of coffee. A few head breaks and some water bottle refilling and we were good to go. We did chill for a bit and sat and talked. The day was so nice, we couldn’t wait to get back on the road.
We finished up our rest stop, put our gear back together and got out of there!
The ride back was a bit more difficult, as we had a headwind most of the way. What had come from a 18-19 mph ride turned into a 16-17 mph ride fast. We ended up separating into two groups, one at the 17+ mph range(I kept up!!) and one at the 13-14 mph range. The front group did stop often to let the slower group catch up, that way we were never separated by more than a few minutes.
We made it to the 39 mile mark and took our next break! I was still feeling good. This is now 2 miles further than my longest ride! Although I could feel fatigue starting to set in. I was making sure to stick to my nutrition plan, even if it felt like extra effort to drink or eat. This worked pretty good all the way until I couldn’t keep pace with the faster riders. I was already back to a portion of the route I have done before, so I was comfortable riding on. I ended up not making a right turn though. And looped through a neighborhood- which was cool cause it added more miles to the tally!
At this point I was noticing that My chain didn’t like the middle of my rear cassette when trying to shift up, I would have to “click” it twice and it would “jump up” an extra gear. Woot, I have finally ridden my bike enough to need a service!! Another milestone down! I would also like to attribute my failure to make the turn to paying attention to the mechanical issue- newb mistakes 🙂
After contacting my Buddy and being rescued, lol, we got back on course and made back to his house safely. All in all it was a great day and truly awesome ride.
Total Mileage: 53.46 MILES!! This beat my longest ride to date by over 16 Miles!
Although I did have to slow down a bit near the end, I never bonked! This is showing me that my nutrition plan worked pretty well! It also showed me a very good level of fatigue. So I know I have the strength and my endurance is really picking up. I’m so proud and excited to see and feel these gains in my abilities. So often you improve but don’t see it from your personal perspective. This was a great experience and I can’t wait for my next long ride! But that will probably wait for at least next weekend haha.
So for the day we had zero flats. Zero Falls(although I made a solid attempt to fall at the meet up location- but we won’t count that). Zero other mishaps. Excepting my taking a longer route hehe.
The sun was shining. We had great people in the group. We couldn’t of asked for a better ride!
I linked it below if you guys want to take a look!
Thanks for reading everyone! Leave me any comments or questions!