Saturday, June 13, 2015

Biking Progress ... Will Be Interrupted

Our New England vacation will soon be upon us and my RAGBRAI training will be interrupted for a couple weeks. Not sure if I'll miss the rides or will be relieved to have a break. I've said before, I like the idea of RAGBRAI but I'm not thrilled with all the training rides. Having said this, I've made progress since my last cycling update back on May 22.

Last Tuesday, a day when the temperatures peaked at 99.6°F (37.6°C) in our backyard, I pushed my personal best up to 51.2 miles (82.4 km). It was 73°F when I started and in the low 90s when I finished. While this is a good distance, the shortest RAGBRAI leg is 56 miles long ... with more hills ... and probably hotter ... and windier. I must be crazy.

Anyway, things are looking up. A few weeks ago I started taking snacks with me while riding. This started while I was reading "Faster, Higher, Stronger" which pointed out that the body stores enough fuel for between an hour and two of exertion. Since my bike rides were pushing over three hours a snack seemed logical. I started with fruit snacks which are essentially gummy sugar bombs. They worked as I had more energy but my body would crash after I got home and it took a couple days for my muscles to recuperate afterwards. Then I ran out of fruit snacks.

After running out of fruit snacks before grocery day I decided to fill the gap with a Clif Builder's bar and a bag of my personal homemade trail mix (two parts almonds, two parts walnuts, one part each of pumpkin seed, dried cherries, dried blueberries, and dried pineapple). While I was riding I really didn't notice a difference but afterward ... after the past two rides my muscles have recovered in less than twelve hours. I'm not totally sure it's that added protein and fat or if my muscles just crossed some threshold but I'm planning to pack Clif bars and trail mix when I ride RAGBRAI just in case.

I fit in a shorter training ride yesterday afternoon and I hope to get another one in either tomorrow or Monday. I don't intend to go for any personal bests until I return from my vacation. The good thing is, a 'short ride' has shifted from 32 miles to 42 miles now. My next goal before RAGBRAI will be 60 miles (96.6 km) by July 11 (a week before the start of RAGBRAI). Not sure I will be able to make this goal, having been off the bike for two weeks, but I won't know unless I try.

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