Sunday, June 12, 2011

Finding the Threshold

Where I rode to today
I'm pooped. After 84 miles and 5 hours in the saddle, my body is saying enough. I've always wondered exactly where my threshold is, and today I found it right around mile 75. At that point, my quads where tired, tight, and aching. Even with the wind helping me from behind, I couldn't find the energy to muster a speed above 18 mph. I think part of this was not eating enough as I rode, the other part being battling the wind for 40 miles. The combination of the two pulled a one-two punch to make my body say okay, let's slow down and call it a day. I would have, but I still had 9 miles to go until home.

I read recently that when a person rides a century, the 85-90 mile mark is the wall, much like the 18-22 mile mark is the wall for marathoners. The longest distance I've ever ridden is 62 miles, so I figured my wall might come sooner than 85. It did. At that point, I pulled out a fruit and nut bar to eat and drank some water. I slowed down some and stood on the pedals for a change in position. I kept changing position for several miles, and before long, I was feeling somewhat better. I think my mental state was fine. I wasn't eager to get home and just be done with the ride. In fact, I knew I was going to be short of the 86 miles I wanted for the day to give me an even 200 miles for the week. I tried to figure out a way home that would add on those two miles. The only way to do it was to turn right into the wind again. I couldn't bring myself to do it. 40 miles of wind was plenty for the day.

Haven't seen one of these in a long time
I totally enjoyed the ride as it was a new route that took me to a small town north of home. There I met a very kind gentleman who had cycled RAGBRAI a couple of years ago. For about an hour, we stood outside Casey's and chatted about his experience. He keeps his bike on the carrier attached to his car just in case he comes across a place he thinks would be a good ride. I like that. On the way back, I met two happy-go-lucky dogs who trotted alongside for a short time then got bored with my good-doggy dialogue. The rest of the ride was actually very quiet and smooth.

I'll definitely do this route again. I'm looking forward to seeing if my threshold improves, but even more than that, I'm hoping the winds will be calm the entire time.


John Romeo Alpha said...

85 miles is impressive to me, and it seems that if you were cheating, I mean drafting with the group, 100 would be very doable once you made 85 alone in the wind.

JK said...

LOL. I watch the cycling events and think how much easier it must be to be a part of a group, drafting off one another to conserve energy. My problem is I like cycling alone, doing the work all on my own.