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Clydesdales/Athenas (200+ lb / 91+ kg) Looking to lose that spare tire? Ideal weight 200+? Frustrated being a large cyclist in a sport geared for the ultra-light? Learn about the bikes and parts that can take the abuse of a heavier cyclist, how to keep your body going while losing the weight, and get support from others who've been successful.

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Old 05-20-12, 03:03 PM   #1
Mithrandir
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First long distance event ride

Today was my local bike shop's 21st Spring 50 ride. Gorgeous day for it. Almost no wind to speak of, and the temperature in the morning was nice. In fact when I woke up it was still pretty cold, so I chose to wear my heavier wool socks instead of the new nylon ones. Sort of a mistake, but it didn't cause any problems.

Felt like a fish out of water again; I was easily the heaviest person there by 150 pounds again. You'd think I'd be used to that now, but I keep expecting one day, people my size are going to realise how awesome biking is and come to these things. I suppose I'm still very atypical. Regardless, I came there expecting to finish long behind everyone, so I set a different goal for myself. I wanted to hit 13mph average on a 50 mile ride. My previous best average on a 50 miler was 12.4mph, so 13mph should be a nice enough bump but also within the realm of realism. Over 100 people were there by my reckoning (I was the 95th to sign up). About half the people were doing the 25 mile version and the other half were doing the 50. Since I did my first 50 of the year last weekend I know I'm trained up to that level again, so I resolved to do the 50.

Ride started off well. Did 3 miles of slow warmup before everything began, didn't include that in the actual ride data though. Most people passed me easily enough, but I expected that. Slow and steady was my motto for the day. Surprisingly for the first 10 miles I was averaging over 15mph, even though we were going into the (very minor) headwind. I was with a group of 5 people at the very back of the ride, but unfortunately the other 4 decided to stop off in Akron at the 12 mile marker to take the 25 mile route. They all looked at me like I was crazy when I continued on the other way on the 50 mile route. I suddenly found myself alone.

Eventually I caught up to another group of 3 people, but they apparently decided that they made a mistake choosing 50 miles and turned back around the 14 mile mark, leaving me solo once again. I could see one more fellow about a half a mile in front of me, but I was never able to catch him and completely lost sight of him somewhere on Bunker Hill. I hadn't been paying attention to my speed but I was flying and didn't realise it. Around mile 30 I finally checked my GPS and it said I was averaging 14.6mph. That's clearly a record for 30 miles, I don't think I've ever averaged that much for that distance. Unfortunately that's about when the heat started becoming an issue, and my average dropped.

When I reached Strickler road in Clarence I finally pulled out my headphones and turned them on, trying to use music to set my cadence and keep my focused. A few people came up from behind me, which was confusing, but they explained that they had gotten lost and went an extra 2 miles. A bunch more came cycling by in little groups every few minutes or so until finally one lady decided to stick with me because she had no idea how to make it back.

Things started getting iffy near Main Street. The wind completely died and there was a long incline in the broad noon sun. I suddenly felt my skin boiling. It's funny how I spent the last 6 months cursing the wind in the winter and early spring, but at that moment I would have given anything to get a nice cool gust of wind. My water was reaching perilously low levels and all the ice had melted by this point. My thermometer was reporting 102 degrees, but it always reports a little high when it's in the sunlight. Speed was dropping like a rock, my average fell to 14.0 mph, but I was still very happy. Well maybe not totally. There was a point when I felt bad because I knew I was so far behind everyone, but I kept trying to tell myself that at this point last year, 8 miles was a tough bike ride... and I needed a break halfway through that! Today I had already gone 35 miles without a break, and I could finish the rest without needing to stop! So taken in that context, and given that I was a full 1mph above my target speed, I suddenly felt much happier.

Around mile 40, things started clicking again. I'm not sure what happened but I suddenly felt much better and started hitting 17-18mph for half mile intervals again. I finished the ride strong, and there were at least 2 people behind me that I could see. So whereas I figured I would be finishing last, I finished at least 3rd last!

When I got to the picnic area, I met up with the group of people who left me at 12 miles, and they said "We thought you were crazy, but you seemed to know what you were doing so we didn't try to chase you down and tell you that you were going the wrong way!". I couldn't argue with the crazy part.

Another man came up to me and remarked that he was amazed that I biked 25 miles. To which I replied "Oh, no, I did the 50!". His eyes literally bulged at that. I'm full of surprises.

So today was an amazing success for me. Demolished my goal by a whole 1mph and came in 15 minutes ahead of schedule. 3 hours 21 minutes moving time, 3 hours 23 minutes total time (traffic light stops only). 14.0 mph average speed, 29.1 mph max speed (Akron is fun... but only going north!), and another 3000 calories down the drain. Hopefully next year I'll be able to hit 15 or 16mph. Maybe one day, when I lose half this weight, I'll be able to do the 28mph that the people in the front can do. Until that day...


Here's the Garmin data. I'm on beta blockers, which is why my heart rate is about 30bpm lower than it normally would be (sadly, I am not superman!) http://connect.garmin.com/activity/180254968
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Old 05-20-12, 04:18 PM   #2
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Mith you really did great my friend. Proud of you!
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Old 05-20-12, 04:23 PM   #3
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Great job! 14mph is something to be happy about.
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Old 05-20-12, 04:31 PM   #4
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Awesome job! Have not gone that far myself so KUDOS
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Old 05-20-12, 04:38 PM   #5
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Congrats! Man, it looked like the thermostat was plugged into your HR - once it hit 90 your HR just started climbing.
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Old 05-20-12, 04:48 PM   #6
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That's good. The experience will stand you in good stead, especially the experience of having negative thoughts but then recovering and finishing strong. I can almost guarantee that every time you go further, faster than you have previously managed, there'll be a section of the ride during which you doubt yourself. " oh, God, I've only covered a third of the distance, I'm not going to make it" - that sort of thing.

But you now know that is going to happen, and that you can ignore it because if you just keep going, you're going to feel better and be fine.
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Old 05-20-12, 05:32 PM   #7
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Congrats! Man, it looked like the thermostat was plugged into your HR - once it hit 90 your HR just started climbing.
Yeah, last week I did 56 and this did not happen: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/177480022

My HR started out strong because I took my beta blocker immediately before starting and it took a little bit for the medication to take ahold, but in general my HR was fairly constant. I think you are correct that the temperature was the factor that caused the rise, because the temperature did not rise so high last week. Around the time the temperature started to rise I felt my fingers beginning to puff up; I tried taking it easy but my heart rate would not drop. I have no idea what that means or if it was dangerous, but I've shown similar heart rate graphs from last summer to my doctors and they say it's normal, so I guess it's alright.
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Old 05-20-12, 05:39 PM   #8
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Fantastic job! Way to go!
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Old 05-20-12, 05:54 PM   #9
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That's good. The experience will stand you in good stead, especially the experience of having negative thoughts but then recovering and finishing strong. I can almost guarantee that every time you go further, faster than you have previously managed, there'll be a section of the ride during which you doubt yourself. " oh, God, I've only covered a third of the distance, I'm not going to make it" - that sort of thing.

But you now know that is going to happen, and that you can ignore it because if you just keep going, you're going to feel better and be fine.

I've actually already done 2 solo centuries last year. Unfortunately I've gained 40 pounds since then, and I began this year with higher blood pressure, and feeling like I'm starting over from scratch again. Obviously that's a ridiculous notion, however, because last year at this point I was doing 8-10 mile rides that wore me out. But for some reason, the prospect of a Metric or Imperial century has become daunting again. I guess I feel like I've lost my mojo and mentally I've let it psych me out. And yet I just finished the fastest half century of my life. How very odd.

That being said, the bonk I experienced at mile 46 last week (lasted until the end, it was a complete bonk), and the bonk I experienced at miles 37 through 43, lead me to believe that I may yet not be capable of a metric this year. Last year I was able to do 50 and 62 mile rides without bonking at all, albeit slower. So who knows what all of this means.
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Old 05-20-12, 06:14 PM   #10
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I was going to ask if you've already done two centuries, how is this your first long distance event but I guess you kind of answered it above. Regardless, congrats on your PR for 50miles. Keep after it, you'll be back up to 100 again before you know it.
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Old 05-20-12, 06:56 PM   #11
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I was going to ask if you've already done two centuries, how is this your first long distance event but I guess you kind of answered it above. Regardless, congrats on your PR for 50miles. Keep after it, you'll be back up to 100 again before you know it.
Yeah I've only done 2 event rides so far; my centuries were solo efforts. Last year I did a 22 miler (not even 2 hours) and this was my first 50. I also did a 30 mile group shop ride 3 weeks ago, but that's not really an "event". I'll be doing a 44 mile event next month, and I'm hoping I'll feel confident enough to do Bike MS in September:

http://bikenyr.nationalmssociety.org...18093&pg=entry

It's 100 miles over 2 days:
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/836348 (day 1)
http://ridewithgps.com/routes/836350 (day 2)

Only problem is, that's a hell of a lot of climbing for me. More than I've ever done before (roughly 6000 feet). Makes me nervous; I haven't even begun hill training yet this year.
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Old 05-20-12, 08:49 PM   #12
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Looks like you have three good 500+ft climbs on day one. They're not too big but I bet they are typically steep for that region. Day two doesn't look quite as bad. Any century with 6k ft of climbing is starting to get into the more difficult range. Since that is split into two days it'll make it much more doable. If you get some hill training in you should be fine.
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Old 05-20-12, 08:50 PM   #13
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Congratulations! Your report is inspirational for me. I have been off the bike for the past 5 days in Minneapolis farting around. With luck I will ride tomorrow. I have a ride scheduled for June 2 of 65 miles. My goal is to finish!
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Old 05-20-12, 08:59 PM   #14
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Another great and inspirational post. Way to go!!!
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Old 05-21-12, 02:20 AM   #15
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That being said, the bonk I experienced at mile 46 last week (lasted until the end, it was a complete bonk), and the bonk I experienced at miles 37 through 43, lead me to believe that I may yet not be capable of a metric this year. Last year I was able to do 50 and 62 mile rides without bonking at all, albeit slower. So who knows what all of this means.
You didn't "bonk" through miles 37 to 43. You kept going, and recovered. That's not a bonk, it's just a bad patch.

What it means is that your cardiovascular system is much fitter than it was a year ago, but you are struggling with the consequences bothof the weight gain, and of the blow to your confidence that the weight gain has delivered. Keep losing the weight, keep riding, and your self-doubt will recede again.
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Old 05-21-12, 01:03 PM   #16
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Well done, Mith.
Thanks for the ride report, it is an inspiration to us all!
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Old 05-22-12, 08:25 AM   #17
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Good Job!!!
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Old 05-22-12, 09:54 AM   #18
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Well done!
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Old 05-22-12, 10:23 AM   #19
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Great job! I did my first 50, a charity ride in November and am signed up for a metric next Sept. Of the several group rides I have done so far, I have not been the only Clyde. On the one last November, I got passed going up a hill by a guy who outweighed me by fifty pounds.

OT. Do you frequent another forum called RCU? I've seen that same name there. My RCU handle is "Dreadnaut"
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Old 05-22-12, 10:38 AM   #20
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nice work.
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Old 05-22-12, 11:30 AM   #21
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You didn't "bonk" through miles 37 to 43. You kept going, and recovered. That's not a bonk, it's just a bad patch.

What it means is that your cardiovascular system is much fitter than it was a year ago, but you are struggling with the consequences bothof the weight gain, and of the blow to your confidence that the weight gain has delivered. Keep losing the weight, keep riding, and your self-doubt will recede again.
Mith, ^^^^ This! Keep up the mental toughness and you'll get progressivly better, faster, and stronger.
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