Iíve been lurking around this forum for a few months now. I havenít had much to say, because Iím fairly new. Iíve found myself really attracted to this particular sub-forum. Many of you people have become my heroes, literally.
Iím going to start this with a short bio, so you can get a feel for me before I ask my questions. Iím seeking specific and general advice, so please post any thoughts you have. I apologize in advance, for the stream-of-consciousness jumble this is going to be and thank you for reading it.
Iím a 34-year-old male who lives in central Florida. About 6 months ago, my 14YO son asked me to play some basketball with him. About 10 minutes into it, I literally thought I was going to have a heart attack. My chest hurt/tingled, I couldnít catch my breath and I felt lightheaded. ďWow,Ē I thought to myself ďIíve really gotten out of shape.Ē 2 weeks later I had a physical & my cholesterol was 230. The Dr. suggested that I try dropping some weight (5í9Ē/206lbs) and changing my diet before putting me on meds. Those two things galvanized me to change my lifestyle.
My son and I started lifting weights 3 nights a week & I started doing ďcardioĒ 3 more nights. At first this was mainly walking/running, but it changed into bike riding. I was the typical new rider, I thought a Ĺ hour, 8-mile ride was ďlongĒ. I thought I was going to have to walk it home on my first 20-mile ride. At one point, I thought of riding to one of my sonís tournaments 25 miles away & thought, ďthatís way too farĒ.
I started to really enjoy riding & logging my miles in 2 months ago. Since that point, Iíve ridden 588 total miles, excluding exercise bike miles at hotels. Iíd like it to be a bit higher, but I spent 15 of the days in different cities, without access to a bike. All of my rides are solo. Iím down past my original goal weight of 175, and now think that 160 is where I need to be.
Being a very goal driven person, I have set a short-term goal, and a long term (within a couple of years) cycling goal. They are to ride a sub 6-hour century before the year is over and to ride a double century. I know it was likely a bit stupid to set a time goal up front like that, but for now Iím sticking with it.
Iíve been focusing on adding distance first, since I seem to enjoy ďfurtherĒ more than ďfasterĒ. With some shorter rides during the week, Iíve been trying to build my single trip distance up. On 7/6 I rode 48 miles without much problem, then on 7/21 I rode 59 miles with the final 6 being a bit difficult. On 7/28 I rode 71 miles with the last 3 being quite difficult. Yesterday, I rode 79 miles & wasnít sure I was going to make it over the last 10.
I didnít have much of a nutrition plan until after my 59-mile ride, and I didnít think too much about electrolyte replacement until after my 71-mile ride. I consumed a lot more calories ~200/hr and got a much better mix of proteins, carbs and electrolytes during my 79-mile ride. My biggest logistics problem is carrying all the water I need. Iím going through about 40 fl oz/hour, so over 6+ hours, that works out to a lot of water. I hate to add saddelbags just for water, (especially since I donít own any), but Iíve run out of room in my trunk bag.
I think that my being exhausted at the end might be due to heat rather than just being out of shape. I was getting ďchillsĒ and stopped for a rest in some shade (most of my route is in the beating down sunÖ by the time noon rolls through, Iím a bit sunburnt, the roads seem to be putting out some major heat and the temp has climbed from a reasonable 80 at 7am to 90+). I dumped some cool water ~75F over my head & it actually hurt my skin, it felt so cold. When I got into my house (~79F), it felt like I was in an icebox & it took me a 10 minutes to stop panting. I floated in the pool for a bit to try to pull some heat out of my body & took a cold shower. Even still, it was about 2 hours before I stopped sweating, just sitting still under a ceiling fan.
Iím re-thinking my strategy of adding miles before speed. Iím thinking of riding for a maximum of 4 hours on Saturday, and trying to get the furthest possible. That will put me in about 11, before it gets real hot. I would stick with this plan until the daily highs drop out of the mid-90s into the comfortable high 80ís, which should happen around mid-Oct. Iíll also be a bit less concerned with expending more calories than I consume at that point. Then once the temp drops down, start going for distance again.
As far as speed, on these long rides I ride at what I think is a 15mph pace. 79-mile ride took me 6 hrs 15 minutes. But about 1 hour was off bike, eating and cooling down. Most of that was concentrated in the last 15 miles, once I started to feel really hot. I donít have a bike computer, so I typically just note the time at the start & finish.
Iím debating between asking for a bike computer, a HRM, or a Brooks saddle for Christmas. Money is a bit tight, so itíll be question of which will be most useful (your thoughts?). Iím fairly comfortable on my bike other than my butt on the cheap gel saddle after about 1 hour.. I used to get numb hands also, but that seemed to go away just as I started ratcheting up my distance. These last two long rides, although I didnít experience any hand tingle during the ride, my left index finger tip has been numb for 24-48 hours after the ride.
I happen to live in a part of central Florida with a bit of hill (not much, but more than most of FL). I can do a 15-mile loop that has 1100 feet of total climb, in a very up/down fashion. Iím thinking for riding this hard once a week as ďintervalĒ type training. Then one or two ~20 mile rides at more of my fat burning paceÖ something where carrying on a conversation would be difficult, but Iím not left feeling short of breath. I know this probably isnít the best use of a ride, but I also want to make sure I still enjoy myself. Then as I said earlier, trying to ratchet up distance on the weekend while limiting myself to approx 4 hours.
Does this seem a reasonable plan? What do you think should change? Iím still in process of learning about fluid loss, what my body will respond best to eating wise, etc. Iím not looking to be a ďracerĒ type, beyond trying to reach my personal goals. Of which, the major one is still to live healthier, which means I want to make sure riding does not become a chore.
Thank you for your time and any thoughts you might have.