When riding alone, Iíve always assumed that slowing a little toward the end of a long ride was fairly normal, but now that Iím riding with a club Iíve noticed that for about 50 miles, I am one of the fastest riders in my club, but, at least for the last couple of longer group rides Iíve done, Iím noticing how Iím falling to the back of pack toward the end of the rides. Throughout the winter all of the rides were 30-40 miles long and I was feeling pretty confident about my ability to keep up with just about anyone in the club, I had the second highest power/weight numbers in the club on the computrainer (30-minute time trial).
A few weeks ago, on a long ride, I tried to keep up with the fast guys. I did OK for a while, kept up, took a few pulls, until my legs turned to rubber at 50-miles, and I ended up dropping back to meet with the slower group (which I never found due to a wrong turn). I only had Gatorade and a two Gel packets as fuel. I attributed my fall-off to a combination of being over ambitious, and under fueled. Last weekend I took 4 gels and a few cliff bars to eat along the way in addition to my Gatorade. I didnít take off with the hammer-heads and stayed with the less a aggressive group, watched my heart-rate monitor, and swallowed my pride when people passed me on the hills in order to conserve energy for the end. 50-miles inÖ the same thing happened. I dropped back to help ďencourageĒ some of new members who were on their first club ride and who had been falling behind all day, but the truth is that it took all I had to keep up with them.
Even as I was giving it all I had to keep up, I wasnít out of breath and my heart rate was only in the 150ís, but my quads were on fire and I just couldnít get my legs to produce any significant amount of force. Iím also having some bike-fit issues resulting in discomfort and dumbness that really becomes noticeable around the same time my legs give out. Iím training for a marathon right now, so my training time is split between running and cycling. I usually get a hilly 30-miler, a 1-hour hill repeat ride in during the week in addition to my three weekly runs and my long weekend club ride. Iím thinking about starting to do my hill repeat ride and my shortest run of the week on the same day to free up more time to spend in the saddle and possibly add another 30-miler to each week. Iím having a bike fitting done next week. Is there anything else I can do (training, nutrition) to deal with the fact that Iím hitting this 50-mile wall?