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Century Decision

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Century Decision

Old 12-02-15, 08:43 AM
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Century Decision

In Aug. I rode a solo 50 miler at 21.4 mph (road bike setup) so decided that I would go for a 5 hour solo century before I got too old (now age 66). My target date was Wed or Thu this week and Thursday looked the better day weatherwise, so that was the plan. I was hoping that the extra carbs and reduced training that came along with Thanksgiving would kind of dovetail with this plan and be almost productive instead of just add a few pounds and some de-training. But the forecast for Thursday has changed and they are predicting 15 mph winds with gusts to 25 mph. Unless I ride downwind in a straight line (my route is a couple of loops "cherry picked" to stay mostly on better asphalt and keep the total climbing below 4000 feet), my target speed isn't going to happen.

I had been doing 200-250 miles per week for a while now, but was/am a bit deficient on longer rides, and so be it. So Thanksgiving was zero miles, Friday was a 30 minute ride with a few hard sprints, Saturday was no riding (full of family), I did a very hard effort Sunday of 75 minutes (NP was at 105% - probably means I need a new ftp test), 90 easy minutes on Monday, 30 minutes Tuesday with a couple of short sprints, and here we are.

My next opportunity is Saturday so the question is what do I do between now and then?

Thanks.

dave
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Old 12-02-15, 09:25 AM
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Why is the target speed so important to you? I am not knocking you, I am just curious. I look at these things like they are race days, even though I do not race on bikes. When I run, I prepare for the race day. I can't predict the weather, but I can predict my level of conditioning. Thus, I run the race regardless of the wind. Clearly, I want to win either way but I realize that weather will impact the speed. Thus, for me, I would just ride as planned. It can't hurt anything but the ego. It can actually help with you conditioning though. That way, you are ready to ride even faster for the next time. Just a thought. Good luck either way that you go.
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Old 12-02-15, 09:33 AM
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Under 5 hours solo ain't easy. I did it on my only century thus far, but I was in a big pack so I cheated .

Good luck! Whatever route you've planned, just make sure the last stretch has a tailwind.
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Old 12-02-15, 09:42 AM
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If you start at sunrise the winds shouldn't be bad. In the sandhills they usually pick up around 10 in the morning. And the good thing about a headwind is that you'll have a tailwind at some point. I don't even take wind speed into consideration when thinking about riding unless it's just really fierce.
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Old 12-02-15, 09:42 AM
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I'm 61 and rode a century this fall (into a strong headwind) I never worried about time, just enjoy it. When I do a moderate ride (25-50 miles), I like to get in several good sprints and really burn my legs and lungs. When I go for longer rides (over 50 miles) I avoid sprinting and just keep a steady, strong, moderate pace. I avoid getting aggressive on hills. I want to feel good at the end, not burnt out. That's my approach.
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Old 12-02-15, 10:00 AM
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Regarding the question of why a speed target, the answer is simple. My endurance background is mostly either running or nothing (lots of that as well). To me biking is kind of a running alternative (that my knees can handle these days). Back in my mid/late 30's I always wanted to run a sub 2:40 marathon (ran 3 or 4 under 2:45) and ONE year I was in good enough condition to do that (Dec. marathon in Alabama in 1984 IIRC). The day came up in the mid 80's believe it or not. And I am a heavy sweater and NEVER learned how to drink and run (not a problem on a bike, BTW). So I just ran an easy 2:48 (must have passed 500 people the last 10 miles). Then my job got out of hand, and I never/ever came even close to that kind of conditioning again. And somehow I always regretted not hitting sub 2:40 (and I was in good enough condition that day in the right weather).

On my road bike at 20 mph for 100 miles is kind of the same thing - and just kind of my thing.

FWIW, if I can tell at (for example) 65 miles that this just isn't going to happen, I will probably back off and treat this as a long training ride of some length and give it one more try before Christmas.

But like I said this is just my personal thing (from a running perspective).

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Old 12-02-15, 10:09 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Regarding the question of why a speed target, the answer is simple. My endurance background is mostly either running or nothing (lots of that as well). To me biking is kind of a running alternative (that my knees can handle these days). Back in my mid/late 30's I always wanted to run a sub 2:40 marathon (ran 3 or 4 under 2:45) and ONE year I was in good enough condition to do that (Dec. marathon in Alabama in 1984 IIRC). The day came up in the mid 80's believe it or not. And I am a heavy sweater and NEVER learned how to drink and run (not a problem on a bike, BTW). So I just ran an easy 2:48 (must have passed 500 people the last 10 miles). Then my job got out of hand, and I never/ever came even close to that kind of conditioning again. And somehow I always regretted not hitting sub 2:40 (and I was in good enough condition that day in the right weather).

On my road bike at 20 mph for 100 miles is kind of the same thing - and just kind of my thing.

FWIW, if I can tell at (for example) 65 miles that this just isn't going to happen, I will probably back off and treat this as a long training ride of some length and give it one more try before Christmas.

But like I said this is just my personal thing (from a running perspective).

dave
Attached is a pic of me running in 80 degree weather in northern Alabama in December. Thinking about this still pisses me off :-)

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Old 12-02-15, 11:01 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Attached is a pic of me running in 80 degree weather in northern Alabama in December. Thinking about this still pisses me off :-)

dave
what are you pissed about?
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Old 12-02-15, 11:15 AM
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Originally Posted by BoSoxYacht View Post
what are you pissed about?
That kind of weather was probably the ONLY weather that would have prevented me meeting my goal. Wind in running is no big deal. Cold is no big deal. Rain - just uncomfortable. But I have run two marathons in 80+ degree weather and lost over 12 pounds of water in both of them. As I said I never learned to drink and run (very uncomfortable for me).

But had I backed off more such that this was just a long training run, I could have probably found another marathon to run that year. So I was pissed at the bad weather break and the fact that I still had an opportunity here that I missed (I didn't realize how much my life was going to change going into January - training time thing).

dave
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Old 12-02-15, 11:24 AM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
My next opportunity is Saturday so the question is what do I do between now and then?
Doing a 5-hour century solo is hard (and I'm assuming that is start to finish, not rolling time). I'd wait until the optimal day to put in the effort.

Go out Thursday, and within the first hour of the ride you should be able to tell if you could maintain the pace to finish in five. If not, back off and ride a nice endurance-paced 50 miler and rest up for Saturday. If you have to wait another week or two your fitness isn't going to change substantially enough that it would affect your ability to complete it.

Good luck. I've done sub-5's and am now aiming for a sub-4.5h. I ride a recumbent though, so it's "easier", but still a challenge.
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Old 12-02-15, 12:17 PM
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
My next opportunity is Saturday so the question is what do I do between now and then?

Thanks.

dave
Actually, it doesn't much matter what you do between now and Saturday. To quote Tyler Hamilton, the studying's all been done, time to take the test.

That said, I would 2 hours of endurance today. Take Thursday off, (or 30 minute recovery) Friday would be 1 hour with "openers."

Openers are short efforts to keep you fresh for "race day." 5, one minute intervals, on 5 minutes rest work for me. one 5 minute tempo, followed by a 2 minute steady state is another approach, or 10 15-20 second sprints.

Just something to get you breathing hard.

Of all this, IMHO riding Friday with a little work is the most important; a rest day before race day can make you come out stale.
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Old 12-02-15, 02:38 PM
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My best century was after not riding for 3 days. It was 5 hours and I was with a group of people, however.

I just did my first solo century a couple of weeks ago and I'd consider myself in better shape now then I was then. The solo century was 6 hours...I blame part of that on a handful of detours I had to add to the route to get around construction, also because near the end I slowed down to enjoy the ride and gave up on hitting anything close to 5 hours.
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Old 12-02-15, 02:47 PM
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66, at your age 3 Days Full Rest would be best. Works for me.
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Old 12-02-15, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by 10 Wheels View Post
66, at your age 3 Days Full Rest would be best. Works for me.
I can't tell you how strongly I disagree with this. To complete a sub 5 hour solo century with 4000 feet of climbing you're busting it pretty hard and need to be prepared to go hard from the get go. ( Actually if I was setting out to do a timed solo century, I'd warm up a wmiles before I started the 100 on the clock, but that's a different point.)

3 days of full rest is a recipe to come out very stale. I think the vast majority of coaches, and racers with some experience, fully endorse the concept of openers the day before a race. One hour of riding with a few small efforts will not fatigue you for race day, particularly at the level the OP trains at.

While 3 days rest may work for casual recreational riding, its very poor advice for racing, and this is essentially a race for the OP.
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Old 12-02-15, 05:30 PM
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Thanks for all the comments.

FWIW, my plan would be a ride with pretty much no stops. In cool weather I can carry enough water/calories. My route has only two stop lights that are very 'time-able'. And unless I need a nature break I don't see a reason to unclip here.

For a number of months now I have been training with maybe one pure rest day every other week. I have already had a lower level of training since Thanksgiving than I would have chosen even if I were going to do this tomorrow (Thursday). The hard stuff is done, I might do 90 minutes tomorrow (probably no more), mostly take Friday off, and here we go. Last year when I did roughly the same thing (without the 20mph target - legs locked up at mile 96 with avg speed of 18.5mph, BTW) my training volume was a good bit less than now and more rest than this was appropriate back then.

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Old 12-02-15, 05:57 PM
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^ you need to do what your comfortable with and what your experience tells you work for you.

I can tell you the current state of knowledge is the rest day 2 days before, a little work with openers the day before.

That's the approach of all The CTS coaches I've worked with.

So I'd flip your plan for Thursday and Friday.
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Old 12-02-15, 05:58 PM
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I'd wait until you have a helluva tailwind and get someone to drop you off hundred miles from home.
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Old 12-02-15, 07:46 PM
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I am runner having run 12 marathons but never up to your speed I did manage 3:06 and a never slower than 3:27. I still run but at almost 55 I would need a perfect day and no wind to get do a 5 hr century. I could probably do it solo on the perfect day but never have actually done that. Your my friend are 66 and I hope I get to 66 years old and then much less be worried about doing a 5 hour century. Right now if you think you can do a sub 5 then that is all that matters. 5 hours or 5:15, 5:20 even 5;30 why quibble about a few minutes you are clearly in great shape/
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Old 12-03-15, 06:27 AM
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In for the update. This is something I want to do as well. Good luck!
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Old 12-03-15, 06:36 AM
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It's not very windy today.
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Old 12-03-15, 10:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Lazyass View Post
It's not very windy today.
Down here from 7:00 to 10:00 a.m. was very windy. Things seemed to have calmed down a bit by 11:00 (backwards for this area's norms). But it doesn't matter as I have already swapped Saturday's "Christmas chore day" (spouse stuff) with today (can't ride on Friday) and it is far too late to change that.

So Saturday it is.

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Old 12-03-15, 11:36 AM
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Well let us know how it goes. I turned 48 last week, but I'm a young 48. Hopefully I'm still ripping it up in 18 years.
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Old 12-05-15, 04:22 PM
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Today was clearly not going to be optimum as the forecast was for winds averaging 8mph and gusting to 15 mph. While this is hardly windy, I'm pushing an envelope here so need every advantage I can find. But today was the plan and it is today.

It was pretty darn cold early on (high 20's) and even with slightly lower winds early, I opted for a 10:00 a.m. start to avoid having to deal with a 30 degree temperature swing (mid 50's high). To cut through all the "self absorbed, old and never-was cyclist crap", I rode 100.5 miles at 20.1 mph (3700' of climbing). I had my Garmin 800 set to PAUSE a zero speed, so if you throw in the two short nature breaks, my average was 20.0 on the money. So mission accomplished. For reference here is the Strava stuff https://www.strava.com/activities/444924309 . The rest is just self absorbed, old and never-was cyclist crap.

My bike is a mid 90's EL-OS Nivacrom steel frame Bianchi with 2014 Campy Chorus components, Bontrager Race-X Lite Wheels, and Vittoria Open Corsa CX-III tires with latex tubes. Stripped down for weight like the retail folks would do (no pedals, cages, etc) and this weighs in right at 18 pounds.

I don't own any real TT gear like a serious aero helmet, skin suit, etc. So today was my most aero helmet (Giro Air-Attack ), UnderArmour clone long sleeve T shirt, tightest jersey that I own, cycling shorts under tights, and finger tip open type cycling gloves. 2 bottles of water, 2 CLif's bars, my cell phone, and 'flat kit' comprised the load.

Breakfast at 7:30 was a PB&J sandwich plus my usual 3 cups of coffee. I did drink a glass of OJ right before leaving. That plus the two Clif's bars was the nutrition plan. Temperature at liftoff was low 40's and forecast no higher than the mid 50's. It was relatively chilly the first hour, but after that (with the front zipper down a bit) this was perfect. I was tempted to leave the water off, but ended up hauling it around the entire ride (didn't drink anything). I hope that those two bottles enjoyed the ride. FWIW I ate one bar at 90 minutes in and the second at 3.5 hours.

What is interesting is that this is the same area/roads where I rode 21.4 mph over 50 miles back in August at an average of 235W. Today was 230 W and 1.3 mph slower. The 50 miler was virtually ZERO wind where today that was not the case and that is the difference (IMHO). Had I known that I was going to have to put out basically the same power over 5 hours that I put out in Aug. over 2.5 hours, I doubt that I would have even tried it. BTW, this "route" looks truly strange. It is driven by me cherry picking to avoid rough asphalt, harder climbs (such as they exist around here), and having to stop at stop lights. So there are a number of U-Turns/etc.

An hour in my average speed was 20.7 mph, but my average power was almost 250 W. There was no way that the power number was going to hold up over the next 4 hours, so I started to be more cautious on my power output. Note that there is nothing flat and nothing goes up or down for long either. The wind was out of the NNE and 20'ish miles in I hit "Windblow Road". It runs to the NE and there is a reason for that name. I lost a lot on that 8-10 mile stretch. I gained some back on Alt. 200 S. but going back up Highway 73 (mostly back into the wind) I found that I was down to 20.1 mph at roughly the halfway point. Things were looking iffy here as I proceeded to the rest of the route on the other side of Hwy 211.

That portion is basically 3 out and backs and then back home. I didn't ever drop under 20.1 mph avg, but this is really close and I didn't know exactly how much time I had lost to two quick nature breaks that my pre-hydration (and 66 year old prostate) had forced on me. My Garmin 800 was set to PAUSE at zero velocity because I was interested in my rolling time speed and the device will automatically tell you the total time as well as the rolling time. I had guessed 30 seconds on each stop. I'm glad that I didn't know that I had lost 2 full minutes because any more than that and I would not have met my goal. I would not have enjoyed really having to max out those last five miles.

I was clearly fading the last 10 miles but this was not as hard as any of the 10 or so marathons that I have run (other than the last one where I just backed off in deference to impending dehydration). And I believe that my starting point is like 60' higher than my ending point, so it was a downhill ride all the way :-)

dave

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Old 12-06-15, 01:54 AM
  #24  
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Today was clearly not going to be optimum as the forecast was for winds averaging 8mph and gusting to 15 mph. While this is hardly windy, I'm pushing an envelope here so need every advantage I can find. But today was the plan and it is today.

It was pretty darn cold early on (high 20's) and even with slightly lower winds early, I opted for a 10:00 a.m. start to avoid having to deal with a 30 degree temperature swing (mid 50's high). To cut through all the "self absorbed, old and never-was cyclist crap", I rode 100.5 miles at 20.1 mph (3700' of climbing). I had my Garmin 800 set to PAUSE a zero speed, so if you throw in the two short nature breaks, my average was 20.0 on the money. So mission accomplished. For reference here is the Strava stuff https://www.strava.com/activities/444924309 . The rest is just self absorbed, old and never-was cyclist crap.

My bike is a mid 90's EL-OS Nivacrom steel frame Bianchi with 2014 Campy Chorus components, Bontrager Race-X Lite Wheels, and Vittoria Open Corsa CX-III tires with latex tubes. Stripped down for weight like the retail folks would do (no pedals, cages, etc) and this weighs in right at 18 pounds.

I don't own any real TT gear like a serious aero helmet, skin suit, etc. So today was my most aero helmet (Giro Air-Attack ), UnderArmour clone long sleeve T shirt, tightest jersey that I own, cycling shorts under tights, and finger tip open type cycling gloves. 2 bottles of water, 2 CLif's bars, my cell phone, and 'flat kit' comprised the load.

Breakfast at 7:30 was a PB&J sandwich plus my usual 3 cups of coffee. I did drink a glass of OJ right before leaving. That plus the two Clif's bars was the nutrition plan. Temperature at liftoff was low 40's and forecast no higher than the mid 50's. It was relatively chilly the first hour, but after that (with the front zipper down a bit) this was perfect. I was tempted to leave the water off, but ended up hauling it around the entire ride (didn't drink anything). I hope that those two bottles enjoyed the ride. FWIW I ate one bar at 90 minutes in and the second at 3.5 hours.

What is interesting is that this is the same area/roads where I rode 21.4 mph over 50 miles back in August at an average of 235W. Today was 230 W and 1.3 mph slower. The 50 miler was virtually ZERO wind where today that was not the case and that is the difference (IMHO). Had I known that I was going to have to put out basically the same power over 5 hours that I put out in Aug. over 2.5 hours, I doubt that I would have even tried it. BTW, this "route" looks truly strange. It is driven by me cherry picking to avoid rough asphalt, harder climbs (such as they exist around here), and having to stop at stop lights. So there are a number of U-Turns/etc.

An hour in my average speed was 20.7 mph, but my average power was almost 250 W. There was no way that the power number was going to hold up over the next 4 hours, so I started to be more cautious on my power output. Note that there is nothing flat and nothing goes up or down for long either. The wind was out of the NNE and 20'ish miles in I hit "Windblow Road". It runs to the NE and there is a reason for that name. I lost a lot on that 8-10 mile stretch. I gained some back on Alt. 200 S. but going back up Highway 73 (mostly back into the wind) I found that I was down to 20.1 mph at roughly the halfway point. Things were looking iffy here as I proceeded to the rest of the route on the other side of Hwy 211.

That portion is basically 3 out and backs and then back home. I didn't ever drop under 20.1 mph avg, but this is really close and I didn't know exactly how much time I had lost to two quick nature breaks that my pre-hydration (and 66 year old prostate) had forced on me. My Garmin 800 was set to PAUSE at zero velocity because I was interested in my rolling time speed and the device will automatically tell you the total time as well as the rolling time. I had guessed 30 seconds on each stop. I'm glad that I didn't know that I had lost 2 full minutes because any more than that and I would not have met my goal. I would not have enjoyed really having to max out those last five miles.

I was clearly fading the last 10 miles but this was not as hard as any of the 10 or so marathons that I have run (other than the last one where I just backed off in deference to impending dehydration). And I believe that my starting point is like 60' lower than my ending point, so it was a downhill ride all the way :-)

dave
Well done! That was a great ride!

And I'm totally strava stalking you now.
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Old 12-06-15, 09:04 AM
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Dan333SP
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Originally Posted by DaveLeeNC View Post
Today was clearly not going to be optimum as the forecast was for winds averaging 8mph and gusting to 15 mph. While this is hardly windy, I'm pushing an envelope here so need every advantage I can find. But today was the plan and it is today.

It was pretty darn cold early on (high 20's) and even with slightly lower winds early, I opted for a 10:00 a.m. start to avoid having to deal with a 30 degree temperature swing (mid 50's high). To cut through all the "self absorbed, old and never-was cyclist crap", I rode 100.5 miles at 20.1 mph (3700' of climbing). I had my Garmin 800 set to PAUSE a zero speed, so if you throw in the two short nature breaks, my average was 20.0 on the money. So mission accomplished. For reference here is the Strava stuff https://www.strava.com/activities/444924309 . The rest is just self absorbed, old and never-was cyclist crap.

My bike is a mid 90's EL-OS Nivacrom steel frame Bianchi with 2014 Campy Chorus components, Bontrager Race-X Lite Wheels, and Vittoria Open Corsa CX-III tires with latex tubes. Stripped down for weight like the retail folks would do (no pedals, cages, etc) and this weighs in right at 18 pounds.

I don't own any real TT gear like a serious aero helmet, skin suit, etc. So today was my most aero helmet (Giro Air-Attack ), UnderArmour clone long sleeve T shirt, tightest jersey that I own, cycling shorts under tights, and finger tip open type cycling gloves. 2 bottles of water, 2 CLif's bars, my cell phone, and 'flat kit' comprised the load.

Breakfast at 7:30 was a PB&J sandwich plus my usual 3 cups of coffee. I did drink a glass of OJ right before leaving. That plus the two Clif's bars was the nutrition plan. Temperature at liftoff was low 40's and forecast no higher than the mid 50's. It was relatively chilly the first hour, but after that (with the front zipper down a bit) this was perfect. I was tempted to leave the water off, but ended up hauling it around the entire ride (didn't drink anything). I hope that those two bottles enjoyed the ride. FWIW I ate one bar at 90 minutes in and the second at 3.5 hours.

What is interesting is that this is the same area/roads where I rode 21.4 mph over 50 miles back in August at an average of 235W. Today was 230 W and 1.3 mph slower. The 50 miler was virtually ZERO wind where today that was not the case and that is the difference (IMHO). Had I known that I was going to have to put out basically the same power over 5 hours that I put out in Aug. over 2.5 hours, I doubt that I would have even tried it. BTW, this "route" looks truly strange. It is driven by me cherry picking to avoid rough asphalt, harder climbs (such as they exist around here), and having to stop at stop lights. So there are a number of U-Turns/etc.

An hour in my average speed was 20.7 mph, but my average power was almost 250 W. There was no way that the power number was going to hold up over the next 4 hours, so I started to be more cautious on my power output. Note that there is nothing flat and nothing goes up or down for long either. The wind was out of the NNE and 20'ish miles in I hit "Windblow Road". It runs to the NE and there is a reason for that name. I lost a lot on that 8-10 mile stretch. I gained some back on Alt. 200 S. but going back up Highway 73 (mostly back into the wind) I found that I was down to 20.1 mph at roughly the halfway point. Things were looking iffy here as I proceeded to the rest of the route on the other side of Hwy 211.

That portion is basically 3 out and backs and then back home. I didn't ever drop under 20.1 mph avg, but this is really close and I didn't know exactly how much time I had lost to two quick nature breaks that my pre-hydration (and 66 year old prostate) had forced on me. My Garmin 800 was set to PAUSE at zero velocity because I was interested in my rolling time speed and the device will automatically tell you the total time as well as the rolling time. I had guessed 30 seconds on each stop. I'm glad that I didn't know that I had lost 2 full minutes because any more than that and I would not have met my goal. I would not have enjoyed really having to max out those last five miles.

I was clearly fading the last 10 miles but this was not as hard as any of the 10 or so marathons that I have run (other than the last one where I just backed off in deference to impending dehydration). And I believe that my starting point is like 60' lower than my ending point, so it was a downhill ride all the way :-)

dave
I sincerely hope I'm in anywhere near the condition you are in when I'm your age. Really nice ride, great work!
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