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The Palm Springs Century training plan summary

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The Palm Springs Century training plan summary

Old 02-09-14, 08:48 AM
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The Palm Springs Century training plan summary

Part One: the ride summary

Riders were my friend Susie (who I've ridden with regularly for about 6-7 months, younger than me & better cyclist but less time/inclination to train) and three people who I met through my new cycling group who I will refer to as the posse. They are all good riders, about my skill/experience level. We started the ride in a throng of thousands of people and Susie and I immediately lost the posse. It turns out the event organizers stopped the second wave of riders and held them back for 2 min to stagger the throng a bit. The posse was a little behind us and we didn't see them again until the first SAG.

A few miles out of town, we started into the wind farm area. My first lesson of the day: it does not matter if the weather forecast calls for light winds, if you are routed through a wind farm, expect some gnarly winds. So the throng of people comes to the first challenge of the day- climbing a freeway overpass in high winds. It gets a little chaotic- some people slowing to a crawl, some people walking their bikes over the bridge, people get blown by the winds and zigzagging all over, people inexplicably deciding to take a sip of water in these hairy conditions and lurching suddenly left. I decide to get out of Dodge and zip up and over the hill to escape the throng. I assume Susie will follow me but she doesn't.

After the bridge, we turn left dead into this wind, I slow down to let Susie catch me but she doesn't and that turns out to be the theme of the day. Anytime I would pedal around somebody to get out of a situation I'd then slow down to let her catch up but she never would. So I basically rode alone but met up with Susie at the SAGs, at which she consistently would arrive 3-5 min behind me.

Anyway, back to the wind. The windy part was also a long climb. The climb itself wasn't too bad maybe 3-6% grade for 15 mi? But it was tough in the wind. Maybe 40-50 mph wind? Enough to blow one rider over. Sometimes a headwind, sometimes a crosswind. When it was a crosswind, I had to lean my bike 20 degrees into it just to keep going. It was pretty tough but it didn't freak me out. I was mostly worried about expending too much energy too early. Thankfully we were only in that wind farm for 5-7 mi and then it was over (except we were still climbing).

Somewhere in that windy part, I realized I had forgotten both water bottles. So I waited until I got to the top of a short downhill (I was afraid I wouldnt be able to get rolling again in that wind unless I had downhill assist), pulled over & texted Mr. H to bring them to the first SAG. He was already going to meet us at the first SAG so that we could strip off our warmer gear and he could take it back to the hotel for us.

So no water for the first 22 miles, and no food either (my mouth was so dry that I would have choked on my Fig Newton, lol). I was worried about getting behind on fluids & nutrition but it was totally fine, I caught up after the first SAG and had zero consequences. I found Susie at the first SAG and then later our friends. Stripped off my tights (which were over my shorts), toe covers, long sleeve jersey & the sleeves from my cycling jacket. It was only 50 degrees but I was already pretty warm and the temps were still rising. But then I got really cold waiting around for the posse at the SAG (they had arrived about 10 min after us). After 40 annoying minutes at SAG one, I finally decided to take off on my own. Susie joined me, we rode a few miles together and then I lost her on a hill. I never saw the posse again until we met up with one for post-ride dinner (the other two had to drive back to LA).

So next was 30 miles of rolling hills and the rhythm of the day finally started. The throng was spread out by now, so people were riding in ones or twos or small groups with some larger cycling groups thrown into the mix. I'd ride for awhile passing and being passed by the same few people (which was kind of nice because at the next SAG you'd "know" some people who you could ask to take a picture for you, lol). I also realized for the first time what rolling hills are (I live in a valley and we really only have flats and outright climbs). Hey, rolling hills are a blast to ride, your momentum coming down one takes you halfway up the next- very civilized.

I won't bore you with all the details of every SAG stop, etc. Except to say that at SAG 2, 50 miles in, I knew we were coming into the flats and that I'd be able to pick up the pace. It seemed like a long shot, but I did the math and thought it was remotely possible I could get this ride done in 7hr of pedaling time. By SAG 3, 62 miles in, I was thinking I really could get a sub-7 ride if I pushed it. I was feeling pretty strong, so I set that goal in my head.

The last 40 miles were in flats or slight inclines/declines (1-3%). By now, it seemed like weaker riders had been weeded out, either behind us or given up, I guess. So there were lots of people out there but everyone behaving for the most part like a sane & cooperative cyclist. Still, I just don't like riding in the pack. It does not make me nervous per se (although I do find it more unpredictable/dangerous), I am just completely motivated to be in front. Sometimes the pack would pass me, but mostly in the last 20 miles, people were tired and the pack was actually just a log jam. I was still feeling strong, it felt great to breeze past the pack.

I met my favorite people of the day during this part of the ride, the ones who were still going strong after 80-90 miles. We had one long stretch where I could hear somebody riding just behind me. Every time I'd come to a manhole cover or some other obstruction, I'd glance back to see if I could swing out into the traffic lane to avoid the obstruction, this guy would call out for me "clear!" or "car back!". He was immensely helpful, like my fairy godfather cycling behind me, and this went on for a very long time. Finally he pulled up next to me in the process of passing me and he said "Monster!". I was a little confused, thinking I had made some newby cycling error. But then he continued, "I've been trying to pass you for 5 miles!". Ha, middle aged newby lady cyclist temporarily outrides big strong man approx 15 years her junior! I guess I shouldnt say "temporarily" either, because I did pass him back at the end and finish ahead but I didn't really care about that, just happy I made my time.

So in the end, I finished 104 miles in 6:59. I normally ride at 13-13.5 mph, so this 14.8 mph pace was a real triumph for me. Overall, I was really happy because I simply felt STRONG throughout the entire ride and very well prepared, I had plenty left in my tank at the end. Even the horrible wind at the beginning didn't rattle me, I just pedaled right through it even though it was the worst wind I'd ever ridden in. I also felt very comfortable on the bike, no issues there whatsoever (my bike fit is excellent). Post ride, I felt the normal amount of soreness that I'd feel after a big ride, nothing extraordinary though, except hugely hungry. Nutrition-wise, I had worked out that I needed about 160 cal/hr. I ate 1000 cal of Fig Newtons (which I carried with me), 1.5 bananas from the SAG stops, and lots of diluted Gatorade. Maybe 1500 cal in all when my plan called for around 1200-1400. Not that I was thinking about the exact calories when I was on the ride, then I just knew approximately how much I needed to consume and made sure I did so regularly, ate more if hungry, etc.

How did I manage a ride that essentially exceeded my own current capabilities? It was the training plan. I know I an due some credit for executing the plan, but I had so much great advice here on bike forums that I honestly believe I could not have ridden the ride I did without you all. Seriously. So this post is just meant to be part one of a thread about the training plan itself and how it evolved. Just a great big THANK YOU to my virtual friends and mentors here on bike forums. Stay tuned for upcoming installments on this thread...



H

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Old 02-09-14, 09:26 AM
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You are my hero! Your ride report makes me want to go out and do a tough ride. Thanks for the inspiration.

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Old 02-09-14, 12:22 PM
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Part Two: Ride Summary Stats

Well, I finally got my data out of my Garmin and here it is. It looks like the last 40 miles that I thought was all flat was actually a gradual ascent, so I'm even more pleased with my finish than I was before. I'm also surprised my heart rate was running so high for as long as it was because I don't remember ever feeling winded or panting for breath. If you look at the heart rate data, you can easily see where the wind kicked in at the beginning.

More later on the training itself.





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Old 02-09-14, 12:46 PM
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Part Three: Training Summary Basic Stats, Nov 17-Feb 7

Ok, here's the stat summary on the 12 week training period. I'll write a description with more info later on.



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Old 02-09-14, 06:21 PM
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Given your training, the outcome was not in doubt.

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Old 02-09-14, 06:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack
Given your training, the outcome was not in doubt.

Thanks!!!

I am just back from a 30 mile recovery ride and I am happy to report every part is in working order, nothing is sore or stiff, it's as if nothing particularly unusual happened yesterday. That blows my mind a little, I expected to be at least a *teensy* bit sore, but nope, nada, nowhere. Man, my bike fit is really excellent.

Im working on the rest of this training summary, hopefully I'll get it done tonight but I also have some prep to get done for work tomorrow.

Stay tuned...

H
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Old 02-09-14, 06:57 PM
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Old 02-09-14, 07:11 PM
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About 1/10 of the randonneuring clubs in CA.



Plenty of time to train for PBP 2015.
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Old 02-09-14, 08:04 PM
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Part Four: the Training Back Story

First of all, some basics as to who I am: 47 year old woman, admonished by my physician about 5 years ago to lose some weight that had crept on in middle age. To keep this part of the story short, I did as instructed and lost 40 pounds about 3 years ago. My problem is I am something of a foodie, so exercise is my only hope in the long run, or else I will be forced to live a deprived life. In that exercise arc, I bought a used mountain bike at a garage sale about 2 years ago for $37.50. I was completely clueless about cycling, I didn't even realize that the left shifters controlled something different from the right shifters, lol. So I rode that 40 pound mountain bike all over town in the big ring for a year before I finally decided "this bike stinks, it's just too hard to pedal". I almost gave up on cycling entirely but decided to give it one last chance. I googled "entry level womens road bikes," came up with a list and went to the bike shop closest to my house. They happened to carry Trek bikes and I wanted to spend the least possible because I wasn't sure if I'd like cycling at all. I paid $600 for the most basic women's Trek, the Lexa C. My husband was shocked I just walked in and bought the bike. But I knew that I didnt know anything about bikes and there was no point is shopping too much for a product I know nothing about. This was March 10 of last year. Anyway, that's a long winded prologue just to let you all know where things stood 11 months ago- formerly overweight, but reasonably fit middle aged lady who knew literally zero about cycling, now with an entry level Trek.

Ok, so I get the bike and pretty much immediately like it and cycling right away (especially after the bike shop guy explained how the shifting worked, that made everything so much better!). By April I decided I needed the Garmin, by June I'd committed to a metric century in Aug, and by July I bought bike shoes and pedals. The metric century went very well, but by the end I was really ready to be off the bike. At the time I thought that was a fitness thing but now I realized it was a bit fit thing. I was reasonably organized but a little clueless about the training for the metric century. Basically I read somewhere on the internet that I should be riding long slow miles and that's pretty much all I did over increasing distances. Which was fortunate because that was probably exactly what I should have been doing at that point. The metric century I signed up for was supposed to be literally flat, but there was a route change a few weeks ahead which resulted in a gradual 20 mile climb. So I rode some hills too, but not too much. Somewhere in googling what I should do to train for the metric, I became aware of the bike forums. Maybe I asked a question or two here, I can't remember.

After the metric century, I was a little lost. I kind of wanted to do a century ride, but I could not imagine being on the bike that long after the metric. I got the idea that I needed to get faster to decrease my time on the bike. So in September, I tried to get faster by riding the same course over and over. That worked somewhat but unfortunately it was a pretty boring thing to do and I began to lose interest in cycling. In October, I did not get on my bike even once. We went to Maui for the first two weeks in November and I started thinking about cycling again. While laying on the beach, I researched century rides and became interested in maybe riding the Wildflower Century in April. Wine country in April sounded nice. But that's a pretty tough century, and I read the Palm Springs Century was easier. Plus it was early Feb, I thought if I set a goal too far away it would be less motivating. So I decided to train for Palm Springs. If that was going well, the Wildflower registration opened Jan 4, I could sign up for that too pending outcome of Palm Springs. So thats how I decided on the Palm Springs-Wildflower combo.

H
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Old 02-09-14, 08:30 PM
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Still riding the Lexa, or have you bought that Domane yet?
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Old 02-09-14, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Dudelsack
Still riding the Lexa, or have you bought that Domane yet?
Her 2014 BMC GF01 Ultegra Di2 is on order. Haven't you seen the new BMC "Heathpak's Hammer" advertisements?!
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Old 02-09-14, 09:41 PM
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Part Five: the Actual Training & Evolution of the Training Plan

Alright, I get back from Maui on a Saturday and decide to start training on Sunday. From the metric century training, I knew the progression for increasing distance per week should be about 10% per week. So I set up a plan to start with a 50 mile ride and gradually increase to a final ride 2 weeks before Palm Springs, 95ish miles. But I had been off the bike for 6 weeks and no real distance rides since summer, I really struggled just to complete 42 miles on that first day, Nov 17. I wasn't sure what else to do to train, so I came to the bike forums and started asking questions.

Early on, someone suggested buying some books on cycle training. The Time Crunched Cyclist and Friels Cyclists Training Bible were recommended. I bought them both and started with TTCC because it was shorter. Now I wanted to ride intervals, but I had tried it in the real world in the past and couldn't really do it- it's the terrain in our town, either slight incline or slight decline. Once I ran out of incline, I would have to turn around and I couldn't get my heart rate up on the decline. I started to wonder of I needed a trainer, so I came here and asked about that. Opinions were mixed, but my favorite advice was "yes, if only to have another arrow in your quiver". So then I had to research trainers and start my frustrating slog through the LBSs in town, where I was given all kinda of information that even I knew was wrong (including "we don't sell trainers" to which I wanted to reply "dude, turn around, you're standing right in front of them"). Finally I decided it didn't matter that much and I decided on a CycleOps fluid trainer. Mr. H said he wanted to get it as a Christmas gift and I asked if I could pretty please have it a little early. I rode my first trainer intervals on Dec 17 and really liked it because I could rock out to my tunes and pay no attention whatsoever to what was happening around me.

I kept coming here and asking more questions and was reminded to read my training books, so I started reading Friel (great one, I really like it). Also was repeatedly told to get a bike fit and to do group rides both of which I resisted. I had a fitter who was recommended by a friend as a genius (turns out he is) but a fitting with him cost $325 and it seemed wrong to me to get a $325 fitting onto a $600 bike, plus it would make me lose a training day because of drive time to/from fitter and the 90 min time slot required. Now I can't believe I ever was reluctant to put the time and money into the fitting, I have not been more wrong about anything in my life. A LBS offered a quick & dirty fitting for $40, so I went and got that. Waste of time and $, but it took me a few more weeks to figure that out. I really didn't want to do the group rides either, I just felt like they would just be super-competive, full of fast young male cyclists and I'd wind up discouraged. But even though resistant, it was consensus here that I should do the group rides, so I started looking into it without much progress.

Around this same time, I was starting to get some real hamstring tightness from all the riding, so I wanted to do more yoga. The problem was, I had been trying yoga for awhile and getting nowhere with it, plus evening yoga doesn't really mesh well with my work schedule, something around 5:30am is much better. I read about private yoga (basically a personal trainer who is a yogi), so I sent some emails out to various private yoga instructors, telling them I just wanted to work on hamstring flexibility, upper body and core strength- things to complement cycling. I found a guy who is a former cyclist and decided to give it a try. Excellent choice is all I have to say. Love this yoga I'm doing, it's really intense. So by mid to late December, my training schedule has morphed into a long weekend ride, a short weekend ride, two trainer interval sessions and one intense yoga session per week and I'm starting to see results.

Still asking questions here, someone asked me about the gearing on my bike and suggested changing out my rear cassette. I looked into it but I would have also had to change my rear dérailleur and I didn't think I wanted to put much money into my bike, which I had totally forgotten was an entry level bike. I was really liking my training, loving cycling overall and I started to wonder if maybe I should consider getting a better bike. Of course I came here to ask questions and started to read about new bikes. I read a review of the BMC GF01 and it sounded great. I found one to test ride and the ride was pretty transcendent. I did ride a few other bikes but nothing compared to the BMC so I bought it (talk about ratcheting oneself up). I felt a little crazy to have done it, that maybe I'd bought a bike that was too good for me. Then I learned that the genius fitter did something called a prepurchase fitting, where he'd use this adjustable bike to fit you to your ideal frame and then give you a shopping list of the best bikes for you to shop for in your price range. I decided to spring for the fitting and scheduled it for Jan 10.

Meanwhile, in the process of shopping for the new bike, Mr. H had stopped by a LBS for me to inquire about a Cervelo and a guy at a LBS gave Mr. H a card for a newish intermediate group that rode out of that shop. Mostly women, no drop rides. I did my first ride with them on Jan 5, I think, and had a great time. Immediately knew that these people could take me far, I've had so many positive experiences with them already and it's only been a month. Great hill climbers, way better long routes that what I had been doing (mostly riding in circles around town), lots of knowledge and friendly people. Totally awesome.

Finally on Jan 10, I went for the fitting. This was not just any fitting, it was a crazy comprehensive, totally fascinating, really high quality process. Happy to post a description of what turned out to be a two and a half hour process if anyone is interested, it was the first experience that I've paid $ for since cycling that wasn't in some way bull$hit. Thankfully, the BMC that I'd already bought turned out to be a great choice for me. Fitters opinion was if you can afford it, it's a fabulous choice. I was very relieved. BTW, I had to order the BMC and still dont have it, maybe this week or next. Fitter also set my old Trek up for me and BAM! Immediate turning point, the very next day I start setting all kinds of personal records. Maybe it was the perfect storm of having been training for awhile plus the fitting, maybe it was mostly the fitting. But suddenly I was off like a rocket, stronger and stronger every week. My training schedule in the end was one long group ride, one recovery ride, two trainer intervals and one yoga session per week, with two days off.

After the fitting, I completed training rides of 75, 80 and 93 miles with ease (although not very fast) and worked out my nutrition & hydration. I got a bike tune up which lo and behold made my gears turn more smoothly. I did some strong group rides including an epic 30 mile uphill battle into headwinds which served me well in Palm Springs, I was totally calm in those crazy winds. I started asking questions here about hill climbing thinking towards the Wildflower and got some great info, including one BF member who even scanned some hill climbing articles and emailed them to me (grateful!). I was asking similar questions in the group rides and one of the ride leaders said my timing is perfect, she and a group of 4 others are just starting to train for a crazy hill climbing ride (15000 ft of climbing, 120 miles) and she invites me to train with them. I tell her I don't want to drag them down, she feels it will be ok. I'm going to work first on some hill climbing repeats, though, and wait until March to join them.

That's it basically. The key things in my mind were:
1. The training books. Where did I get that idea? Bike forums
2. The trainer. Bike forums
3. The yoga. My idea
4. The new bike shopping process. Kind of my idea, inspired by Bike forums
5. The fitting. Bike forums
6. The group rides. Bike forums
7. The bike tune up. My idea.
8. My unbelievably supportive & cycling-enabling spouse. Sorry, no credit to Bike Forums there.

So thank you Bike Forums for all the great advice. I know it probably seems like you all say the same things over and over to newbies. I thought it might be nice to have someone come back and tell you that she listened, put the advice into practice and successfully achieved her goal. Next thing to tackle is the hill climbing, sorry in advance if I ask an excessive number of questions about that. Bad news is beyond that I've registered for a ride at altitude. Maybe by then I'll have enough of a clue to figure more out on my own without pulling you through the 3rd degree over altitude training, lol.

H

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Old 02-09-14, 10:22 PM
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What fun reads . . .

So nice! That sounds like a typical event ride. Exactly what happens. The reason you felt like being in front is that you were riding with people slower than you, rather than faster or at least as fast as you. The way an event ride works is that it's not your saddle time that counts, it's your overall. That's what you watch, and that's how you get with people you'll enjoy riding with even more. Thus you go fast out of the blocks, get up the road as quickly as you're comfortable doing for the first 10 miles or so and then look for compatible groups. Faster people are almost always better riders, as you observed. Then keep your stops short. Coming into a stop, make a prioritized mental list of what you are going to do. Do as much of that as you feel you have time for, watching the people you came in with, and get out of there, with or ahead of your group. The shorter your stops, the faster the people you'll be riding with and the more you'll like sucking wheel.

Another non-pejorative term is "Animal!"

Dudelsack is right about LD rides. Very much something to think about. Come on over to The Dark Side. Visit RUSA.ORG and at least read About Randonneuring there. Stoker and I will be riding our first brevet as a team March 15.

I think PBP would be a little much for next year. 2019 would be good. Lots of mentoring to be done, very little of which can be done here. But you're ready for a 200k now.
Do think about it. Totally different experience from a century event ride, much fun and hugely satisfying.
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Old 02-09-14, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Carbonfiberboy
What fun reads . . .

So nice! That sounds like a typical event ride. Exactly what happens. The reason you felt like being in front is that you were riding with people slower than you, rather than faster or at least as fast as you. The way an event ride works is that it's not your saddle time that counts, it's your overall. That's what you watch, and that's how you get with people you'll enjoy riding with even more. Thus you go fast out of the blocks, get up the road as quickly as you're comfortable doing for the first 10 miles or so and then look for compatible groups. Faster people are almost always better riders, as you observed. Then keep your stops short. Coming into a stop, make a prioritized mental list of what you are going to do. Do as much of that as you feel you have time for, watching the people you came in with, and get out of there, with or ahead of your group. The shorter your stops, the faster the people you'll be riding with and the more you'll like sucking wheel.

Another non-pejorative term is "Animal!"

Dudelsack is right about LD rides. Very much something to think about. Come on over to The Dark Side. Visit RUSA.ORG and at least read About Randonneuring there. Stoker and I will be riding our first brevet as a team March 15.

I think PBP would be a little much for next year. 2019 would be good. Lots of mentoring to be done, very little of which can be done here. But you're ready for a 200k now.
Do think about it. Totally different experience from a century event ride, much fun and hugely satisfying.
Actually here's my plan for the year, subject to change:
Late April: Wildflower Century, San Luis Obispo, CA 7000 ft climbing
Early Aug: Tour de Big Bear, Big Bear Lake, CA 75 mile at 8000 ft altitude, 4800 feet climbing

If that goes well:
Early Sept- Mammoth Century, Mammoth Lakes, CA 100 mi at 8000 ft, 7000 ft climbing. This might be overly ambitious. The altitude and a tough ride, plus I could only go up the day before, it's right before a vacation and I couldn't take any extra time off work, so no altitude acclimation.

If that goes well and I'm not sick of training:
Early Dec: Malibu Double Century, the flat (5000 ft) version

So I'm not sure on the Randonneuring thing, but I'll read about it.

The SAG stops were killing me, I wound up skipping the last one. All I need from the SAGs was a porta potty and a Gatorade refill and hit the road. Just 5 min off the bike and I'd be fine. But I already felt kind of guilty for ditching my friends and felt somewhat obligated to linger a bit with Susie. The posse finished 45 minutes behind me though, it would have killed me to go that slow, there was no way I was doing that. I think riding an event like that with 5 people is a mistake unless you've all got the same goals. The posse wanted to ride a decent pace but generally enjoy the day and the scenery. I was testing out where I was and how the training plan worked, so I wanted to push a little more. Mr. H told me after the fact that at dinner the night before (when I went to the restroom) everyone had told him that they all fully expected I would take off on my own and didn't seem resentful or concerned about it in the slightest. So I probably shouldn't have worried about it as much. And certainly after the event everyone was perfectly happy and friendly so I think all is well there.

At the end, I was passing the pack but earlier on the pack was passing me, I still didn't want to join. One thing I found is that so many riders are men, when I try to join the pack I can't really see what's ahead because they are bigger than me. Then I don't have too much confidence in the intermediate pack that I'm in and I just let them go or pass them. I hear what you're saying though, the good pack was probably ahead of me and I'm left with the dicey pack. I just have to get faster, I guess.

I wish I had gotten fairy godfathers name. I would totally ride any event with that guy.

H
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Old 02-10-14, 06:26 AM
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Egging her on.

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Old 02-10-14, 06:50 AM
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Part Six: What I Need to Do Next

1. Muscle Strength
2. Muscle endurance

I'm going to work on both of those with hills in increasing volume

3. Bike skills
I am signed up for a bike skills and handling clinic in a few weeks, taught by some woman's cycling coach. Also riding in a lot of different situations and with more experience people will help. Any other good resources? Books? Online resources? Carpediem racing guy on this forum posted a good video about racing in a crowd. That was pretty helpful. I wonder if there is some online archive somewhere?

4. Basic bike maintence. Embarrassed to say that I know nothing about this including how to change a flat (fortunately I have never had one in 3000 mi of riding). I am going to a thing at LBS this week on how to change a flat. But other good resources on bike maintence? Maybe a book?

Any other thoughts as to what I should work on?

H
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Old 02-10-14, 11:55 AM
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Make faster friends. I found that having a network of cycling buddies, who were as fast or faster than I, to be an invaluable resource. Watch closely and try to do what they do. I post here in an attempt to pass on and give back.

With the tire thing, after the class put a front and rear tire on your new bike on and off until you can do it quickly and flawlessly. Try to put the tire back on with only your hands. I carry 2 tubes, a patch kit, and tire boot material. I use a Road Morph G pump. You are lucky that your area does such good road maintenance. Not so here. I go over my tires after every ride and pick out any embedded stones or bits of glass. That helps keep down the number of flats.

I learned bike maintenance mostly by doing. I did take a class, which was marginally helpful. Mostly, if I want to learn to do something I get instructions off the Park Tool website and just do it. You have to have a bike work stand. Only clamp to the seatpost on your new bike. You might have to extend it to do that, so mark where it was. I use electrical tape. You'll need chain lube - ask around for what works best in your area. A multi-tool, chain tool, and spoke wrench are about all the tools you need. You should get a nicer metric allen wrench set rather than use a multi-tool at home.
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Old 02-10-14, 02:34 PM
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Heathpack, It's always great to hear positive, success stories. You did your homework and put in the effort to be properly prepared. Your loyal Bikeforums minions had all the confidence in the world that you would do exactly as you did. Well done!

With regard to the SAG stops: Just because they build them, you don't have to stop. My last organized century I used only the last of the four or five stops that were available. And, only to top up a single bottle for the homestretch to the finish.

With your aerobic base well established, your plan to work on muscular strength and endurance sounds like a good one.

As far as bike skills. Yes, a clinic can be a good jump start. But, it's still only a day or two and what is really desirable is for the proper habits to become ingrained in your muscle memory so that when the bovine excrement hits the revolving screw your reactions are second nature. For this, and simultaneous building of your confidence, look for groups of exceptionally experienced riders to go for rides with. They won't necessarily be faster than you or unhappy about your participation.

A group similliar to one I occassionaly join comes to mind. Mine is a bunch made up largely of pensioners who meet on Tues and Thur mornings. It includes a couple of former World Champs. But, their age brings them within reach of my youth. Riding with that group is always a good experience. They're accustomed to each other, they flow, they point out things that "require" pointing out, but not every manhole cover. They obey the traffic laws. They ride close together and presume that you'll be looking up the road enough to see the approaching stop sign or light. But, quickly call out "slowing" if some otherwise unforeseen reason causes such. They're cooperative, work for each other and don't abandone anyone. But, they're still up for a good town limits sprint.

Finding the right group can require a bit of sifting. Don't be bashful about joining the group you mention who are planning to work on their climbing and have similiar ambitions to yours even if they are slightly more experienced. You might be really pleasantly surprised by how you integrate.

With regards to bike maintenance: You REALLY need to at least learn how to change a tube and patch a puncture! Next on the list would be drive train cleaning and lubrication. And then probably brake and derailleur adjustment. I don't feel that a work stand is neccessary for any of that. I certainly don't have one and I've built bikes up froma bare frame without one. I just use my trainer for any of the work that requires revolving of the cranks and rear wheel. The Park Tools website has a bunch of excellent tutorials on most the basics and then some. They also publish a book. Lennard Zinn (former US team member and technical contributor to Velonews for donkey's years) publishes a series of books entitled Zinn and The Art of Road Bike/ Mountain bike/ Triathlon Maintenance. They're well regarded and worth their price.

With regard to your altitude aspirations: The axiom is "sleep high, train low". Looks like you and Mr. H will have to move up the mountain a bit and closer to the ski lifts. :-)
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Old 02-10-14, 06:37 PM
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Originally Posted by bigfred
Heathpack, It's always great to hear positive, success stories. You did your homework and put in the effort to be properly prepared. Your loyal Bikeforums minions had all the confidence in the world that you would do exactly as you did. Well done!

With regard to the SAG stops: Just because they build them, you don't have to stop. My last organized century I used only the last of the four or five stops that were available. And, only to top up a single bottle for the homestretch to the finish.

With your aerobic base well established, your plan to work on muscular strength and endurance sounds like a good one.

As far as bike skills. Yes, a clinic can be a good jump start. But, it's still only a day or two and what is really desirable is for the proper habits to become ingrained in your muscle memory so that when the bovine excrement hits the revolving screw your reactions are second nature. For this, and simultaneous building of your confidence, look for groups of exceptionally experienced riders to go for rides with. They won't necessarily be faster than you or unhappy about your participation.

A group similliar to one I occassionaly join comes to mind. Mine is a bunch made up largely of pensioners who meet on Tues and Thur mornings. It includes a couple of former World Champs. But, their age brings them within reach of my youth. Riding with that group is always a good experience. They're accustomed to each other, they flow, they point out things that "require" pointing out, but not every manhole cover. They obey the traffic laws. They ride close together and presume that you'll be looking up the road enough to see the approaching stop sign or light. But, quickly call out "slowing" if some otherwise unforeseen reason causes such. They're cooperative, work for each other and don't abandone anyone. But, they're still up for a good town limits sprint.

Finding the right group can require a bit of sifting. Don't be bashful about joining the group you mention who are planning to work on their climbing and have similiar ambitions to yours even if they are slightly more experienced. You might be really pleasantly surprised by how you integrate.

With regards to bike maintenance: You REALLY need to at least learn how to change a tube and patch a puncture! Next on the list would be drive train cleaning and lubrication. And then probably brake and derailleur adjustment. I don't feel that a work stand is neccessary for any of that. I certainly don't have one and I've built bikes up froma bare frame without one. I just use my trainer for any of the work that requires revolving of the cranks and rear wheel. The Park Tools website has a bunch of excellent tutorials on most the basics and then some. They also publish a book. Lennard Zinn (former US team member and technical contributor to Velonews for donkey's years) publishes a series of books entitled Zinn and The Art of Road Bike/ Mountain bike/ Triathlon Maintenance. They're well regarded and worth their price.

With regard to your altitude aspirations: The axiom is "sleep high, train low". Looks like you and Mr. H will have to move up the mountain a bit and closer to the ski lifts. :-)

If it were up to me, I probably would have hit the SAGs at mile 22 (necessary after the wind/climb), mile 50 and mile 80. The 62 mile stop was unnecessary. I didn't plan to stop at it but Susie's hip was bothering her and she felt needed to stretch.

I might try to ride with the hill climbers sooner than March, but I want to try some hills on my own first just to know where I stand with it. Tomorrow is the first day of that.

I really can't believe I did that ride not knowing how to fix a flat. The only other organized ride I've ever done was positively crawling with SAG riders on bikes, you couldn't go more than 5-10 min without someone riding by. This ride was nothing like that and I would have had to rely on somebody stopping to help me (or wait for Susie who would have helped me even though I ditched her, which I obviously still feel guilty about). Which is inherently a little rude, I'm just glad I didn't get a flat.

Mr. H has already suggested we get out the camping gear and head up to Big Bear multiple weekends this summer for training rides. We are fortunate in that we can get to 8000 ft of elevation in about an hours drive. I also have this poor unsuspecting friend who lives at 10000 ft in Breckenridge CO. He is a cyclist too and called me today to ask how the century went. I told him all about it and my planned altitude ride and then promptly invited myself to his house for a week of training. Lol, I can't really spare the time but he knows quite a bit about altitude training it seems and quite happy to discuss it.

I'll look into the maintence book.

H
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