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Old 03-22-05, 02:21 PM   #1
Fastest rider in my house
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Help me get ready for a big (to me) ride... (Lots of ?s)

Background: I'm 31 years old, and starting riding a road bike every once in a while last summer, and started getting much more serious about it in January. When I was a 130 lb teenager I used to ride a lot, and wish I hadn't quit when I was 18. I'm currently 190 lbs (was about 200 at the beginning of the year and my goal is to be at 170 or less by the end of June), and still have a really tough time climbing almost any kind of hill.

Most of my rides are on a trainer for about half an hour, and do intervals once per week. Every 1 or 2 weeks I go out with a group and ride 20-25 miles, but until two days ago I hadn't done any more than that.

This coming Saturday I'm riding the Easter Hill Country Tour in Kerrville, TX. I'm doing the 55 mile ride, and for a person that just recently got back into the sport it's a long ride even without the 3000 feet of climbing.

Last Sunday I did a 45 mile group ride with hills that are almost as big as I'm expecting but not quite as steep. That ride took just about everything out of me and I had to stop for a few minutes several times. I was among the last to finish the ride, but was really proud that I finished at all.

Now I need to get ready for Saturday. Yesterday after work I took the bike out on the road for an easy 7.31 mile ride to work out some of the soreness. Today my legs feel better, but still feel fatigued. The weather has been nice and warm, but pretty windy.

I'm looking at three possible plans:

Plan 1:
Today (Tuesday): Ride 10 miles at a comfortable pace on a rolling road (speed dependant on wind direction).
Wednesday: Ride 20-25 miles on a rolling road
Thursday: Do about the same 7 mile ride I did yesterday
Friday: No ride, just clean and lube the bike for Saturday

Plan 2:
Today: No ride, just maybe do some stretching to help with muscle fatigue
Wednesday: Ride 15-20 miles on rolling road
Thursday: 7-10 miles at comfortable pace on flat to rolling road
Friday: No ride, clean, lube, etc.

Plan 3:
Do my normal half hour on the trainer each day through Thursday, but skip the intervals this week.

I don't necessarily NOT want to ride today, but I do still feel tired and I don't want to overdo it. At the same time, I want to be ready for Saturday because I know it will be a significant challenge for me. On Saturday, I don't care in the least how long it takes me to finish, I just want to make it to the finish line.

I know it doesn't seem like a long hard ride to many of you guys, but I'm slowly getting there. I plan on doing a 90 mile ride in May and the MS150 Bike to the Beach in October.

Any other things I should be considering?

Thanks in advance.
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Old 03-22-05, 02:55 PM   #2
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Personally, I believe you will still be in a bit of pain and mental torture for your ride on saturday. I am not sure how long of a notice you had for this ride. Being that you have your ride in 4 days.

I would suggest:
1. Lay off the intervals.
2. Spin every morning for 30 minutes on your trainer (as this will reduce the leg soreness).
3. Tuesday ride outdoors for 10-15 miles.
4. Wednesday ride outdoors for 15-20 miles.
5. Thursday ride outdoors for 20-25, even 30 would be great.
6. Friday ride outdoors for 10-15 miles (ez pace) and confirm that the bike is in tip-top shape (ie. lube, bike maintenance) for saturday's 55 miler.
7. Remember to stretch before (gently) and afterwards.
8. Get some energy gels and use 1 every 45 minutes to provide instant energy to your depleted legs (this has helped me, I prefer GU gels).
9. Make sure to have a good carb pasta dinner the night before.
10. Get plenty of sleep at least 6-7 hrs.
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Old 03-22-05, 04:06 PM   #3
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Thanks for info. I'd love to do that much if I had time for it. I should have included the following info in the initial question, but I was trying not to make the post too long.

As it is, I have absolutely no time in the morning (I run with my squadron 3 times a week in the morning, and the other 2 days I take over the kid duties from my wife).

In the evenings, I have about an hour today and Thursday, and maybe 2 hours on Wednesday assuming I can get home a little early.

I know, it sounds like I'm making excuses. Well, here's another one. I just looked and the tree outside my window is bent over. After that I checked the weather site and the winds are 22 mph gusting to 27 mph. As soon as I saw that I decided to ride the trainer today. I can get some work done at the same time, so maybe I can ride for a longer period today (probably an hour).

I do expect to have, as you understated so well, "a bit of pain and mental torture" on Saturday. I had that Sunday during the 45 as well. I just want to finish, that's all. Eventually I'll be able to do that distance without the pain, but until then I'll grind through it. I wish I could spend more time this week preparing, but I'll do what I can.

Thanks very much for the tips. I'm horrible about remembering to stretch, but I'll do it this week and on Saturday. I love energy gels. On Sunday I had one every hour, but I'll take your advice and make it every 45 minutes on Saturday.

Can you define "good carb" pasta? I was thinking of just having spaghetti or something Friday night, but should I be looking at something different?

Sleep is an easy one. Since I started riding regularly I've been sleeping like a rock. I used to have trouble every once in a while, but not lately.

In answer to your first question, I registered for this ride a month ago, and ended up getting the flu just as I started to get ready. That reduced my riding time for a couple of weeks. Even after I thought I was better I'd start feeling sick after about half an hour. I finally felt 100% again about a week ago, so I felt pretty good about going from no more than 25 miles on flat to rolling roads to getting sick to Sunday's 45 with hills. I keep reminding myself that Saturday is only 10 miles further, and there are rest stops every 10-12 miles if I need a quick breather.

Again, I really appreciate the info.
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Old 03-22-05, 07:22 PM   #4
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Take a look at my article on riding a century. I know you aren't riding a century yet, but it might give you some tips on how to be comfortable out there for the distance you are doing.

All the best!!
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