Saturday, January 17, 2009

100 Miles

I decided I wanted to do the complete Lake Washington loop today.  I think it's about sixty miles.  I talked one of my friends into it too.  The plan was that I'd meet him and his girlfriend near my apartment, ride into downtown with them and have crumpets, and then we'd go do the loop while his girlfriend peeled off and did her own thing.

So I had breakfast - three scrambled eggs and two slices of toast, with butter.  That's 300 calories for the eggs and another 300ish for the two slices of toast and the butter.  I usually eat more toast in the morning and it usually has jam, but today I was "borrowing" my roommate's bread and I'm out of jam.

Then I met my friends and we road downtown for crumpets.  I had two, with butter and honey.  So that's probably about 500 calories.  Total for the day: 1100, and it's not even noon yet.

My friend's girlfriend hasn't been on a road bike and I have an evil plan to turn her into a roadie.  I took the opportunity to get her on his road bike for a little while - they have almost the same inseam - as a step in that plan.  So we rode from downtown to Ballard, very slowly, before my friend and I started the loop.  I maintained about 18.5 miles per hour for a really, really long time from then forward - basically until the first hill.  He stayed in my slipstream, ostensibly because he's bad at maintaining a consistent pace over distance and wanted to let me do it, since I'm fairly good about that.

I had about three power bars during that leg of the ride, which ended up being just North Lake Washington because my friend was getting pretty beat up by the time we hit the decision point between doing half the loop or the whole thing.  I had about three power bars during that loop.  They're 240 calories a pop, so 720 calories there and I'm up to 1820 for the day.  That's already more than a lot of people eat on any given day.

By the time we crossed the I-90 bridge back into Seattle, my friend was in fairly bad shape and we had to stop and start a lot because he was having trouble riding.  It's small of me, but I enjoyed that a little since whenever we go on shorter rides he pushes me really hard to keep up with the fast paces he sets.  I can tell it costs him more than me, but I don't really like to ride that hard most of the time so it's still irritating.  The pace I was setting today was a lot slower than his usual pace and based on what I thought I could keep up for 60-70 miles.  He especially rides really hard on hills, but the scope of the hills involved in doing a bigger ride were such that he couldn't just charge them the way he usually does.  Anyway, we went to a little coffee shop that's near my house and on the way to his and took a break before parting ways.  I had two cookies.  They were probably about 400 calories each, bringing me to about 2620 for the day.  At that point, I was at around mile 64.

I was feeling really good, and it's always bothered me that I'd never done a full Century.  I decided that I was, at the least, going to set a new personal best for miles in a day but hopefully make it to 100.  The whole thing's a little arbitrary because it would be a different distance if we used a different unit of measurement, but round numbers are kind of fun.  Accomplishing a really long ride described by a fun, round number is something I never accomplished in college and thought I might not get another chance to do because of my knee problems, so it's a pretty big deal for me to be able to do it now.  I think that I'll always have to be a little careful and pay a little more attention, but it's something of a symbol of progress for me to set a new personal best post-injury when I set my previous one before I knew my knees are a problem.

I called another of my friends to see if she was available to do some riding.  She was, and we did 22 miles together.  It was dark at this point, but both of us have powerful headlights.  I think it could have been pretty depressing to do the miles alone, in the dark, so I'm glad she was into it.  During that section, my right shoulder started to really bother me and I switched from mostly riding the brake hoods to mostly riding on the flat part of my handlebar.  When we got back to her place, I took her up on her offer of macaroni and cheese because I was hungry and needed a break.  I also had another power bar during the ride.  So I was at 2860 calories, and then I had another 200ish of Mac and Cheese.  Although there was extra cheese.  So lets call it 240 because round numbers are nice and I'm not being scientific.  3100 calories for the day.

I was at 87.5 miles when I left her house, so I rode another 12.5 to get home.  When I got home, I put away a protein bar almost immediately.  290 calories.  Then I made dinner.  A third of a box of pasta is 540 calories.  Half a jar of sauce is 150.  All that brings the total to 4080.

I expect to eat a lot tomorrow too.  I don't really want to eat more right now.  Or, rather, I do, but I'm pretty full and I plan to spend tomorrow doing some things around the house, grocery shopping, and avoiding any significant exertion.  I'll probably go for a walk or something because not moving at all would be really bad, but I'm sure I'm going to be feeling pretty beat up.

So now that I've done my 100-mile day, I need a new goal.  I guess a double century is one thing to think about, or maybe doing the Seattle to Portland ride in a day, but I think that would actually be a much more difficult goal than what I did today, and might not be realistic this season.  At a bit over 85 miles I decided I needed to take a real break before continuing.  I did have a couple breaks on my way to 85 miles, but not many and not long, so I think that I can, relatively easily, do 85 miles in one shot.  I may try to do that next weekend and then start working up my mileage from there until I can do 100 miles in one shot.  A Century as a goal has always bothered me a little bit because I think that, given enough time, tons of people can do it.  Today it took me 7:26, not counting stops.  My average was 13.5 mph.  That's not a terrible average given that much of the riding was urban, but it's hardly fast.  Including stops, it took about twelve hours.  I suppose I could argue that I mostly rode with people who were going at a slower pace than I'd have chosen, but I don't know if I'd have been able to complete it if I'd gone at my pace all day, so it's a moot point.  If I start working on it on my own and I do it my way - eating and drinking on the bike, and not stopping until done - I should be able to get my time down to 7:30, stops included.

I'm not going to work too seriously on a 7-hour Century in the near future.  I want to race my mountain bike this summer, so I'm going to be doing a number of things that aren't pure endurance work, and I have some other goals at the moment that aren't cycling, so while I'd like to keep my weekly mileage relatively high, a fast Century isn't a huge thing for me.  I'd like to do one non-stop.  That would be pretty good for me.  If I'm feeling good about my long-distance riding, later in the season I might do one of the organized ones and try to do it in six hours.  That sort of pace is pretty difficult for me to sustain in the context of riding in traffic, since I believe in stopping at lights and not getting myself run over, but I might be able to ride fast enough, even in hills, to achieve that.  But again - it's a secondary goal, and I may find that life takes me in another direction.  The big milestone, for me, was a 100 mile day and I'm pretty happy.


Zach said...

His girlfriend peeled off and did her own thing.

Damn, I'm pedantic.

Next step is pretty obvious, I think: century without stopping.

Andrew said...



Actually, you're right - I'm downplaying the goal of doing a full century without stopping. Especially since, now that I think about it, it is something I'm going to have to do some more distance training to achieve.