Sunday, June 2, 2013

It's not over, it's never over - going the extra 50 miles training for the 2013 Etape

What's the best thing to do the day after after your longest-ever ride?

I'm not entirely sure, but not having dinner then riding 15km more while also racking up your most ever metres climbed the next day probably isn't the smartest plan in the world.

Dave was nice on Day One
After my weaving to get through training on Day One with Mash the Pedals in Wales I was feeling it on Day Two. Dave, the lovely man who looked after me on Day One, was organising the ride on Day Two and had become evil. He'd decided on 100 miles with 10,000 feet of climbing. You're joking, right?


We set out and I dropped back into the pattern of the day before. Fine on the flats, fast on the descents and spat out of the back of the pack on the climbs. But oddly I didn't mind. By this point it was the plan. No more effort than needed (ie c160bpm), spin the pedals and get up the hills.

Then my back started to hurt. After 140km and almost 6 hours in the saddle (nine hours total time) on Saturday I was in pain early. 60km in and I was looking to stop, to get off, to at very least stretch.

Then we hit an 11km climb. It was shallow, just 2.4%, but I couldn't stop. Couldn't get off. Couldn't stretch. My shoulders started complaining along with my back.  But a quick rest and a bit of flat/down and I had a chance to stretch a bit in the saddle. It hurt but it was manageable.

The next big climb killed me. 4.4km at 4.5%. No rest. No reprive. My legs felt fine, my heart rate was comfortably in range but I was done. Gone. I was 90km into a planned 155km ride and I just. Couldn't. Go. On.

Stunning, but a long way up
But I did. I kept pedalling. Well, I stopped at a car park, had a drink, a gel, a stretch and a chat with Mash the Pedals' support car driver, chef and all round lovely person Rebecca (she offered to drive me back to the group, I refused). But I got back on and rode.

I was staring at the Garmin a lot at this point. I just need to hit 100km. Then I'll stop. That's perfectly respectable. I rode 140km yesterday, 100 the next day is more than enough.

Then when I passed 100 - I'll just hit 4.5 hours, then I'll stop. That's plenty, more than plenty. I will have loads of good fitness work done then. And after that it was I'll just do one more climb, I've come to Wales for the climbing. One more, then I'll stop.

Long and ouchy
The pain got worse, I almost came off twice stretching (imagine a man on a bike trying to have sex with his handle bars - groin thrust forwards, head thrown back - at 45kph downhill and you'll understand firstly how I almost stacked it and also the level of pain I was in to try it). I found different ways to stretch, not as effective, but less likely to result in death.

But no one else was stopping or even resting so I kept going. I endured. Somehow I endured. I also ended up with 155.4km on the clock with 2,401m of climbing. My longest ride and the most metres up in a day.

So what have I learnt? The first thing is the body can do more than you think. The second is I'm an idiot. Months back I knew my back hurt towards the end of long rides. I found a guide to the excercises you need to do to help, and I didn't do them. I will.

Oh, and Dave really is evil - this is what he planned for the final climb of the day.... Bobby and Ratters somehow managed it.

This was the final climb. After 96 miles. It was 25%.

Paul also defeated by this climb. It got even steeper after this section.

1 comment:

  1. Those last few Ks on Annecy-Semnoz, when you're waeving up the steep sections, with the tears dripping down your cheeks and then the one-legged 70 year Frenchman overtakes you on the big ring, think then about this weekend of riding and just.keep.peddaling.