We make holes in teeth!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

103 Days

Just for the record, I made it to 103 days before having my first beer. The goal was 90 but once I got to 90 I wanted to make 100 and get past the first (sorta) event of the year.

Sunday evening Lou came over and we grilled up burgers and some veggies and I popped the cap for the first time since January 8th. The beer of choice was Pranqster, a tasty Belgian Strong Pale Ale that hit the spot. I went with the Belgian as my beer of choice because everything in the basement is over 3 months old and the more yeasty beers tend to keep better.

In the spirit of over analyzing everything I will offer 2 thoughts. The first is that beer is as good as I remember it being but I didn't want another. The second is that my body seemed to process the alcohol rapidly. For a 7.2% abv beer, I had a light buzz for about half an hour then done. I would have expected more of an impact but I'm happy it was more benign.

So that streak is over. Today is day 4 of my new streak. I make no overtures that this one will last quite so long, however.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Event #1: Miles For Matheny

Disclaimer: This is boring. I feel compelled to write this because I like to have a record of my major efforts. While I'm not going to chronicle every one of my 3+ hour rides I did want to make this a "full dress rehearsal" of sorts. So here you go.

So I guess I sorta "won" the Miles for Matheny ride, but it wasn't really a race. Sure, the guys that go out there are trying to post a fast time, myself included. But you don't have teams of riders trying to position their sprinter for that final finish. That would have been ugly anyway, since the wheelchair walk was in full progress when we came across the "finish line", an expression I put in quotes since there was none. You just sort of ended then went to the picnic or, like me, just went home.

The course was a hilly (almost) 50 mile loop with something like 5600 feet of vertical, winding through some of the area's nicest scenery as well as old route 24 which won't be making any postcards soon. I finished up in 3:03 which certainly is a good time if I want to try and finish the Hillier Than Thou century in less than 8 hours, a course which reportedly has over 11k feet of climbing. Even if I don't do the HTT I'll be coming back to some of these new hills in the future. My aim is to loop together some of the nicest back roads and scenic spots in the area. This course gave me more ammunition in that quest.

In all it was a good day, a good ride, and a great training loop. If I do stuff like this every weekend I'll either make major gains this year or blow up trying.

Easing Into It

I took both Thursday and Friday off the bike and did a warm up ride Saturday in an attempt to be fresh for the ride, but not stale which explains the warm up. I think it worked fairly well, but the previous 9 days saw me get 9 sessions on the trainer so I wasn't fresh as a daisy either. I think with a normal training schedule this would work out well, but we'll see. There are a few different ways to play these non-peak events and this is just one of them

The Warm Up

I rode a 14 mile loop around the swamp on Saturday with a 5 minute all-out effort. The point was to make sure I wasn't stale for the following day as well as setting myself up for the experimental carb load. This event was meant to be a training run for the real events going forward so this is the time to get all the mistakes out of the system. I have seen the sluggishness coming off rest days so I didn't want to go into it totally flat. Then of course you don't want to blow the doors off the day before.

Carb Loading

There is a lot of debate whether this works or not. My basic approach is to do a limited carb load the day before the race. You have a workout as described above then try to eat 90% of your food as carbs the rest of the day. Well I didn't stick to 90%, but I did eat a good amount. I managed to put on 4 pounds from Saturday morning to Sunday, so something worked. To be sure, there is no way I took in enough fluids during the ride so I think this had a tangible effect on my ride.

Having said that, the "experts" advise against doing this too often. I don't know either way, but I am back to 184 this morning and quite frankly feel phenomenal.


My hope was to nail the breakfast of 1 gram of carb per pound of body weight 2 hours before the event and I managed to do get 186 grams with a double serving of carnation instant breakfast mixed with a cup of rice milk, a bagel with butter, and a half cup of grape nuts with rice milk. I had no stomach problems before the race and was even able to chug a 16 bottle of Heed mixed up. The rest of my breakfast was 3 cups of water and a cup of coffee.

On Bike Food

I ended up drinking 1.5 bottles of my over-strong Heed mix which was 450 calories on top of the 200 calories I had 5 minutes before the start. This comes out to 650 calories but one-third of it front-loaded. So after the 200 I only took in 150 per hour, far too low a number for any kind of distance riding. Given that, I was likely at my limit for the day. Another hour and I would have probably been in the dumpster or going door-to-door looking for a can of Coke.

I found the Heed too sweet but my stomach never complained. It would have been nice to have more straight up water. But with only 2 bottles there's only so much to work with and calories are more important in a 3 hour ride.


Overall I was thrilled with my ride, even though I never really felt "on" save for a few rollers I really let go on. I was still feeling a little sluggish on some hills but obviously the power was there. So in all it went well.

The 2 days off is an undetermined thing right now. It could be argued that I should have done a normal weekly cycle and just ridden the warm up Saturday but this isn't a target event and this is exactly the experimenting you do on a ride like this.

I think the mini carb load and the breakfast worked out well. I'm going to need to be better on my calorie and water intake though I knew what I was shooting for so it's all good in that regard. Plus, I was much closer to redlining it on this ride than I would be for a 4+ hour event or ride.

Nothing more to note. Not a very exciting writeup but I'm trying to bring it all together. Too many guys I know go out and make the same mistakes over and over and never learn from them. The idea is to get the groove down then when you need to just let it go because it's all second nature.

One other thing. The look on the faces of the entire pack when I spun past them all on Devil's Staircase was priceless. What's even more entertaining is the fact that they never caught me again after that.

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