Sunday, June 8, 2008

Three State Century + ride

This weekend I had planned on riding a 400km brevet starting in Westfield, MA to continue the series and finish with the 600km in a few weeks. Due to a bad pedal interface on my right crankarm - the pedal wobbles about in the carbon arm and could break at some point - I decided it would be a bad idea, and somewhat irresponsible, to go on a 250 mile bike ride through the country.

Instead, I came up to Connecticut with my wife to stay at my parents house for the weekend and to do a long ride on Saturday and a shorter ride today, Sunday.

I woke up around 6am, wolfed down some breakfast, then headed out in to a gray mist with hardly any visibility. It was incredibly humid. 99%. The air was so damp it felt like it was raining. I was quickly soaked leaving my parents driveway. At least it was warm. The sun beat it's way through the mist about an hour later and it quickly went from wet, humid to hot, wet, humid. The three H's. Hazy Hot Humid. O, boy, I'm in a for a doozy today! The temperature never let up, nor did the humidity throughout the day. It was over 90F for most of my ride.

On to the ride...The ride was beautiful, and was mostly in CT but also went through NY and MA. See it here. Connecticut never lets me down. I went out with the idea of riding north to Bash Bish Falls. A brutal six mile climb with numerous 18% grades. I had no idea how far it was there but was guessing around 50 or 60 miles. Turns out I guessed correctly. I was on country roads nearly the entire time. Route 7 being the only exception. And it's still beautiful just has a tad heavier traffic - nothing to keep you away though! If you checked the link you probably noticed there was a lot of climbing. Pretty standard CT stuff. Nearly 8,000 feet total ascent! I recall three long climbs with tons of rollers throughout the entire ride - it's basically never flat. The last big hill was on route 45 near the very end of the ride, which is about 4 or 5 miles continuous climbing. 95F, completely exposed in the sun, I pedaled my way up at a pathetic 8mph trying to keep my heart rate below my LT (166) Normally I climb this hill around 11mph but the heat really did a number on me!

Today was my first training ride I started focusing on emulating everything, including nutrition, that I will do during a race. Before I had been eating bars since the rides were not terribly long and I had enough room to carry solid food. But Today, I donned the Camelbak Rogue 2L hydration pack to combat the heat, and filled one bottle with a concentrated Hammer Perpetuem + water and another bottle with just the powder for the 2nd bottle later in the day. Perpetuem kicks butt for long rides. The one bottle, exclusively, fed me for 4 hours of constant pedaling. At noon I stopped to get a 2L bottle of water and refilled the Camelbak plus the 2nd bottle of Hammer. This was the only stop I made off the bike for the entire 112 miles in 90F+ heat. I never felt tired, hungry, or thirsty. I felt very strong the entire way until route 45 and the dreaded climb in the 2pm HHH weather.

Check out the ride if you are ever in the area! It's simply amazing. Lots of high speed descents - my max speed 51mph - and beautiful views nearly the entire time.

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