Today was the long club ride I look forward to each week. It’s a necessary part of my training for the century in October. It seems I learn something new every time I go on one of these rides, and today was no exception.
The ride went into the rural countryside southeast of Austin. It was advertised as a 44-miler, and would be a nice bump up over last week’s distance.
Once we got out of the city’s built up area, the roads started to get hilly. Mostly rollers, not too bad, but still a challenge. We didn’t have an organized B ride, so I told the ride leader that if I and my friend David dropped off the back, to consider us the B ride and not worry about waiting for us. The peloton took off, and were soon out of sight.
Many of the roads we traveled were part of my first metric century last fall, so I was familiar with them. But after about 28 miles, I could feel myself losing energy. David pulled over to the side to wait. We saw a gas station a quarter mile down the road, and decided that would serve as an impromptu rest stop. But it turned out to be the planned rest stop — everybody from the group was there, swapping stories, eating energy bars, and drinking water or Gatorade. For me, the break came just in time.
The group lost us again within a mile of leaving the gas station. It was taking awhile for the nourishment to be felt, so I shifted to the small chain ring and spun easily through the countryside. Today was not going to be a speedy ride.
After about a half hour, I started to feel some strength in my thighs again. The rest of the ride in was uneventful, but when we got to our starting point at Starbuck’s, only two riders were still there, drinking their post-ride coffees.
So what did I learn? Spinning is underrated. The speed won’t be as high, I won’t be able to keep up with the group, but I will be able to finish strong. Breakfast is important. Mine this morning wasn’t big enough. Two waffles, a glass of orange juice and a cup of coffee don’t provide the calories needed for a long ride. Don’t trust the numbers. The ride was supposed to be 44 miles. My total at the end was 52.
It’s the longest unsupported ride I’ve done to date. I’ll be better prepared for the next.