Saturday, March 20, 2010

Century Training - Week 1; Day 6

Day: 6
Ride: Pace
Route: Hilly
Scheduled Mileage: 30
Actual Mileage: 30.76
Average Speed: 12.6 mph*
Max Speed: 24.6 mph
*Includes city street speed average

Average BPM: 136
Max BPM: 174
Calories: 991

Random Notes to Self:
  • Plan to wear the chest strap that goes with my CATEYE V3 on each ride moving forward; heart rate (BPM - beats per minute) and calorie consumption data on my cycling computer is surprisingly motivational.
  • Need to consider early morning rides on Saturdays; midday in Central Park - with all the walkers, joggers, strollers, horse carriages and other cyclists - is a crowded time to ride when the weather is nice - especially on weekends.
  • There is such a thing as "hill index" - overall hilliness and steepness of a route.
  • Hill index makes me slow.

Central Park is hilly. You notice it on your first couple of laps around the park. You are sorely aware of it on your third and fourth laps. By your fifth and sixth laps, the subtle delirium that begins to set in makes you swear that there is a crank somewhere that increases the grade of each hill on every lap. But it sure was beautiful. Above is a quick cell phone photo, featuring the daytime view of the Midtown Manhattan skyline from Central Park - contrasting last night's view of one of my new favorite spots in the park.

It took a little over six laps to cycle 30 miles in Central Park. By my fifth lap, I was breathing hard and a little dizzy. And I obviously was not suffering from slight vertigo because of the mind-blowing speed with which I ate up the road. Seasoned cyclists were passing me with ease over my entire 2.5-hour ride. There were even a few recognizable jerseys that lapped me once (and one who lapped me twice). I am not suffering from competitor's remorse, but to prevent frustration with my training, I have to remember that they are "seasoned" - and I am my first week into a training program that America By Bicycle recommends for one who has already been riding an average of 45-50 miles per week. I am not that one, and I am a beginner. That is why the seasoned ones cycle smoother and pant less(er) than I do. And that is ok, Katie.

And more than ever, the need for a nutrition plan for athletic performance was apparent. I hope to learn more about how to balance my nutritional intake to optimize my energy and endurance for longer rides. I also need to rethink my weight training program. For the last three years - being a relatively ardent gym rat - I have followed a six-day per week strength program that concentrates upper and lower body routines on alternating days with daily core moves. However, depending on how my long rides progress, I may have to drop the weight lifting to four or five-days per week in lieu of six. Not because my morning upper body routine defeated my long ride this afternoon, but because Saturday afternoons are going to become increasingly busier in the park, and I also need to think ahead about the midday heat as spring continues to warm the city. I should start riding in the morning on Saturdays, and I don't know if I'll feel like going to the gym afterward; I certainly don't feel like going now that today's ride is over.

This morning, I began my day with a Pure Protein bar and a 1.5-hour upper body workout at the gym around 9am before eating a veggie omelet for breakfast and heading out for my first 30-mile ride around 11:30am. I was hoping to turn on the "fat-burning engine" by following one of the eating plans in my America By Bicycle Century Challenge & Endurance Cycling Training Guide that "emphasize[s] long, easy rides without a lot of carbohydrate" thus forcing "the body to tap its fat supply." Eventually, my body should get better at using fat for fuel and saving my glycogen (stored carbohydrate) for the second winds I'll need toward the end of long rides. Or something like that.

As my long rides get longer, I'll also plan to carry an energy bar or two and put a sports drink in my second water bottle (once R&A Cycles gets the silver and black Tacx Tao cages I want to put on my bicycle; they have them on order - though there is a small amount of internal debate over whether I should get the all-black ones instead).

As for the present, I stopped about halfway through my 30-mile ride today to purchase an overpriced bottle of water from a park vendor and stretched in the shade while munching on another protein bar (my go-to snack to keep hunger at bay). But it wasn't enough though to keep me from struggling through the last lap of my ride, especially since I already know that protein is more functional for recovery and not immediate energy bursts.

I am happy that I was able to complete my first long ride, but I'll be heavily researching how to prepare my body nutritionally - as well as how to better use food to maintain during, and recover from, the long rides. I'm starting more research here, but - as always on this blog - advice and suggestions are welcomed.

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