Saturday, October 4, 2008

Seven more days

It is Saturday, October 4th, 2008 and seven days until I ride the Century at the Tour De Cure for diabetes. Today is a very special day for me, a very personal anniversary, but not a birthday, but a kind of re-birth, a second chance at life, which has lasted 19 years. I am grateful that at age 50, I still have relatively good health. I have started to notice the little things that I assume comes with age and is controlled by genetics and the life long experiences my body has had to endure and heal over time, but generally I am in OK shape. I am in as good of condition as I can get before the 100 mile ride. My average speed with out pushing myself to my limits has crept up to over 16 miles an hour over distance, anywhere from 26 to 51 miles. But to survive the century, I know I will need to keep my average low for most of the ride to ensure I don't bonk, or over tax my body. My max distance at one time is a little over 62 miles. My last 26 miles felt very good, but I can see where I need far better discipline with regards to keeping control of my effort and speed. My "yard dog" mentality doesn't help me be consistent. Around other bikers or racers, I catch myself trying to keep up at their tempo and not mine which can be disastrous to my performance and endurance goal. 16 is almost always in my range of average speed taking into consideration the hills I often climb and the changing wind conditions. Wind is my biggest enemy and when hit with a wind or hill challenge, I give up on my average and just do the work. I allow my self to be slow. Often, it is benificial to train slow and build up slowly. I try to be mindful and listen to my body signals. It takes these old bones and muscles several miles to warm up, but after about 13 miles it seems my body gets into a pain free and comfortable posture. Things that bother me like a knee, or an ankle, or back pain seems to settle out and I feel free of pain. Occasionally it takes a little longer, but if I drink enough, stop to stretch and just take it easy, my body responds. Most importantly, I have to ride my own ride and do my own pace. I will also try to eat and get my glycogen levels up before the ride and hydrate well. I have a hard 3 and half days of work to contend with, and then I will need to be well fed, hydrated, and rested. The lower back exercises and stretching exercises are helpful, but I haven't kept them up and I can't change much in a week. So hopefully, my basic fitness will be enough if I keep my speed and effort low at first and try to conserve energy.