Type: Cycle Salt Lake Century
Distance: 106.1 miles
Average Watts: 153 watts
Normative Power: 185 watts
Average Heart Rate: 144 bpm
Total Work: 3,012 kJ
This was designed to be a fun ride -- there was no UCI placing available on this ride. It really was just supposed to be fun. We had a group of five guys who rode it together. I have only ridden with two of them, so I was a little nervous about the other two as I didn't know them. One had ridden LOTOJA, so I knew he had the skills to keep up. I hoped they had the fitness too.
We met up at the State Fairgrounds Park and waited. Shay Bertola and I arrived first. For those of you who know me, it shouldn't surprise you as I hate to be late for a race or a ride. At the same time, I really don't like it when others are late either. Juston Puchar made all of the introductions once everyone had arrived and about 7:30, we got on the road.
The first section of road out to the first aid stop is always crowded. Our plan was to average 20 mph for the entire ride (which we came real close to doing), so rolling along with the masses on their mountain bikes at 12 mph wasn't going to work. I don't have an issue with people who ride really slow during these rides -- they aren't races after all. I do have a problem with people swerving all over the road, riding four to five people wide, and refusing to move over when faster people come by. That is annoying. If you are going to ride in a group ride like this, please learn and follow the rules. Is it really too much to ask?
About 5 miles before the first aid station out group of five was rolling at about 22 mph, looking for a faster group to pair up with. One came by at about 24 mph and so we hooked on to the wheel. It was an interesting crew. The clear alpha male was out front of the group pulling about 80% of the time. Every time someone from our crew would try to move up to the front, their last rider in the line would block us. I am not sure if he spoke English or not, because I asked him nicely several times if he would like us to take a turn. He never would even look at us. So we just stayed on their wheels.
About 20 minutes later the lead guy peels off the front and comes back to me and REALLY rudely asks me if we plan on taking a turn. He was obviously suffering, but I was really frustrated with his last rider. I kind of snapped a little and just told him his boy was blocking me every time I tried to move to the front. I also told him if he was tired, all he had to do is peel off and move to the back of the line. He went up and spoke to the "blocker" and looked back at me and made it clear it was out turn. I burned some rubber up to the front and asked at what speed he wanted us to keep it at. "23-24," was his answer.
I jumped on front and kept it at 23-24 mph. I kept it there on the flats, the uphills, and the downhills. Needless to say, they fell off after a couple of miles. My crew just passed them up and we went on. Everyone else we hooked up with all day was fantastic. I think the sourpuss crew turned around at the 36 mile turn around. My advice to this guy: If you want people to cooperate with you, please let them. Be clear to your group about how you want them to ride i.e. as the last guy in your line to not block other riders as they come forward to pull.
Enough of that. The ride was pretty uneventful. Everyone in our crew was strong a ready to go. I haven't ever ridden in a century where everyone was so evenly matched. We did have two of our guys who ran out of gas. Shay started to really suck wind at about mile 40 and suffered until mile 50. We started to make him eat a ton of food because I knew he could pull out of it. Lo and behold, at mile 50 he started to pull it together. He felt good until the end. It was his longest distance to date. I was proud of his effort once he started feeling good again. At that distance, all you have to do is refuel and most of the time, you will bounce back.
Nutrition and Hydration Strategy
Of course, his experience highlights the fact that you need to fuel the entire ride, from the very beginning. Shay didn't fuel up for the first hour of the ride, and only took in 150 calories after that. From my experience, you need to refuel at the pace of 250-300 calories every hour of activity. You need to hydrate at the rate of 20 to 24 ounces of water each hour. If you fail to do either, your performance later will suffer. I also take Enduralytes , which help my stomach stay balanced and for you to absorb the nutrition you take in.
Of course, you also need to fuel up before the event too. I try to eat well the entire week before the event, and the day before the event is one of the more important days. You should have replenished the glycogen levels in your muscles because of your lowered training volume and good food choices. The day before, however, you need to shift a little. I eat a really good balanced breakfast and a big lunch of same. Dinner, however, I go light. I like to eat a light dinner so my body can shed the waste without any challenges in the morning before my event.
The morning of I will usually pound a couple of packages of instant oatmeal and a piece of fruit. I drink a big glass of water with this. Once I leave for the event, I will take a bottle of Infinit with me for another 275 calories. I will usually take a bottle of water along too to sip on if I start getting thirsty. The day before and morning of strategy has helped me feel energetic and avoid cramps during the event. I hope these tips will work for you too.