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Practicing for the upcoming Winter race

Posted Nov 15 2009 10:01pm
This is my lazy year. I've been saying this lately. After three years of 7-8,000 miles/year, I kind of took this year off. The change of pace was dictated by my broken arm and recovery one year ago. I continued to ride almost daily, I have nearly 4,000 miles in this year since my first ride on March 17 th. But I didn't do much extra riding and certainly no "training". I read that Kent Peterson says he deosn't train, he practices. Well, I realized I do more practicing than training. I don't find training fun, but I like to practice. Although I didn't enter the big race in February, I did enter a local race with a shorter distance. If I do enter something, I never show up unprepared. So I figured I better start practicing. I've got a pretty good base. I just need to develop more endurance and power to keep the pedals moving on snow. Last Sunday I did a gravel grinder on the Pugsley, total miles was 47. This Sunday, it wasn't hard to get myself out the door. Abundant sunshine and above normal temps. I headed east through town and up the Lester River Road. Some locals consider this a climb. It goes on for about 3 miles but only gains about 600 ft. Do the math? That's not much of a climb. There's a lot of flat places to recover on this "climb". If this is a hard climb, than I'm freakin' Eddie Merckx.

Anyhoo, once I finished this so called climb, I meandered my way east towards Two Harbors paralleling the big lake a few miles inland. Woods and small farms dotted the landscape. And some really nice roads. I had a tail wind most of the way, which meant one thing. Headwind going home!
There was a nice long gradual decent towards Lake Superior and Two Harbors. Sure enough as soon as I turned towards home there was a moderate headwind. Really this was a good thing since I was practicing. I knew it was 31 miles home, which meant 31 miles of headwinds. Riding into a headwind is a great way to build up the ability to put out a lot of power over a long period of time like one would need to ride in snow. So I welcomed the wind.
The Ellis got the call today. At 66 miles, this was the longest ride to date on the Ellis. I'm embarrassed to say that. I had plans to put way more miles on this bike this year. Since I don't commute on the Ellis, and most of my miles this year were commuting miles, the Ellis didn't see as much action as I had planned prior to breaking my arm.

One change you might notice in the picture is the third water bottle. It's the first time I had mounted a cage on the third set of water bottle mounts. I don't always like to stop for water and food. I usually carry everything I need. For today's ride I wanted more than two bottles, so I added the third cage. I also carried lunch. If I were training I would probably eat those horrible energy gels and bars (most of them I can't eat anyway because they aren't gluten free). But since I'm only practicing I carried lunch. A ham and cheese sandwich on gluten-free Italian Herb Bread from Sustenance Artisan Breads and some carrots from our local CSA. Yum Yum.

Not a bad ride. I was surprised to learn I managed a 15.4 mph average for the ride despite 31 miles of headwinds. And I feel pretty good.

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