Rode a great out and back century to Montpelier. Snapped a picture of the golden dome and enjoyed a snack at Capital Grounds before heading back home. Managed good time on the relatively flat route along the Winooski River – I had a headwind for most of the way back and only struggled over the last 10 miles. I started in the late afternoon and finished well after dark. I used the ride as a shakedown for some gear that I plan on using on my upcoming brevets. I really like the Carradice SQR Tour bag and I spent some time fine tuning my lights.
I’ve been feeling much better since last month’s sufferfest. I’ve added some intensity to my training mix after (hopefully) building a large enough endurance base to have a successful (and more intense) summer season. I’m also close to working with a coach – not that I need one for competition purposes – but I’ve been looking for someone who can work with me to focus my limited training time for the greatest benefits as well as direct me to make healthy on and off bike nutrition choices. I’ve interviewed a few folks via email and had a great one on one discussion today with a professor at UVM’s human performance lab.
I’ve been riding the Surly almost exclusively since building it up in February. It has seen roads, snow, and now mud. I explored town a bit yesterday and started in the Intervale. The Intervale has several paths that crisscross its 350 acres and I explored part of the ‘Cycle the City‘ route. The paths change from jeep trail to single track and dirt road crossing fields and cutting through several pockets of trees. It is relatively flat – but the mud and the muck at this time of year required some effort to negotiate. I started at Ethan Allen Homestead and road out and back to the south end, climbing Intervale Rd. to Riverside Dr. at the turn around. Riding fixed in the dirt was tons of fun… I think I had more control of the bike in the slick mud with the FG than with my mountain bike, and I learned quickly that trail obstacles can be much more challenging fixed – I struck my pedals several times crossing through and riding in large ruts and I opted to walk a few sections of washed out trail littered with downed tree branches. Not being able to freewheel I have a fear of tangling my feet as I pedal through and over obstacles. After the Intervale I took off for downtown to do a few hill repeats on Depot Street and watched as a snow squall moved across the lake.
My March century was a sufferfest. With all the travel for work and play (see previous post) I’d only been on the fixed gear for short rides around town two maybe three times since my February century. It really showed – or I was having a really bad day.
I set out from Burlington and rode through Williston, Bristol, Middlebury and Vergennes. In all I covered 108.5 miles with about 5,000 feet of climbing. The day started cold in the 30’s and climbed to the high 60’s. I suffered from mile 30 on, with a slight repreive between miles 96 and 106 where I felt great. I had trouble with just about everything other than the bike – eating and drinking on the bike were off, I was overdressed, then underdressed, and I was pretty sore in spots. I forced down a sports drink about 20 miles from home and it really helped – my electrolytes must have been out of balance – about 30 minutes after I was able to pick up the pace for awhile and enjoy the ride. I covered the distance in just under ten hours total time, with about nine hours on the bike. Last season I completed my first 200k (125 miles) and 7,000 feet of climbing while severely anemic in 9:46! Where have my legs gone?
I overhauled the bike after my February adventure and swapped out the Campy chain for a Wipperman. The Wipperman has made a huge difference – my drivetrain runs much quieter and I didn’t have any mis-shifts the entire ride. I’ve used their quick links on other chains and bikes – but this is my first experience with their chain and links. So far so good.
I’m not entirely sold on the Selle Anatomica saddle I installed this winter. It is noisy as the leather rubs on certain bits of the frame, and I could swear that as my longer rides go on I end up sinking closer and closer to the top of the seatpost and saddle clamp. Yesterday it felt like I was hitting the top of the clamp when I rode over rough pavement. I’ll experiment a bit more – but I may swap back to my well broken in Brooks Swallow.
After yesterday I am rethinking some of my goals. If it turns out I had a bad day (which can happen) – I’ll press on and try to complete my season as I imagined – if the trend of a really rough rides continues I’ll dial back my goals, focus on regaining lost fitness and having fun so as to not burn out / stress out watching my speeds drop and frustration set in.