A Metric Century Night Bike Ride

Kuota KOM

I was way too tired last week to go out on bike rides. I was back at teaching fulltime, around 28 hours a week, on top of that, I was covering some freelance blog posts at Unplggd. That meant that I was going to bed very late and waking up early. My system included a three to four-hour night, a 30 minute noon-time nap, and a 2-hour nap after work. I don’t think this system works well. I totally broke down on Saturday and slept 16 hours.

I’ve been putting off going for 100 km +  rides because after 70 km, I got tired and groggy. When you are in that state, and you still have to pay attention to foot and bicycle traffic at night, things can go wrong quickly. Oddly enough, after getting a bigger and brighter LED, I felt pretty safe. That being said, I’d rather train during the day, but it’s just not that easy. It gets really hot during the day and most of the time, I’m working.

How did it feel? Well, I was still recovering from a back problem from two weeks ago. It’s no longer a problem. Before I left, I had high hopes. I wanted to do 150 km or 200 km, but once I started riding, I knew that 100 km was my goal. Had it been during the day, I might have pushed for the extra 50 km.

It felt pretty good. I had a few aches and pains which rapidly evaporated once my leg muscles were warmed up. Right now, I’m sitting on the sofa with some bandages on my knees. They were a bit sore. The first 70 km were fine. It was the last 30 km that were a challenge, but I was determined to break the psychological barrier of 100 km.

It’s kind of a milestone because I haven’t ridden this much since I was a teenager training for a bike club. Also, I completed 100 km in about 2.5 hours, which isn’t that bad. I noticed from my times that the second half was slower than the first half, significantly so. There was a nasty head wind on the Banciao/Yonghe side. That didn’t help matters, but I seemed to maintain my speed until the last few km. I think that my short-term training goal should be to get that 2.5 hours down to 2:15. Also, I’d like to add a very long ride on Sundays, something like 200 km.

As for hydration, when I finished, I still had some frozen water in my Polar bottles, so I was a happy camper. I assiduously drank water, but it still wasn’t enough. I had gone through 4 bottles. That must have been around 3L of water. I must have drank at least 2.3L.

Yesterday, I watched the London triathlon. It was impressive. There were some nasty falls. One by Javier Gomez during the bike ride. The women also had a few spills. One was pretty bad. They piled up after a girl fell hard to the ground. She was trying to ingest a gel while she was crossing the transition area during one of the laps and swerved sharply left, then tried to compensate and fell down. Other riders piled up.

I’ve never really watched triathlons. It’s an impressive sport. This one was part of a series of triathlons. It had a 1.5 km swim, a 40 km bike ride, and a 10 km run. Alistair Brownlee completed it in 1:41. That’s quite fast.

I have to say that I don’t like the bike ride that they do in triathlons. It’s not very long and there isn’t much room for strategy. Don’t get me wrong, there is a lot of strategy involved in triathlons. It’s common that riders finish in a peloton, which is kind of boring, chaotic and dangerous. In road bike racing, there are breaks and large gaps, leaders trying to jockey for position. It’s much more exciting to watch and I guess to compete. There is a big element of teamwork, which is completely absent from triathlons.

Then again, I saw some competitors hand their bottles off to others when they had finished. The others hadn’t taken a bottle and I thought that it was very nice of them.

Anyway, here are my numbers. My fastest lap is always the second. I think that it has to do with being completely warmed up at that point. The times are a wee bit better than my last ride of 70 km. I could counter this by seriously warming up, since I don’t really warm up. Well, I do ride a few kms from my home to the bike path. There is also about a km on which I warm up before starting the clock. I don’t think that it’s enough. Maybe I could take some Gatorade or some gels to consume on the 3rd lap. That would probably give me an energy boost.

25 km   – 34:55      – 42.86 kph
50 km   – 1:05:50  – 48.39 kph
70 km   – 1:37:12   – 38.71 kph
90 km   – 2:12:15   – 35.29 kph
100 km – 2:29:34 – 35.29 kph – average speed 40.27 kph

My monthly numbers are also quite down. I’ll need to step it up over the next few days so that I can finish strong. If I end the month with 1000 km, I’ll be happy. This would mean also a step up in my training regimen. I also want to integrate some runs into my workout.

weekly km count: 100
monthly km count: 290
yearly km count: 1267
(started in June 09)


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