Wednesday, July 15, 2009

STP wrap up

Overall, I had a pretty good ride. I'm not really sure what my average speed was, as I managed to reset my bike computer several times, but I think it was in the 14 mph range. Of course, I had lots of help doing this, as I spent quite a bit of time drafting other cyclists - but not too close! I tried to get on the end of packs/pacelines and let people slide in front of me if they wished, as I know that riders following my recumbent get very little benefit.

Physically I felt pretty good after the ride, but had some saddle sore type issues on Saturday. Egads, that's painful, and I really need to find a solution. I'm pretty sure it is just one pair of shorts that give me trouble, and only on long rides. I used quite a bit of chamois creme, and still had problems. My legs were sore and tired Monday/Tuesday, but only a bit tired on Wednesday - back, neck, arms and the rest all felt fine.

I was also very hungry from about Saturday lunch until Monday afternoon, though I just didn't feel I could eat enough at one sitting to make a dent in it. It is pretty common for me to feel like my stomach is the size of a shot glass when exercising, and that makes it quite a challenge to keep the calories coming, and to replenish them when done. I finally had a giant sandwich for lunch Monday that did the trick, though it took me almost an hour to polish it off.

My jersey choices were perfect. A light synthetic one for the heat on Saturday, and a wool Swobo on Sunday. The Swobo was particularly good in the cool wet conditions, and I never felt like I needed a jacket. Any temp above 60 or so, and I'm good to go even with a bit of rain.

I think I spent more time in the big ring this weekend than I have the entire time I've owned the bike. I was frequently riding over 16 mph with bursts up to 20, and I found it easiest to keep these speeds on the outer ring. This is really a big step for me, and a good indication of how much stronger I am now than I was last summer.

I was still slow up hills, but not as slow as I was. Still, it was disconcerting to pass dozens of riders, only to have them pass me right back on the next up hill. I did a bit better on Sunday, but almost everyone passed me. Road bikes, hybrids, and mountain bikes, but not recumbents.

I saw quite a few recumbents, mostly bikes similar to mine or LWB easy racer type machines. Also a few trikes, tandems, and a handcycle. Most of them were pretty slow, my guess is that the faster riders started earlier than I did and stayed way, way in front of me. I only saw one highracer, a RANS F5 ridden by someone who'd just broken his Lighting. He slowed down long enough to tell me how awesome it was, then cruised off into the distance on a climb, not to be seen until the next day.

If I'm to do the STP again, I think I need a group that's committed to training and riding together. I spent a lot of time alone, or drafting off strangers, and that's not such a great way to spend 200 miles. No matter what, I'd prefer to do the ride on another bike next year, and see how much better, if any I can do.

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