This article from the NYT talks about the brain's role in fatigue. I found it interesting because I've experienced something similar. After the SIR ride a few months ago, I found myself climbing better - and I think it is all because I found that when I pushed, my hillclimbing was better than I thought. It was as though I'd learned where my new limits were and my body now had permission to pedal harder. I thought it was all in my head, as it turns out, it is - but not in a bad way.
2 - I've always disliked warm soda, even after I put ice in it. Here comes the science. Scroll down to the bit about temperature and how the CO2 enters the head space in the can while warm. Also, I'm one of those who can taste the can, at least after the soda has been stored a while. For many reasons it is Mexican cane sugar coke in bottles FTW!
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.