Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Focusing on a Faster Pace and… Saddle Sores!

Between input from the cycling coach and Brian Johnson, I'm not focusing on trying to gain a lot of weight. Instead I’m eating a lot of healthy foods and going through a lot of smoothies and lean protein. I am gaining weight, but there is no way I can add 25 pounds by April 3. As the cycling coach told me "If you want to gain weight for the ride, I'll give you a 30 pound weight and put it in your backpack."

I recently bought a cycle-computer, a speed sensor, and a heart rate monitor. After one week, I definitely regret not having these tools sooner. I realize now, whether I rode 20 minutes or 4 hours, I set the same pace—about 13-14 mph. I’m working on making a faster speed (16-18 mph) more "normal" for me - that is, a faster pace without a spike in my heart rate. If I can make speeds approaching 20 mph seem more like "spin easy," then my days in the saddle will be much shorter. Instead of spending 6 hours a day on the bike, it will be closer to 4. That's an extra two hours for rest, nutrition, and recovery.

I expect that progress on my “normal” pace can still be made during the ride itself. It's a cliché, but the ride is training for the ride. My trainer, Brian Johnson says that training is 80% nutrition, and I think that's applicable to my ride. I believe this is a decent breakdown of what I need to do to make my ride goal:

  • 70% Proper nutrition. Good food, plenty of it, on the bike and off.
  • 15% Wearing bike shorts and applying BUTT'r to avoid saddle sores.
  • 10% Sleeping as much as possible during my time off the bike.
  • 5% Sheer strength.

Yeah, saddle sores are a big concern. I can easily see why saddle sores can kill rides like the one I’m doing. Like most things in life, prevention is key. So I’m looking into special seats and remembering to use “BUTT'r.” And yes, BUTT'r is exactly what it sounds like.

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