As I write this, I am currently on my flight back from Florida. A few months ago, I promised my children that I would take them on a trip to see their Nonie and Grumpa (He chose the name and it kind of fits). My children truly miss their grandparents and we had an opportunity to fly down and enjoy some time with family in sunny Stuart, Florida. As always, the days leading up to our flight were rather stressful with respect to training, planning, packing, work and general routine, but it is well worth it. With the kids and I packed up, we took a Wednesday morning flight into West Palm Beach. The trip agenda was simple – kids and I get to enjoy time with grandparents, while I sprinkled in some rides. As far as training with my coach this week, it worked out rather well, as Peter was headed out to California for the annual mindset CYCLING training camp. With 5 days of fun in the sun, I am really looking forward to getting back on the road in Ontario and committing myself to the upcoming 14 months of training for RAAM 2018.
Now, even though I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Florida with the kids, grandparents and some good rides, it didn’t come without some bad news. This past Thursday, I saw a news posting stating that world renowned endurance cyclist, Mike Hall, had passed away during a race in Australia. Some of you may know who Mike Hall is, and for those of you that are not, you might want to check out a documentary called, “Inspired to Ride” on Netflix. As a budding Ultra-Endurance cyclist myself, I had hoped our paths would cross some day and have the opportunity to ride and/or talk with him. Please note, I am not including myself in the same class as Mike Hall because as far as ultra-endurance cycling goes, he was one of the top guys in the sport. He will be missed and my condolences go out to Mike Hall’s family and friends – you should truly know that Endurance Cycling has lost one of the greats. A true ambassador to the sport and he will be truly missed. Ride on Mr. Hall, Ride on!
With that news top of mind, I continued on with my training, but found myself being extra careful with my shoulder checks and not taking any chances.
Prior to leaving for West Palm Beach, I put in two rides to prepare for the rest of the week. Normally, I would be preparing for some home workouts, as I would have my two kids, but instead I was going to be hitting the road. Ask any cyclist, they would rather be on the roads that sitting on a trainer. So, my first two rides were straightforward:
- Day 1: 90 minute, 90 cadence, <135HR
- Day 2: 60 minute, 10 minute intervals @ 150HR
With two days in the books and flight tickets in hand, Wednesday was our travel day. An opportunity for me to hang with the kids, meet up with grandparents and prepare for the upcoming weekend.
After a rest day, I always find my next ride to be a bit difficult. Perhaps, I was tired from an early travel day and didn’t sleep as soundly as I would have liked, but that Thursday 2.5 hour ride was extremely difficult. My heart rate climbed quickly to 155 and never came below, while my breathing and cadence never really got into a rhythm. Not trying to read into it too much, I chalked the day up as prep for my upcoming few days of riding.
With Saturday scheduled as my long ride, I was instructed to go out on Friday and put in 75 minutes at 95 cadence, while keeping my HR below 140. After speaking with the owner of Pro Cycles in Stuart, I decided to check out a route that headed south through Hobe Sound on A1A. With instructions to keep it easy, I used the ride to recon this new route and prepare for my Saturday ride. I was not disappointed with the roads, traffic and the scenery. In fact, I had to force myself to turn around as I found myself in Jupiter with about a 75 minute ride back. I think Coach Pete will forgive the added time/distance on this ride.
The goal for Saturday was business as usual. HR no higher than 140, quick cadence over a long distance. With the new route planned, I headed out around 10am after having breakfast with the kids and ensuring they were all set for the day. I could not have asked for any better of a route and did not have any issues with finding fellow cyclists. Keeping my eyes on my target indicators, I found myself taking on a few riders as I headed down to Jupiter. Once past Jupiter though, I was pretty much alone and just continued along at my usual pace. As I came through West Palm Beach, the scenery started to change and I found myself desperately trying to locate a bridge to get back on the coast. It was at this time I noticed that my HR was climbing pretty quickly. This was probably due to a few factors: 1) I was a bit concerned that I had missed my streets and might be headed away from the coastal road, 2) the subtle raise in temperature and 3) the short, but steep bridge climbs. I found myself riding along at a consistent 150 HR and not able to bring it back down. After finally getting back on the right road and feeling the ocean breeze, I was only able to bring my HR in/around 146 or so. Hearing Coach Pete talk about HR, I was a bit concerned about the ride back home. On top of that, I had not been able to find a suitable place to eat along the way and when I hit Lake Worth, it had been 80km’s with very little fuel. I turned back at that point and wanted to find a suitable place to eat some solid food. Of course, along the way, I had to stop and take in the lovely blue water and snap a few pics. As I continued back along A1A, I had the opportunity to grab a quick sandwich and water at Starbucks in Jupiter. When I jumped back on the bike, I noticed my HR quickly went back up to 150 and it really never came down from there. It’s frustrating because you try just about everything to bring it down to 140, but I quickly gave in and accepted that I would likely be at 150 for the remainder of the ride. At about 4:30pm, I came into Hobe sound with about 15km’s to go and could feel it cooling off. I really wanted to see if I could bring my HR down a bit for the final stretch, but was more concerned with getting home as we had dinner plans. I rolled in a little later than I wanted too and although I did not meet my target indicators, I absolutely enjoyed my time on the road. It’s a great way to get the season started and I look forward to some much longer rides this summer as the team and I will be gearing up for some long, multi day rides.
Sunday was supposed to be a quick 2.5 hour ride, but I had promised the kids we would all hang out and have some fun. As much as I had planned to get on the bike before dinner, I thought it might be best to shut it down for the day.
I woke up Monday knowing that it was going to be a very long day, but I really wanted to get one last ride in before I headed back to Toronto. I decided to head out at 9am, but head north on A1A this time and jump over to Hutchinson Island for some wind training. With an incredible breeze, my goal was to find a comfortable cadence and do my best to keep my HR around 145. Even with the wind, it was incredibly hot and found my HR climbing up to 150 and holding. Considering the previous days HR numbers, I may need to work with Pete and perform some additional testing to figure out my optimal HR. Previous testing had indicated a max HR of 182 and hovering at a 150 average puts me outside my target rates. Once Pete is back, we will need to have that conversation and perform some further testing.
I understand the weather in Toronto had significantly changed and my fellow BCC’rs were out on the roads. I hope that is a sign of good things to come because after spending 4 days in Florida on the roads, I am not looking forward to getting back on the trainer. In stating that, this week is really important for me to continue with my training, while implementing a more stringent nutritional program. I must admit, I indulged a bit in Florida, but knowing that April will require some adjustments. Happy riding everyone!