Okay, here's my first impressions of my longest bike ride yet - 80 miles - which I did on Saturday.
Learned a lot about hydration and nutrition on this ride... I underestimated what I needed and consequently came up short... here's how it went:
Set off aiming to do at least 50 but pretty soon decided I wanted to go for 70. Kept on country roads in an area I knew for the first 25 miles and sipped from water bottle. At 35 miles I took a short break and ate my banana and finished off my second water bottle.
Much of the next 20 miles was brutal... on 'A' roads, cycling uphill with wind in my face. But I was determined to go on even though I turned off onto a quieter 'B' road at one time (bloody road brought me back to the 'A' road again though!). Sometimes I was cycling at 11 miles an hour and was nearly in tears. Anyway, got through that and turned to Aylesbury from Bicester. Noticed I was beginning to feel light headed and dizzy and took it steady, taking in as much oxygen as I could. I was aiming to stop in Waddesden and JUST made it, having to stop on the hill and recover (I think I officially "bonked"). Had a rest though at the local shop, consuming a double mars bar and two bottles of lucozade sport and was on my way again. This happened at 56 miles.
Felt fine for the next 24 miles as I came on home.
Followed up by an immediate run (5k), trying to run at IronMan pace (9 min miles) but first mile was under 8 mins, last two were slower, probably 8 minute 20 secs. Not too worried about run pace at the moment though, just to get used to running after cycling.
Lots to report about the ride itself. Back and neck were very stiff which worked its way to my arms. Eased slightly as I stretched on the ride. Fingers were tingling at times as I was in the crouch position for a long time, down in the drops... I figured that was due to my hands clenching round the bars and gravity working against my blood flow, so I changed postion on the bars and that helped.
Saddle positon very uncomfortable... need much more saddle time to get used to this. No chaffing but just very sore after 45 miles or so... relieved it by standing but again, I guess I'll get used to this.
Mood was fine throughout the ride... apart from the grim 'wind in my face' part - but otherwise I was upbeat and focussed. I enjoyed the ride so that's good. The experience was invaluable and I'm looking forward to attacking a similar distance with better nutrition and preparation.
Afterwards I felt pretty good... recovered with a hot bath and plenty of food. Very tired in the evening which meant I couldn't sleep as well as I'd like (same as when I run marathons). Sunday was fine. Minimal stiffness and slept well that night. Monday has brought a sore back and general mental fatigue so I'm thinking of taking a day off... may do some kind of recovery swim.
What did I learn? Well, I learned I can almost certainly cycle for 112 miles. But not on a litre of water and a banana!!!