RUSA Ride #8: 100k

RUSA Ride #8: 100k

I had originally planned to do a 100k ride yesterday, but just couldn’t motivate myself to do it when the time came to clip in. I thought I was going to have grand jury duty all day today, and would not be able to get a ride in. But last night when I called the jury duty hotline to see when I’d have to report today I was pleasantly surprised to learn that I would not have to show up until 2:30. That would give me more than enough time to get a 100k ride in this morning.

I started my ride this morning from the 7-Eleven on Nassau Street sometime around 6 AM. It was around 33 degrees when I departed, and clear (but dark outside). Not too many cars on the roads. Kind of a pleasant ride. It’s been a while since I regularly got out on my bike buzzing out just daydreaming up a storm. Brings back memories to when I was much younger and actually a trained athlete. When I finished the ride this morning it was sunny and beautiful out. What a nice day. Would have been nice to go to the beach actually. If I didn’t have jury duty I would be over at Spring Lake NJ right now.

Click on the map below to see my ride results at Garmin Connect.

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RUSA Ride #7: 100k

RUSA Ride #7: 100k

Not a bad day for a bike ride in February in NJ. There was supposed to be rain in the morning until 10 AM, and then get up to the 40s at mid day and early afternoon. In reality, it was still raining some as late as 11:30. So I didn’t get out on a ride until noon. Finally got around to doing my last of 5 100k routes today. Felt Ok. There was a wind, and I didn’t really get to experience a whole lot of tailwind during the ride. But it wasn’t a ferocious headwind either. So I really shouldn’t complain. Was riding the CX bike. Didn’t pass a single cyclist while I was out. The bridge at Cranbury Road was still out so I had to do a little detouring from the prescribed route.

Click on the map below to see my ride results at Garmin Connect.

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RUSA Ride #6: 100k

RUSA Ride #6: 100k

Yesterday I had hoped to go for a 100k ride from home, but while at the pool in the morning swimming a mile my buddies told me the high temp was not going to be that good for a bike ride. So I did not go. Part of the reason was because I planned to do a 100k ride today when the high temp was supposed to get over 50. Well, I did go for a ride today. But the high temp didn’t hit 50 while I was riding. And I got a little wet at the end of the ride when the temp was 45. Thank goodness the rain did not soak me.

I liked today’s route a lot. And my CX bike handled the roads very well. Never got out of the little ring. And I tried to keep good form on the bike while I rode. It’s still quite early in the season to get too picky about form. I rode the 65 miles on an empty stomach. And I never drank from my water bottle. Pretty easy ride actually. Started to rain with about 8 miles left in the ride. My glasses got a little wet, but that was probably the only hassle with the rain. I did not get wet wet – just damp.

Click on the map below to see my ride results at Garmin Connect.

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RUSA Ride #5: 100k

RUSA Ride #5: 100k

Today’s weather forecast was pretty good for a bike ride in February. I haven’t gotten out to ride for several days. So I figured today would be a good day to hit the roads. I think it was in the upper 20’s when I departed and it probably didn’t get above 36 while I was out. The first half of the ride was pretty calm – not really any wind to speak of. However, at about mile 30 a wind started to crop up. I never got to enjoy a tailwind. Bummer.

My legs were a little heavy since I did interval training on a stairclimber machine yesterday. Never shifted out of my little chainring on this ride. I was riding my CX bike with 35mm tires. Click on the map below to see my ride results and the route at Garmin Connect.

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Feels a Little Odd

Feels a Little Odd

Its freezing outside today. Really cold. And I’m enjoying the warmth indoors while the hardy PA Randonneurs ride a 200k calendared brevet over in Ephrata, PA this morning. And another RUSA member this morning is riding one of my 200k permanents out of Hillsborough, NJ. He’s my first taker for my permanents that I’ve registered with RUSA. I must admit it feels a little odd not suffering out in the cold today. For the past 13 months in a row I have done a PA Rando ride at least once a month. And this month will signify a break in that streak. Good thing I’m not excessive compulsive. Phew!

I haven’t even gone outside yet this morning and it’s 10:30. Within the hour I expect to go over to my fitness club and throw a medicine ball against a tramp, do 25 minutes of intervals on a stairclimbing machine, swim a mile in the lap pool, and then sit in the hot tub. Nothing special, but not as bad as freezing my butt off in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania the way I did this time last year doing that Ephrata ride.

Yesterday I got the spokes I need to build a new set of wheels for a vintage 1971 Schwinn Super Sport. I’ll probably build those wheels this afternoon. And there are two novels I got from the library yesterday that I hope to read this afternoon, too. It just feels a little odd to be nice and warm and laid back today. Oh well.

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Got Into All Three!

Got Into All Three!

2018 is my second year as a randonneur. Last year was my first. I completed my first randonneur event as a member of RUSA in January, 2017. And one of those events I completed last year was a Grand Brevet lasting 1200 kilometers. This year my overall cycling goal is to complete three of those 1200k events plus the NY Lap of the Lake (LOL) event that lasts 1000k.

Yesterday I learned that I got into the third of the three 1200k events I want to ride this year which include: (1) Blue Ridge to Bay 1200k, (2) Coulee Challenge 1200k, and (3) Great Lakes Mac & Cheese 1200k. I’m now enrolled as a participant in all three. The field limits of all three were filled, too. So I consider myself to be a little lucky.

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Improving Distance Cycling Performance for Those Over Age 50

Improving Distance Cycling Performance for Those Over Age 50

Last year at age 55 I took up randonneur style cycling where participants enter events lasting 125 miles or more. I did all the event lengths: 200k (125 miles), 300k, 360k, 400k, 600k, 1000k, and 1200k. It was sort of tough since I had not done much bicycle riding the previous year – something like 1000 miles total. But since I was not trying to set speed records, I did reasonably well in rando events and had fun.

But what if I wanted to get faster at completing the events? What if I wanted to ride with the fastest groups in the events rather than the top third or in the middle? I’ve looked around at the other participants and the vast majority are typically my age or older, overweight, and not particularly good at climbing hills. This describes the way I rode last year. And of these cyclists, most think “training” does not involve doing anything other than riding a lot of easy miles on their bike. The participants who tend to shine in these events are not overweight, and they do pretty well climbing hills. So what does this tell you? I’d say being overweight is a huge factor regarding a cyclist’s performance ability over the age of 50. And I’d also say that making sure your rides are not easy all that often is another important factor. If you ride slow in training, then you can’t help but ride slow in an event.

What’s my take on why so many over-50 cyclists are overweight? I think it has a lot to do with the fact that they have Americanized their diet for too long. This means they eat way too many foods that are comprised mostly of highly-processed carbohydrates that are low in fat: breads, pastas, cookies, cakes, muffins, pizza, hoagies, breaded meats, candy, non-plain low-fat yogurt, ice cream, fruit juices, and soft drinks whether or not they are full-sugar or diet. And the worst of the worst to consume is high fructose corn syrup. Ouch! You see, eating a diet high in processed carbs causes the body to overuse the hormone insulin. Overuse ultimately lessens the effect insulin has on the body, and as a result the body produces more and more insulin to get the job done that insulin is required to do. This condition is called Insulin Resistance. And most over-50 cyclists who are overweight suffer from it. And this is not by accident. Insulin Resistance causes the cyclists to be overweight. AND it makes it extremely difficult to lose weight.

Why does Insulin Resistance make it difficult to lose weight? Because to lose weight (lose stored body fat) one must be in an unfed state and free of insulin in the blood stream. And because the body is creating too much insulin, the body can never get to the unfed state free of insulin. Thus it never burns stored body fat. What is the solution then? Eat a low-carb high fat diet and practice intermittent fasting when you want to lose weight. By eating a low-carb low-protein diet you avoid producing much insulin. By eating fat your body will get used to burning fat for energy and when you eat it you will feel like you had a meal. And when the meal runs out, the body will automatically switch over to burning stored body fat. You lose weight.

The downside to losing weight this way is that you cannot do much moderate intensity exercise. And you certainly won’t be able to do any high intensity exercise. Carbohydrate intake is necessary to do these workouts. But you can do as much low intensity exercise as you like because fat is your body’s fuel-of-choice when doing low intensity workouts. Good workouts do not go hand in hand with losing weight. Oh well. That’s why most athletes who have to lose weight will do so in the off-season.

What’s my take on getting faster on the bike when you are over 50 besides losing weight? I think you have to do more high intensity interval training and lift weights. Instead of going for three 60-mile bike rides a week, one should go for one long ride and do high intensity stuff during the other two workouts. A very short ride can be added to each of these other two workouts if you like.

Why is it so important that the older cyclist do high intensity interval training and weight lifting? The answer is simple: the hormone testosterone. When men are young they produce tons of testosterone and any exercise activity they do, whether low, moderate, or high intensity, will generate strength improvements. But when men get old (over age 50), they only produce testosterone when they do higher intensity activities. Without testosterone your muscle mass will waste away. And by only doing long easy bike rides you are not producing testosterone and your muscles are simply wasting away. Less muscles translates into slower cycling speeds and less ability to climb hills.

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