Edit: I did the 50 miler. Results are way at the bottom.
Fifty miler. Woo. To many people that’s no big deal. To some who are just starting their biking journey it is as impossible as swimming across the ocean with an elephant on their back. Others never want to do that distance or prefer not to spend the time preparing for it. Tonight I am planing on riding 50 miles, maybe more and I’m not doing several days of planning for it. THAT is what is different about this one.
When I am going to do something that I’m on the edge of accomplishing I massively prepare for it. I do route-sheets, plan water breaks, over-eat to make sure I’m nutritionally prepared and send out 15 emails to make sure everybody is also ready. When I feel I am JUST BARELY going to be able to accomplish something or I’M NOT EVEN SURE IF I CAN do it I need to reduce possible errors and obstacles.
Fear of failure? You bet. That doesn’t stop me from trying though. If I try and fail then it’s no big deal… get up and try again another day. However if I FAILED TO PREPARE and then fail then I’ve let myself (and others) down.
For tonight’s planned 50 miler here is what I did.
- Arranged take-off time and location with my riding buddy
- Bought a dry bag (lost my old one) to attach to my handlebar
- Last night I threw some on-the-bike nutrition into the bag along with my head lamp
- Charged my handlebar lights
That’s it. Oh I’ll also fill up my water bottles (Rehydrate and Spark), check the air in my tires and such but that’s all generic stuff anyway.
Notice there were no emails flying about, no issuing of routes with water points annotated, no “Hey does this look right?” calls… For me now 50 miles is still a fair distance but it is more “normal”. For me the only difference between 15, 30, 40 and 50 miles is time. Of course each will tire me out a bit more than the one before but it’s not going to hurt me. A fifty may bring on a wee nap later in the day but more so because I may get up at 4 am to start the ride at 5 am. Who wouldn’t want a nap after waking up at 4 am?
Last year I want from going ZERO miles at the beginning to doing a painful 100 miler in late fall. Even though I had lost a bunch of weight and increased my fitness a fifty miler was still something that caused me a bit of stress.
Bear in mind that I’m not saying a fifty miler is EASY. It’s not. It’s just not the stressful event it used to be. So what’s the difference? Why is a fifty miler no big stressful deal? Glad I asked!
Consistency With Exercise – Even though I am not a nose to the grindstone person when riding my bike I am consistent “enough”. I’m more conscious about using the bike as part of my exercise plan. I’m fortunate to have a shower facility where I work and can go on lunch-time rides. That in itself has really helped me be consistent. It has removed ANY obstacle that I ever had for getting the time to workout.
Consistency With Nutrition – Many of you know that I am using AdvoCare as my choice to keep me on a tremendous path with my nutrition. I’ve also using their Sports Performance line (which is nutrition, again) to help fuel my workouts and recover. Recovery allows me to benefit more from my efforts therefore allowing me to do more, etc. By being consistent with my nutrition I am dropping unwanted fat, fueling my workouts, recovering from those workouts, getting MORE from my workouts and increasing my belief that “I am can do this, no big deal”.
How I Exercise – At the beginning of this year I started to explore how to get the most out of the time I put in. My goal was to lose unwanted fat with the side benefit of increased fitness. This pointed me right to intervals, and variations of them. Not only did I work towards learning to do the intervals themselves but I also worked towards RECOVERING from them, which is equally important. As I learned more about the tremendous stress (and benefit) that intervals (and their cousins) put on the body I looked to AdvoCare’s Elite line to take care of things.
Doing very intense 12-15 mile workouts makes riding a moderately paced 30 miler an enjoyable outing. Doing a 50 miler is just a bit more time and you end up being a bit more tired. The only real challenge for me is that my rump gets sore because it’s not used to being in the saddle that long at a time. My legs can handle the distance… my MIND can handle the distance…. and there is no fear of bonking if I at least reasonable take care of things.
Next Steps – I want to do a 50 miler faster. If I can reduce my time to do a fifty miler I can do them more often. My lunch-time interval workouts will need to get faster and I’ll do more intervals in one outing. My section sprints will get faster. My pace rides will be faster. Instead of just riding my 30 milers I’ll push hard and end up laying in my yard trying to not pass out (this is what I consider fun) after rides. All this will make me faster on the 50’s.
While I am getting faster on the 50’s I’ll make 75 the new 50, and 50 the new 30. In late fall I’ll probably do a 100 miler. I could do one NOW but I want to accomplish it easier and not have it be painful. By the time I’m doing regular 75’s the end of my comfortable riding season will be ending. My challenge will be to use the indoor trainer during the Winter to keep a certain level of fitness and be able to get out in the Spring ahead of where I did this year. I’ll want to do consistent 30’s as soon as possible in 2015.
So that’s it. I’d love to hear about what is not “normal” to you that used to be a stretch, or even seemingly impossible.
Edit: I did the above 50 miler. It was fun. Finished just before a large drop rain shower came in.