Follow the recipe

This past weekend, I took part in the Shasta Super Century. It’s a great ride. The scenery is outstanding, the route is challenging, and the support is excellent. I look forward to it all year.

When I first started riding the Shasta, I’d prepare by riding repeats on Mary’s Peak and interval workouts in the garage. Back then, I also rode significantly more than I have been over the past few years.

Nowadays, I do no real preparation. My logic is simple: why torture yourself for months to finish a ride when you can just suffer for one day? But since this method also results in me being less fit, I need to ride smarter.

I use a heart rate monitor to help me make sure I don’t ride too hard when I’m on an adrenaline high so I have plenty of energy for the end. But riding hard is fun, and I just couldn’t resist hooking up with a group of local racers. What I didn’t realize is that they had no intention of making it to the end and were just out to have some fun shredding each other on the hills. As a result, I stupidly spent well over an hour with my HR over 160, with significant sections over 170. That’s a rotten pace for a long ride.

I paid dearly for that. On the final climb, I wound up puking and bonking as my pulse dropped to 112 which is ridiculously low given the activity. With my head in a total fog, I stopped 2.5 miles from the end to rest. After a few minutes, I was able to eat three small chunks of cantaloupe which made me feel way better and I rode to the end.

I’m already looking forward to next year, and this time I’ll follow the plan. Or not. Besides, if you really want to have fun, you should ride the way you want rather than the way you should.

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