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Specialized Venge – Shimano Ultegra, Dura-Ace SRM power meter Zipp 808’s
Yesterday I did the Stagecoach Century. It’s was a great training ride in the sense that it was held in a remote area with very little traffic. But even more important for a rider like myself, is I was able to do the whole hundred miles without stopping for any reason including fluids or food. Basically, this is the only century I know of where I clip in at the start and clip out at the finish 100 miles later. The century has approximately 4600 feet of climbing with five actual climbs — each of which have steep grades.
Right from the very beginning I knew I was going to have a good day on the bike. You leave the start on a slight upgrade – and yet I wasn’t feeling it. My power numbers were indicating that we were going uphill but I didn’t feel it on my legs. I was feeling so good I was catching solo Time Trial (TT) and 4-person TT teams. I didn’t think I was in race shape before starting the event so I decided to ride without a timing chip.
I’m glad I rode without a timing chip. I was very disappointed with the lack of integrity of the riders on the course. So many solo TT and four person TT were forming pacelines and riding down the road as one huge 20-30 rider unit. It would be impossible for the organizer to enforce the non-drafting rule hence I put it on the riders. To those riders who resisted the temptation to take the easy way out and draft a paceline passing you by I respect your efforts out there yesterday. I saw many examples of of great team work between of some 4 person TT teams and great individual effort by solo TT riders! That should have been the norm not the exception.
When I did the Furnace Creek 508 (508 miles non stop bike race with 35,000 feet of climbing through the Mojave and Death Valley Deserts) on a fixed gear in 2007 or here , there were many times when I could have unclipped from my pedals and let the crank arms spin freely to allow myself some recovery time. For the layman, on a fixed gear bicycle you have to pedal at all times uphill and downhill. But my personal integrity and my willingness to do the event under the same restrictions and endure the same hardships as the only other 7 fixed gear riders who had gone before me kept me in check. By the way, the Furnace Creek 508 is a 508 mile Time Trial!
I was a free-agent yesterday. If I wanted to join a paceline I did. If I noticed my power was dropping below my training goal for the day I would ride next to them in the wind. I didn’t join the back of 4 person TT team because I could see they were serious about doing the event under the rules. Mainly I rode alone – about 70 miles if not more.
In the end, I ended up with a finishing time of 5:05! That is very fast for me 5 hours and 5 minutes for a 100 miles. I haven’t been keeping track of my century times but I definitely think that is a new Personal Record for me.
Just for fun I did a little surge 1/4 mile from the finish. Below you will see a power graph from Training Peaks WKO. The power line (yellow line) and then the dotted line is 500 watts. I actually could have surged much stronger than I did but it was just a test to see how my body would react after 100 miles and 5 hours in the saddle.
Thank you Shadow Tours for a great event. The weather forecast called for below freezing temperatures but luckily it was, in my opinion perfect. I wore a base layer, jersey, vest, arm warmers, knee warmers and felt perfect. Within the first hour I removed my vest and rode without it the rest of the day. The volunteers were plentiful and very gracious. Thank you all that volunteered you made it possible for me to ride and have a great time. By the way, the Dum-Dums strawberry lollipop in my goodie bag was awesome!
It’s no wonder I felt great on the bike today. Notice how the Pink line and Yellow line are approaching each other? What this tells me is that my acute training load was down enough and my training stress balance was up enough to feel trained and rested.
Below is a chart showing the progress I have been making during my long training rides. I have been slowly increasing the intensity as my fitness has been improving. Notice how the Normalized power continues to increase on my 5+ hour training rides. I am getting fit and able to hold higher average wattage for longer periods of time. I am also loosing weight. I have lost 8 lbs since the Furnace Creek 508 debacle in October of 2012.
My latest endeavor is forming a new and completely different cycling organization. REV Endurance Cycling Team – a cycling organization focused on bringing up the next generation of endurance cyclists. REV is a development team rather than a racing team. As part of it’s rider development strategy, REV is very keen on bringing more women into Ultra Cycling. REV is about making and maintaining a lifestyle change with personal health, fitness and cycling as priorities. REV will take the “couch potatoes” coach and train them to complete their very first century or Gran Fondo. REV will take century riders and assist them in becoming brevet riders (unsupported events) or double century riders. REV will prepare you for “the toughest 48 hours in sport”, the Furnace Creek 508.
REV Endurance Cycling is always looking for corporate sponsors and individual donations. Please feel free to contact me with your interest in assisting REV Endurance Cycling accomplish its goals.
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Stay tuned for more details…
Congrats George! It sounds like your year is finally starting to shaping up. After last years downs, I am glad to hear you are feeling up…even your tone in your writing tells me you are in a better place now. I have been being a slug myself with my nutrition. Got a little fat since the 508 last year…but I am starting to get back into shape. I’m looking at the Leadville-100 (MTB) this year along with Runing From the Devil 50 mile ultra marathon in July and likely the LA Wheelmen Grand Tour 300…hopefully our paths will cross at the Grand Tour this year.
Yes things are looking up this year. I have dedicated the “off season” to riding and more importantly loosing weight. I have been dieting hard and riding about 200 miles a week. That doesn’t sound like much but it’s quality miles since that is all the time I have right now.
Some serious races in your future. I would like to Leadville some day. And then there’s ultra running I’d like do a few of those. Right now I want to get my cycling where it was a few years ago. I will do the Grand Tour 300 because this is my 10th Anniversary of starting ultras and that was my very first event!
george “Red Eyed Vireo” vargas
Furnace Creek 508 Hall of Fame