Tuesday, July 18, 2017

TDF Stage 13 Vs. My Monday Training Ride

Yesterday I completed my longest ride so far this season: 63 miles. That’s 101 kilometers, the same distance covered by the riders in the Tour de France last Friday on Stage 13. But total distance is where the similarities end!

My solo ride was just training, not racing. In a competitive situation—or at least in a group of riders sharing the work—I would have improved on my average speed of 17.5 mph. I took 3:36 to complete my route.

Warren Barguil (Team Sunweb) won Stage 13 of the Tour de France in 2:36, completing his 101 kilometers an hour faster than I completed mine. Fabio Felline (Trek-Segafredo) finished last in 3:03. So, my training ride time was just 33 minutes off the time of a Tour de France contestant over the same distance. I should feel pretty good about myself, right?

Not so fast! My ride included 1,716 feet of climbing, which is an OK total over that distance in this part of the world but nothing special. Located in the heart of the Pyrenees, Stage 13 of the Tour de France included three Category 1 mountains and something like 7,600 feet of climbing! Faced with that much climbing, I surely would have been nowhere near Felline’s time, not that 33 minutes was very close in the first place. And I went into my ride well-rested after an easy weekend. The Tour de France guys had just completed a brutal 133-mile mountain stage on Thursday, 126 miles on Wednesday, 111 miles on Tuesday … you get the drift.

At 101 kilometers, Stage 13 was the shortest road stage of the Tour de France in 30 years. At 101 kilometers, my Monday ride was my first metric century of 2017. Usually that distinction goes to Cheesehead Roubaix, but not this year. I had not gone past 50 miles prior to yesterday—more mountain biking means fewer opportunities for long road rides. But I’m now less than 4 weeks away from Race The Lake, a 100-mile road race around Lake Winnebago, and I need to train for greater endurance. Yesterday I felt good. I would have needed some food and more hydration to make it to 100 miles, though. On July 30, the Holy Hill Classic will tell me whether I’m on track: 105 training miles with an estimated 4,474 feet of climbing. I won’t get through that without eating. It should be great practice for Race The Lake in every respect.

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