I was originally planning on riding in the AM cooler hours, and after 2 cups of strong coffee and a big bowl of oatmeal i was told my wifes plans were different than she thought and so I had to delay my ride till the afternoon.
So i made some more coffee and had a total of about a half a pot.
I spent the AM hours on top of our travel trailer for about an hour washing/scrubbing the top, then washing the sides. I knew this would NOT be helpful to the legs for the afternoon ride, but it was on my list.
(sometimes I feel like if I knock a few things off the list, it buys me ride time)
I went for the ride planning on 36 miles around 3 pm and it was in the mid 80’s (my average ride temperature has been below 60) I set out to go “easy” especially for the first 10+ miles so I could maybe hit some Strava ride medals. ( im wondering if shooting for best times on sections for strava is helping my overall riding or not?)
the first 10 miles went ok. and all felt pretty good, I had eaten 4 of 6 caffeinated cliff blocks by mile 15, and a double shot caffeinated gel at the same time. the next section had 3 good short climbs, a long straight, and before the first hill i was starting to feel strange, very tired in my cardio and lung action. felt like I was working too hard and like the hills would be a problem. felt like I was maxing out and getting pretty fatigued, and im thinking ok I guess I can shorten this ride if I need to as after this section of hills there are a few more at the end.
Well to my surprise, the first hill seemed labored, but the legs felt great, spinning smooth and seemingly fast. Interesting. but still overall feeling was not that great. Long flat pull. again felt good, except the heart & Breathing. next a double hill roller, the second hill longer. same thing. odd im thinking.
a short 1.5 mile rest, then a longer 7% hill. still feeling overworked, but again the pedals turned fast and smooth (set my personal best on this one) recover for 1.5 miles and im feeling ok but tired, then I see a stop. gotta get some cold water to top off the bottles and cool down. feeling the hot weather bonk coming on???
Purchased some water and a kids scoop of ice cream (no caffeine) that helped a bit. stabilized how I was feeling, . the cold water helped as well. I now feel i can make the whole distance. but soon the feeling would return as it was still warmer than what I was used to and I had likely hit the wall.
2 more climbs, one into town and one last climb 3.5 miles from home. again they went ok. after the second climb it was straight sailing, no stops (as long as no cars were at the 4 way (they wernt) I was at this point 3 miles from home and feeling like leaving what little was left on the road. (why take it home) it was a 1% decline for about 2 miles, keeping the pace about 21, and I was really getting heated.
I thought about the climbers in the tours, and how they grab water from the fans and throw it on themselves. I just purchased new water not 6 miles ago and it was still reasonably cool, I went for a big splash. Wow, that was refreshing, but not only that it instantly cooled my head, and it felt as though the blood that had been zoning to my large oversized head for cooling was now heading back into the legs. I could literally feel the HR slow and the legs speed improve. this lasted for about 90 seconds till it was back to the same feeling. just to test my new theory I went for another splash and again cool head, HR and legs seemed to feel better again.
I am not 100% sure if it was real or psychological but it sure felt more comfortable and easier to keep the fast pace I was on.
One last rise of 30 feet and then it was home and one easy lap around the neighborhood to cool down.
I really enjoyed this ride and all the complex feelings it brought on. all my segments were top 3 or better and my speed was .25 mph off my fastest pace.
A good ride. Maybe next time a bit less caffeine and ill not only ride well bet fell better too.