Death march ride

Damn you Gilad. Today sucked. It was hot, I got super dehydrated even though I drank 10 bottles, and I could barely push 220 watts at the end.

Usually before a ride over 100 miles, I like to eat a big breakfast. Not today. I woke up, fried 1 (one) egg for breakfast, and started riding. I went for 2 hours before I was allowed to eat anything on the bike. I ate a banana. About half an hour later, after eating some more food and drinking some Gatorade, my watts started dropping drastically. I had averaged 245 for two and a half hours, but now I was having trouble keeping those watts up. Pretty soon my average had dropped to 235. The sun was baking me, and I realized that I should have picked a route with more shade…..wait. It’s a desert.

I got to the three hour mark and turned around, deciding to just go back the way I came instead of making a loop. About 3 minutes later, my crank fell off. The ironic thing (this is for you Erich and Tony) is that it was the same road that this exact thing happened to Erich last year in Arizona. Except I was way farther away from town. But that didn’t matter anyways, because I wanted to just fix it there and keep riding instead of hitching a ride.

After flagging down about 10 cars in a row that didn’t have any allen wrenches, I stuck the crank in my back pocket and rode six miles with one leg to the nearest gas station–the whole way imagining that I was riding the last few miles of the Paris-Roubaix and my crank had fallen off during my solo break away, and Fabian Cancellara was closing the gap.

After finding the right size allen wrench (my multi tool conveniently did not have the right size, by the way), I was back on my route.

I kept on grinding away, despite my legs cramping horribly. Actually, I’m just going to say it. My legs were “tired.” Cramping is just a way to say your legs are tired without actually admitting it.

At 4.5 hours in, I upped the watts to 300-320 and turned on my Bile Intervals playlist. But even Rob Zombie couldn’t usher those kind of watts from my torn up legs. I would grit my teeth and do 350 for a few minutes, then the watts would slowly creep down to 250. I would look down at my CPU and see the fleeing watts on the display, and grit my teeth again for as long as I could bare. I did this for half an hour. I was supposed to do it for a full hour. But my headache and legs were throbbing, so I soft pedaled for 20 minutes with my salt-stained head hung in defeat.

But, out of the rising mist of the desert air, up ahead of me a bright white light glowed around my saviour like the gates to heaven. It was like finding a drinking fountain in the middle of a Saharan sand dune, a buffet line in a jewish concentration camp, an answer sheet for a final you didn’t study for, a wad of one’s out in front of a strip club, a cruise ship full of bikini models ship-wrecking on your desert island after you’ve been stranded for 11 years, or a really really really good burrito…..there it was: A convenient store with a Slurpy machine. I indulged in blue frost blueberry, and had just enough energy to bust out another hard 20 minutes before getting to town and soft pedaling for the last 15 minutes home. And yes, I did get passed by a number of commuters in those last 15 minutes and I don’t care.

15 thoughts on “Death march ride

  1. Why didn’t you eat breakfast are you anorexic, bulimic? Depriving yourself of fuel or hydration is not healthy and not an effective way to train; very bad.

    You should be eating at the very least 1700 calories in addition to whatever you used while riding, 1 kilojoule is pretty close to 1 calorie (i.e., 3000 kj = ~3000 calories).

  2. Well I didn’t eat in the morning or for the first 2 hours so that my body was forced to burn muscle and fat. Not all of us are blessed with such thin arms as you David. But I did eat a lot after those first two hours. And I didn’t try to deprive myself of hydration. That just happened. There’s only so many times you can stop to get water. I drank over 10 bottles, but even that wasn’t enough. And when I got home I ate a shit ton of food. Anorexic?? hahahahahahha.

  3. kennett, that’s not how weight loss works. eat enough before the ride to fuel the workout, and cut back the rest of the day. count the calories and be safe or you will end up with worthless workouts and unsustainable weight loss. 1,000cal deficit a day is possible but its still a lot.

    try this: cut out all animal fats (cheese, butter, red meats, eggs, etc). cut out all processed foods, and non-whole grain foods. then count calories. youll find that you have a fair amount of volume with significantly lower calories, and still be able to ride. basically its eating vegan with lean white meats thrown in.

  4. You obviously haven’t heard the aphorism that you NEVER diet on the bike. Eat a healthy meal before, eat during, eat for recovery, and diet in between.

  5. For me, even a 1000 calorie deficit per day is a lot, and not sustainable. I usually try to stick to approx. 500 cal/day deficit, which equals ~3500 cal/week. 3500 cal=1 lb. Even this way I still find that I am almost constantly a little hungry. Make sure your goals are realistic and don’t get caught up with “needing” to be smaller. You are not going to “burn off muscle” in your upper body, if that’s what you think. If you don’t work out your arms/shoulders, over time your muscles will shrink a little, but they’ll never go away completely unless you surgically remove them or legit starve yourself for an extended period. I wouldn’t recommend either. A muscular upper body will not hold you back as much as you think, just look at all the Belgian dudes. If you want, first thing in the morning go out for an easy hour without eating anything, then come home and eat a substantial breakfast before heading back out for the rest of your training. Always eat enough during your rides to make sure you get in a quality workout. Always have a good recovery drink/shake first thing when you get back from your ride, and a meal within the next couple hours. The place to cut out the calories is dinner, so go a little lighter there if you want. Training smartly and efficiently will make you faster in the end than losing a few lbs.

  6. Well, turns out there was a miscommunication about the pre meal ride. Gilad later told me that I was supposed to eat a regular meal before the ride. (I guess he changed his mind). I agree, that part was stupid.

    The only time I’m not eating is for the first two hours, and if this doesn’t work out for me and I’m still not able to maintain my watts after I try it for a week, then I’ll stop doing it. It’s not that big of a change considering that I usually don’t eat for the first hour of a ride anyways. I think a big part of the problem yesterday was the dehydration. I’m not used to the heat here yet. Galen, I’ve counted calories in the past and I usually get too obsessed with it and don’t eat enough. I don’t eat processed food other than crackers, and I eat whole grain everything and the only animal products I eat are eggs and lean ground beef. And Anon, yes I do always take a recovery drink after a workout.

    And like I said, if I don’t get used to this soon, I’ll quit doing it.

  7. Pretty much the only way your going to decrease mass protein. It sounds like you’re pure muscle, so the best way (other than eating less protein) is to keep your blood sugar low at all times off the bike. this will help you lose mass around your whole body, but don’t do this during racing season, you will not recover. Also cut back on recovery drinks, the spike in blood sugar after you get off the bike quickly replaces the glycogen and your body will go into overdrive repairing muscles. Just be on the verge of bonking when not on the bike. You’ll lose muscle mass all over, but then once you reach your preferred weight slowly eat more calories, and reach equilibrium.

  8. oh, good. be careful with weight loss. if you track energy expenditures closely, then monitoring calories in vs calories out is a good way to make sure you don’t over-do it. otherwise, play it safe.

  9. other then the one egg (duh) it sounds fine. eating/drinking less on a ride will force your body to find other sources of energy. your watts sounded a little high really for a long endurance ride (i know your LT) but hey whatever, we all know that you’re going to kill yourself one way or another.

  10. Thanks for all the comments and suggestions everyone. I’ll lose some of these damn muscles one way or another!

    And Mike, thanks for agreeing! I just needed to hear it once. But, come on. 340’s not my REAL LT. I hope. I was sick and untrained during that test. I looked at my power data from last year and I averaged 330 watts for two hours multiple times during races. So averaging 230 or 250 for an endurance ride should be fine. At least according to Ivar.

    And yes, I am sure I will end up dead or suffering due to my own hands some way or another.

    PS–I’m going to start riding earlier in the morning because it’s so HOT down here. Chew on that. haha

  11. sickness wouldn’t come into play with a LT test really. if you were so sick that you weren’t able to reach it then yeah sure, but having a cold/flu wont lower the rate of latic build up in your body. as far as watts i was thinking more in the line of efforts of 350 being high, your average sounds good.

  12. ahhh, the 350 stuff. Ok, I thought you meant the 250. I’ll do another LT test (20′ test on my bike) sometime in January and we’ll see what it is then.

  13. Although it is intuitive to think that making training harder through restricted food/water intake, Joe Friel argues that when you exercise in a weakened state you won’t be able to work out as hard and therefore the benefits won’t be as large. This is the same reason you should never workout when you are not fully recovered; start tired and you won’t be able to push as hard. It is for this reason you should not restrict your food/water intake before, during, or immediately following a workout. Diet in between and not during. If you follow a vegan diet you will naturally lose weight and possibly some muscle mass.

  14. i think it depends on the workout dave. a hard workout where you want to be pushing yourself to the limts as with intervals then yes eating is good, as you’ll be able to reproduce harder efforts further into your workout. with long endurence riding where power isnt the main concern however i disagree. by limiting sugar you not only train your body to make use of other full sources but your cells build more “channels” into thier membranes for the transport of glycogen, thus improving glycogen transport into th cell later down the road (racing).

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