I'm about two months into my training regime for cyclocross, most of which has consisted of my interval training classes at Endurance PTC in San Francisco at lunch. While those classes have been awesome, and I'm definitely a much stronger rider than I was 60 days ago, the one things the classes lack is volume. It's very intense training, but I don't have a huge aerobic base built up. So what's a cyclist pressed for time to do? Two weeks before the century, I did a 40-mile ride. The next weekend, I did a 60 miler--the longest ride I had done in a year. I figured that if I could ride 40, then 60, I could find some way to gut out a 100-mile ride. Even one that featured about 8,000 feet of climbing.

This is the sort of thing that passes for "logic" when you're a cyclist.

The good news was twofold. First, I had a wonderful time with the group of us that did the ride together from Wired. Any time you're out on a bike is fun, in my eyes, but it's so much more fun to ride with other people you like. So that was a real bonus, to get to spend the time riding with my friends from the office. A big shout out to Wired Deputy Editor Thomas Goetz, who goaded us into do the century.

The other good news was that I felt, on the whole, pretty good on this ride. Given that it was nearly twice as long as any other ride I've done in, oh, two years, that's encouraging for the racing season, which is looming just a month or so away.

There were two stretches of the ride that were pretty tough. After we turned toward Valley Ford, there was a series of three short, steep climbs that really sapped my energy. Thankfully, after that, we arrived at a rest stop where I could wolf down a ton of calories--a skill that I've been working on.

And then after a lovely stop in Petaluma, there was a rolling section of road with a headwind, culminating in Red Hill. a climb that shoots up about 8 percent over the course of a mile or so, and coming as it did at the end of a long day, it was a killer. I focused on one of the techniques that we work on in class, trying to transfer every bit of energy in our bodies to the pedals, and stomped my way up the hill. At the top, there was a mini-rest area, where I drank two completely wonderful, ice-cold Dixie cups of water.

The rest of the ride was a breeze, literally, as the wind we'd been fighting became a tailwind which helped blow us home.

Two days later, I'm feeling good. I did my Endurance class today, and actually felt shockingly strong, like my legs have adapted to the stress that I'm putting them through. In the next week or so, I'll go through my performance testing again, and that should be an interesting window onto how far I've come, and what I still need to do.

(Cross-posted from Wired.com. See all of my Bike Geek posts there.)

AuthorMark McClusky