I had an extraordinary day at the Camino Real Double Century on Feb 17 2018. Power flowed so easily that all efforts felt easy until mile 150 or so—no matter how hard the effort, it felt easy.
Around mile 150 my brand-new asthma inhaler in its ziploc went flying somewhere on a 40 mph downhill... just around the time I started getting mild bronchospams, probably from the nasty traffic exhaust in places. That and a queasy stomach so that I could not longer fuel properly, hence the reduced power output the last hour or so. Then the endless stoplights...! Still Iwas thrilled with the results, with only a moderate drop-off in power (watts) towards the end.
It’s a confusing urban course for anyone (like me) without the help of a GPS with turn-by-turn navigation. Because of that, I followed (well back or in front) the pack for the first 30 miles or so—because it would have been much slower to check turns. But reaching the ocean I left all those riders behind and never saw them again the rest of the day. I had to stop a few times and check turns, especially the tortured twist-and-turn route back through the residential area near the coast-gah! The cue sheet called for a street name that was not marked—gah! I wasted 5 minutes on that one alone.
I consumed a total of 400 calories of Hammer HEED, and 1370 calories of GU, equating to 25% of the total caloric expenditure of 6966 calories, which is about ideal. The relatively cool temperatures made that level of fueling possible; heat and more demanding rides can make it difficult.
After the ride I had anti-appetite—no desire to eat. I gagged down one rubber chicken taco at the local eatery (free meal included as part of the ride) and didn’t bother with the second. That and a licorice stick and some Hammer Whey were it for the night. But two days lighter my appetite ran wild—between the carbo loading prior and the uncontrolled hunger two days later, I am not sure if I gained or lost weight. But it feels like I have gained muscle and lost some fat.
I was the 2nd bike to finish, after the lead tandem I had pulled for some miles—I took a bad turn and then got stuck at some very long stop lights near the end—the story of the day. I spent at least half an hour at stoplights and 15 minutes on navigation.
2018 Camino Real Double Century results
click Overall, and note that riders 4 and 5 Lori and George were the lead tandem riders.
It’s hard to compete against pacelining riders who know the course by heart—they took places 1/2/3 (starting an hour later so I never saw them). I soloed as usual taking no draft, doing all the work myself—and as of this writing, radio silence from Chuck Bramwell on my suggestion for a “solo” designation so at least the results are seen for what they are: a team effort for most riders versus a solo effort for me. Even a 2-person paceline cuts effort by at least 1/3 for the following rider. I just cannot understand the point of a double century when the to me the challenge is a personal one, ruling out pacelining—why not just install an electric motor—same thing in effect (external assist).
I rode without stopping to checkpoint #3 at mile 118, carrying 3 liters of water to start. Preparation over the prior 48 hours involved carefully paced carbo loading, which maxes-out glycogen stores, and also brings along a lot of water (1 pound of glycogen requires 3 pounds of water, which is released when the glycogen is used up).
Red line is heart rate (bpm), green line is power (watts).
The ups and downs relate to stop lights and stop signs, ascents followed by high-speed downills, etc—not a course where one can just cruise.
Pressed for time the next day, I did a brief recovery ride—no soreness, good power going over 300 watts without any trouble at all. Legs were not recovered, but they could still make good power. I think this means that most of my effort the day prior in the Double was aerobic. I also think that I fueled in a way that prevented catabolic losses of muscle tissue, a cause of muscle soreness.
It seems that with my small airways open, I can ride at a high pace almost completely aerobically, and that does not result in any sore muscles. So the key this year will be keeping my lungs totally open without impairment.