Century From Home!

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I was already toying with the idea of canceling the Sacramento century and just doing one from home. With GPS, it’s not really necessary to do an organized challenge because you have your training log to show what you have done. But what was really driving this is that the air quality out in the central valley, including the Sacramento area, has been poor lately because of the large wildfires that are still not contained. There’s a good chance this will not have resolved itself by early October when the Sacramento century is scheduled. In contrast, where I live, we are fortunate enough to often have a prevailing wind bringing clean ocean air inland, so our air quality has been much better.

I used the ridewithgps free app to map out a good mostly flat route for a local century. I was going to do a few more weeks of training then go for the century in early October. Fridays are my long ride days, and I had a six hour ride scheduled today. But I had a great training ride this morning and was feeling strong and fast. By lunchtime I’d already gone 72.5 miles in 4 hours 46 minutes, for an average speed of 15.4 mph. It occurred to me that in a couple more hours I could just go ahead and knock off the century after lunch. So I did, making it to 100.69 miles in 6 hours 47 minutes, for an overall average speed of 14.84 mph. You can see I slowed a bit after lunch, I was getting tired and the wind had picked up a bit. Nevertheless I’m ecstatic about the result, I’d been hoping to keep it under 7 hours. The last time I rode a century was back in 1982 at the age of 29. I don’t remember my exact time but I don’t think this latest result, at the age of 68, was much slower, if at all. You lose a step or two with age but can overcome it, at least to a point, with smarter training.

The ride is broken into several logs because I restarted my GPS when I took breaks:

Home South to Gilroy, then north on Coyote creek trail to Hellyer Park and back to Metcalf Park
South from Metcalf to home for lunch, with some extra local riding thrown in.
North On Santa Teresa boulevard and back
Some local riding near home to get the last few miles in.

Total 100.69 miles at average speed 14.84, average heart rate 121

I’m kind of relieved this happened. The training for a long distance like this was getting time consuming. Now it’s time to choose my next challenge. I’m sure it will be something shorter. Back when I was running marathons, on two separate occasions I set a 10K personal record a couple of months after completing a marathon. I think this was partly psychological, it felt nice to do harder but shorter training after spending so much time on the long stuff. But it was also physiological, the long distance training for the marathon established a good “base”, and then a couple of months of speedwork led to a good result. I need to come up with something equivalent now. But there’s no hurry. A few recovery days can come first.