“Easy out!” yelled Lanny as the light turned green and we clicked into our pedals and started rolling. So begins another group ride in southwest Florida, which are insanely fast, and my hoped for key to Ride the Rockies! We limit speeds on “easy” days to 22-25 MPH, and on “unlimited” days we often exceed 30 MPH. Yep, that’s what flat land will do. Group rides can get rather large, as the flats and “drafting” effect allows riders of all abilities to ride together at surprisingly high speeds. Gonna be interesting to see how all this translates to the Rockies!?
Sounds great to be able to ride this way, eh? Mostly, yes, but group riding on flat roads also means there’s no coasting in Florida, which is a lot harder than you might think. Since I moved here, I’ve forgotten how to coast. Once we hit the accelerator, there’s no let up until the ride ends a couple of hours later and everyone’s totally gassed and shriveled up balls of sweat. Stoplights can be the worst, when the guys out front take off and stretch out the group, leaving those of us in the back frantically sprinting all-out to catch the tail end of the train. Uncoupling from the draft is bad news, as it consigns you fighting the Florida winds exposed and alone. Not fun. That happens more than I’d like to admit, like last Saturday, when Speed-King Michael and Ironman Mark unexpectedly showed up at our regular group ride. Crap, we never even had a warm-up and were going 24 MPH into the wind within 500 yards of the Tropical Smoothie place! The ride only got faster and I finally blew up after about 15 miles of that. When we finished, Tracey’s Garmin told her she needed three days to recover!
That about summarizes my training plan for Ride the Rockies. Lots of group rides. Hard intervals. Toss in a few long-slow 100 mile days and a day of rest. Repeat weekly until June 10. I think this plan just might work for RtR, but who knows? I think I’m putting out enough effort to handle those Colorado grades, but what about the Thin Air? No way to replicate that in Florida. The only strategy I can think of for Thin Air is to show up in Alamosa and just accept whatever happens. My ace-in-the-hole is Love Shack Dave, because I know he’ll stick with me. Or, I’m pretty sure he’ll be there.
As a former engineer/finance guy, you’d think I’d have a rather exact training plan. However, when I talked about a detailed plan with Love Shack Dave, the former NCAA track star, he just laughed at me. He advised me to “just ride”. So I’ve decided to test his theory of riding by “feel.” The thinking is that we’ve all done training plans for years, read the Chris Carmichael newsletters and the Joe Friel books, and we understand what are bodies are capable of, or not. We’ll find out how this experiment works in a few weeks! BTW, I hope we’ll get to meet Chris Carmichael when he’s in Gunnison on the 16th! I’d sure like a photo with him!
Hey, in case anyone finds themselves bored, I am posting my rides on Strava, so if you have an account with them you can see my training – and perhaps offer some training tips! I’m also live-tracking my rides on Twitter at https://twitter.com/gruselowski?lang=en. The rides stay up for 24 hours and are then auto-deleted. Garmins are wonderful devices.