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Record Setting Day on the Fixie

by on May 20, 2013

After a long 8 days with no days off work, I decided that it was time to get my May 200k completed as a way to force a day off.  That meant a solo ride today.  I chose my own Tour de Del-Mar route with a planned 6:30 departure.  The forecast was for upper 60’s at the start, getting into the mid 80’s with a reasonable wind.  There was a 30% chance of scattered thunderstorms.  As a way to make the ride more interesting, I chose the fixie.  One of my unmet goals has been to complete a 200k on the fixie.  The route is flat.  Wind is the only real challenge.  I flipped the wheel over to give myself a little bigger gear for the flat conditions and packed as lightly as possible.

The morning started off with a spectacular sunrise.  It made me a little worried.  You know what they say, “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.”  Within moments after the sun peeked out from behind clouds, thick dark clouds moved in.  It would be hours before I saw the sun again.  I evidently chased the rain.  I ran across wet roads on several occasions, but was never rained on all day.

With a light tailwind for the first 50 miles of the ride, I made some really, really good time.  I averaged over 18 mph for that distance.  I was riding smooth and it felt really good.  I changed the Garmin display so that it only showed the route and the time.  I did not pay attention to my speed and heart rate like I usually do.  It took me some 40 miles to get the turn by turn directions working right, and when it did, it was very helpful.  One thing I also did differently this ride was to pump upbeat music into one ear.  I used it to keep my cadence up.  I really think that contributed to a pretty fast day.

When I turned south, my speed immediately dropped as I was now riding into the wind.  The forecast had about 5-10 mph winds out of the south or southwest.  I quickly noticed that flags were standing straight out and snapping in the breeze.  The forecast underestimated the wind.  Several times I wished I had a wind gauge on my bike to measure some of the peaks.  But the pedals kept turning and I kept moving.  I appreciated the breaks due to the trees and loved it when the road turned so the wind was on my beam or even a quartering tailwind.

When I arrived at my lunch stop in Harrington, DE, I was ready for it.  I was tired.  My legs ached.  I wanted to stop.  I had 51 miles left to go.  After some Gatorade, part of a tuna wrap, baked chips (for the salt), water, Motrin, and ecaps, I was ready to go.  It was amazing how much better I felt … at least for a while.  It was now a slog into the wind, and pretty wide open fields on both sides of the route.  My speed decreased again, and I found myself stopping to rest much more frequently.  I’d stop for a minute or two, attend to nutrition and hydration, and then press on again.

When I arrived in Denton, I had a ChocoTaco which really hit the spot and its effect lasted for at least a few miles.  Actually, the anticipation of ice cream carried me at least 5 miles into Denton.  The sun was starting to come out and the temperatures rose quickly into the low 80’s.  My pattern of riding for a time, then stopping for a short break helped my energy level, mostly because it helped me cool off and catch my breath.

The last 15 miles went pretty quickly, even though I was going slower than I wanted to.  Sometimes it was the wind.  Sometimes it was the heat.  Sometimes it was fatigue.  But the pedals kept turning (that’s what fixies do) and soon enough I was finished.

It wasn’t until I was done that I realized that this was the fastest solo 200k I’ve ridden.  I averaged 16.8 mph and pushed the fixie further in one ride than ever before.  Both of these are significant accomplishments!

I was toast when I got home.  I could hardly move.  My feet had a couple of hot spots.  I was crusted in salt.  After a shower and a few hours of rest, I started moving comfortably again and now 4 hours later I’m feeling pretty good.

If you are interested in my Garmin track, it is here.

This Ride: 132.2 miles
Month: 351 miles
2013: 2296.3 miles
Total since 1/1/2010: 22,069.2 miles

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From → Cycling

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