If you have not been following, the training journey for the upcoming Century Ride cycling event in North Carolina has been 18 weeks of ups and downs. Another frustrating journey for sure, but not due to the team or the coach, who have both been outstanding. More due to the body issues I have been fighting though. Most of these have been handled … some as recent as yesterday … but it has resulted in reduced rides and a few missed weekly training session. To get to the end point right away, I will probably opt for the 50 miles ride over the 100 mile ride next Sunday. I just have not been able to get the mile and time in saddle I need, and to be honest I want this event to be fun, and having to grunt through 100 when I am not ready for it doesn’t sound like fun. If this was a race I’d probably, no I would, attempt the full 100. But this is a ride, and to be honest it is more about the fundraising, the awareness it brings to cancer and cancer research through Team in Training, and the chance to ride with friends in a new place.
We have one week to go before the event, so the last training ride was an easy 30 mile team building ride up the west Orange Trail from Winter Garden to Apopka and back … about 33 miles all in all. Recently Jennifer and I have been training on our own because we felt, with the issues we (I) were having we were holding the team back, making them wait for us, so it was best if we did what we could do and let them get their work in as well. We decided to join the team this time because of the aspect of the ride, and I am glad we did. This team, throughout the full 18 weeks, have been supportive and close. It was akin to the teams we were in at the beginning of the journey back in 2011, and it was good to see again. Coach Jay made a comment as we were sitting at Urban Flats after the ride. He said, “the difference between a cycling team and other teams is that cycling teams tend to get very close-knit, even after the event”. I can see that happening.
So, let’s review the issues I have had over the 18 weeks and where it sits now:
The first issue was my back, which started showing when we began training rides over 30 miles. Up to about mile 25 or so I would be fine, but after that my back would start tightening up, to the point I couldn’t lift my legs. In conjunction with that my neck and shoulders would tighten up, resulting in on one ride being unable to even put my hands on the handlebars. Not a good sign.
The solution was evident. It was the bike fit. Something was off. I finally got into a local fitter that I trusted, Kona Multisport, and they took a look at me. This ended in a slight raising of the seat with brought my legs more in line instead of having to kick out. It also result in a new handle bar and stem, moving to a 46cm width and a 21 degree rise. Made all the difference. I still had some back pain yesterday but nowhere near the pain I felt in the beginning, and think with some proactive stretching and stopping throughout the ride to stretch BEFORE it tightens up will help.
The other issue was the saddle itself. During the first ride with the new set up I noticed that my ass hurt. I attributed that to the new set up and just sitting different on the saddle, so just gutted through the majority of the short ride that day, until I could not get comfortable unless I was actually sitting only on the nose. Finally, I figured something had to be wrong so stopped. My saddle was almost straight up in the air. This was due to missing a screw on the right side which torqued the left side during the ride and loosened it. I managed to get the saddle tightened back down and thought it was fine, but it happened again yesterday. This resulted in having to stop a few times on the way back to tighten it down, but once back to Winter Garden brought the bike into the local shop, Wheel Works, to see if they could fix it. They looked it over, found a screw that would work with my saddle, fixed it, and I was out the door. No charge. You, sirs, will get my repeat business.
So am I ready to go ride in North Carolina? Yes. Will I do the full 100? Probably not. But what I will do is have fun, enjoy being away for a few days with my favorite person in the world, and seeing an area where I have never been before.
I may never come back. 🙂