I did my first metric century last night. Off road. It is the largest ride I have done to date and I loved it.
I have been wanting to do this loop since I moved close to Penasquitos Canyon in September 2011. This is one of the larger loops you can do in the western portion of San Diego Country and stay off road for the entire route, except maybe 5 miles of asphalt, much of which is inaccessible to vehicles.
I found out that my parents were taking the kids overnight AND my wife was going to be out with 15 other ladies to celebrate my sister in law’s birthday. My wife asked what I would be doing, but really meant, where will you be riding? I figured out that I had about 6-8 hours to plan a ride. I had just calculated that my loop would be about 60 miles and I had wanted to break the 100km barrier for an off road ride, so I knew that this was my opportunity to do it.
I had just raced last weekend in the Racers and Chasers Winter Series Marathon Finale at Black Mountain and got 6th overall in the series. 50 miles at race pace left me tired to say the least. I hadn’t ridden at all during the week after that race, but had been wrenching on my bike a little.
I bought a new saddle recently and decided I was going to put it on right AFTER the race. Switching things like a saddle right before a 50 mile race is just asking for it. 🙂
I had been running the Selle Italia SLR XP titanium railed saddle which was very lightweight, weighing about 150 grams! It was pretty comfortable though. I found that it flexed really well and even though it had minimal padding, it was comfortable. I found though that after about 30 miles in the saddle, I would start feeling just a very slight bit of discomfort on my sit bones. The soft tissue parts always felt great, but the sit bones got a little bit tender. So I was going to try a new saddle with more padding in the sit bone area to try to allow longer rides to be more comfortable. I still wanted that flexyness, especially in the soft tissue area. I read great reviews of both MTB endurance racers of the Fizik saddles, primarily the Gobi for MTB. I had also been reading roadie reviews on the Fizik Aliante and realized there were roadies spending all day on the Aliante and found they were still comfortable after all that time in the saddle when they hadn’t been with previous saddles. Some even compared it to the Selle Italia SLR XP which I had been running as well. The general feeling I got from the reviews was that the Aliante would be worth trying and should be as flexy, but slightly more padded than the SLR XP.
I found a green “test” Aliante on craigslist and got it mounted up.
This metric century would be my first MTB ride with it. SUPER RISKY. I can’t believe I was so reckless. This could have RUINED me and made this ride HORRIBLE. Seriously. Do not follow my example. Messing with your saddle at all before a big ride (this was the longest ride I have ever attempted by the way) is a bad, bad choice.
Fortunately, the Aliante is the most comfortable saddle I have ridden to date. 🙂 I had to stop 3 times to adjust my saddle HEIGHT, but the saddle angle was near perfect out of the gate. One small adjustment to get the nose pointed downward half a degree and it was perfect. One weird thing about it is that it feels less comfortable when I wore my jeans and rode it around on surface streets, but in my riding shorts it feels perfect. A HUGE blessing.
Ok, so that was big risk #1. Yes, I was acting foolish in more ways than one. This is not like me, so I hope I don’t come off as a guy who tries to be foolish and hope for a divine intervention to prevent or reverse the consequences I should be bringing upon myself. I try to use the wisdom I have been given and apply it to my life whenever possible. I had a brief lapse in judgement I guess…it just happened to be immediately before my biggest ride ever that I was also attempting solo. Whoops. 🙂
Risk #2: New nutrition. Nothing else brought but this new nutrition. New nutrition in quantities greater for longer duration than any other nutrition I had tried previously. Foolishness.
I had been using Hammer Perpetuem along with Hammer Endurolytes consistently in long training rides and the last 3 marathon races with great success.
Infinit Nutrition had a yearly sale and I got wind of it by being on their mailing list. I decided to order some and try it out on a long ride during a time of training to see if it worked better for me and my body’s nutrional/electrolyte needs than what I was already using.
I brought 6 servings with me on this ride. Single servings in each of two bottles, double servings in each of two other bottles, as well as one bottle with plain water to wash down the more concentrated bottles. I planned on stopping at a gas station to buy another liter of water and refill bottles as necessary at the halfway (50km) mark as well. So, God richly blessed me, despite my foolishness of trying another critical new piece of the endurance puzzle. My nutrition was perfect. At least more perfect than it ever has been. I felt great during the whole ride. Tired at times, but good.
Here is the route I took:
Below are some photos I took along the way. Maybe I will add more text to this post in the days to come, but for now, this is a good overview of what I did.