Last weekend I completed my second Pelofondo event – putting in 75 miles on my bike Saturday.
What is Pelofondo?
PeloFondo is a live virtual event for both indoor and outdoor cyclists, focused on long distance mileage.
Why I did it
Last year a colleague asked me to join her for 100 miles broken down into two days. I loved the training process and decided to do it again except to change my goal to 75 miles in one day. Last year while training and doing longer endurance classes (60-90 minutes) with Matt Wilders on Peloton, I listened to him talk time and time again about the need to set goals. Goals keep you accountable and make your training all the more important.
How I prepared
I set up and followed a training schedule for the months of February, March, and all of April until the event. I made a calendar each month and tracked my workouts and bike mileage. I also added in regular fasting/no alcohol days.
I got up early each Sunday and got a long ride in (usually with my training partner to keep it interesting) before my kids were up and moving. Other days I focused on speed, mental focus (running), stretching, and strength training. Each week on the bike I added 5 miles to my long endurance ride which peaked at 60 miles 2 weeks before my 75 mile ride. I also read a lot about nutrition during training, what to consume during long endurance events and then tested a number of ideas over the 3 months of training.
Any ride at or over 90 minutes would include 2 coconut waters and one water bottle of water. Before the ride I would eat an english muffin with chunky peanut butter. At the hour mark I would start nibbling on the banana to bank calories so I would not hit a wall. On longer rides I added in eating a few jellybeans, and on really long rides (40+ miles) I added in eating a few (1/4 cup) of potato chips (for the salt). On the long 75 mile ride I added in a 24 oz bottle of water with some caffeine as well as 2 additional coconut waters and a small gatorade. Part of the training was getting a working combination so come race day, you are not adding in anything unknown.
What I learned
My last training ride (50 miles) before the big day was an absolute nightmare. I could not get comfortable, I could not focus, and I got off the bike frustrated and barely able to move my left shoulder. I was quite nervous I had an additional 25 miles to go on my next ride and started feeling myself want to self-sabotage myself. Two days before the big day I did one final ride to celebrate my 600th ride. Jess King who gave me a shout out and that was all I needed to remember why I was doing this…I loved spending time exercising and getting in shape on the Peloton. Endurance rides are obviously a physical challenge, but also a real mental challenge as well. Trying to stay positive and focuses for several hours is not for everyone. I will say that while this bike endurance training has helped my running and boxing training – the real noticeable impact has been the mental focus and clarity which I see come through when dealing with complex work and personal issues.. The ability to stay calm and power through it has been the greatest achievement by far from this training.
Friday I put together my final ride list as well as my estimated milage. I got my food/drinks all set, went to bed before 9pm and was ready to go.
I woke up Saturday feeling positive and well prepared. I knew what I needed to do and followed my training plans. For me – it was about hitting and staying at 17mph over the first 2.5 hours and then slowly letting my speed go down from there. I had planned to do 25 miles every 90 minutes. I felt great throughout the first 2.5 hours but as that next hour passed I started to feel very unfocused and uncomfortable and was not sure how I was going to make it through another hour. Fortunately though I had chosen to end with my favorite trainer (Jess King) and as soon as I was on a ride with her I exceeded my needed miles per hour and got it done with a smile.
I finished with the perfect quick stretch with Robin who had the pefect message on her shirt as a reminder of why I did what I did. I did not wake up to be mediocre!
What did I do after completing 75 miles?
I thought I would drink champagne and eat Combos…but I traded in the champagne for a salad from Sweet Green and ate the best tasting Combos ever. I spent the rest of the day drinking as much water as I could.
I woke up the next day feeling great, ready to start thinking about the next big thing. Stay tuned.