Seattle to Portland one-day report

205 miles, one day — piece of cake. Random points:

  • Got off to a late start. 520’s closure and the subsequent traffic jams cost us an hour on our start time.
  • Headwinds or sidewinds almost the whole way. Owww. 5-10 mph is a lot.
  • Colder. It was overcast for much of the route and a little chilly on the bike.
  • Average speed on-bike was 16.5. Last year it was 17.3. Considering the headwinds, that’s not so bad.
  • Didn’t think about baseball, or the Mariners, or my book deadline at all.
  • Stuck in my head (because I don’t wear headphones for safety reasons): “Theologians” by Wilco, a couple of Sage Francis verses, that “Hank!” Starbucks commercial (which is a great commercial).

I felt much, much better finishing than I did last year. That’s interesting because I trained a lot less in terms of miles (and difficulty) this year. Last year two weeks ahead of the STP I did a 150m climb up a mountain pass. This year I did a 100m course of proportionally lighter difficulty.

I think the big keys to the ride were the new bike (Habanero Cycles woooo!), my hyper-vigilant dedication to eating and drinking (which cost me off-bike time, if you know what I mean), and a new riding style which is greatly aided by a nice bike computer:
– continue to apply strength powering up hills: don’t grind up them slowly, but attack! attack! attack! Only grind when required
– high cadence: keep the pedals turning at least 60rpm at all times, and try to stay at 80 or above

Yet it’s strange to think that last year, even on a much worse bike, I was doing more difficult rides and training a lot harder only to find the ride itself a lot tougher. It’s times like these that I wonder how much use a coach would be in trying to target workouts for peak performance. I feel like I lucked into a sweet spot.

Afterwards, my wife drove me home (couldn’t find a decent hotel in Portland) and I slept for 12 hours, woke up, watched the M’s game while eating pizza and drinking Anchor Steam, then slept some more, and then woke up and went to work.

Almost weirder, to me: the day-of damage was really in my hands and my butt (well, obviously). Next-day soreness wasn’t much in my legs but more in the secondary muscle groups: my sides, my neck, my shoulders, my arms. Monday soreness was down, but the legs are more sore today… though that might be a relative perception issue.

I might hit RSVP next.