Wednesday, July 05, 2006


I went on a great ride yesterday. It was similar to the hard ride on Saturday. This time, it was longer. Of course, this time, I rode it in the morning, so it wasn't 95 degrees outside. As it turns out, that makes a big difference.

It all started with the Tour of Utah. The last stage of this year's course will, among other climbs, go over the Alpine Loop and then over Suncrest (what I did Saturday). Those two climbs combined equal around 6000' of climbing--that is, if you turn around in draper and head south back over Suncrest. I wondered if I could do it.

This, by the way, demonstrates how bad road rides don't seem to alter my goals or ambitions for more than a few minutes. On Saturday, I barely survived Suncrest alone. Yesterday, I thought it'd be a good idea to add the Alpine Loop to that.

Instead of being cheap with the nutritional/energy supplements I brought along, I decided my primary objective would be to arrive at the end of the ride feeling good. Tired, but good. I brought (and consumed) 1 package of Clif Shot Bloks, 2 GUs, 1 Carb Boom, 1 Balance Bar, 4 bottles of Elete water and 1 Bottle of Cytomax. Actually, I didn't bring that many bottles with me, but I brought Elete with me and used it whenever I stopped to refill my bottles.

Before leaving, I estimated it would take me 5 hours, but I didn't really believe it. I figured I'd bonk really bad like Saturday, and yet still try and complete it.

I was right about the 5 hours. I was wrong about bonking.

Starting out, I made a conscientious goal to not push myself too fast. As I said before, my main goal was to finish, and finish without dying. I started out in the morning, so it was cool. I felt great as I climbed Alpine Loop. I've never seen so many cyclists on that road, but it was a holiday. I made it to the top, slammed a energy gel, and started down without any stopping. I wanted to beat the rush of all the traffic that was inevitable in American Fork Canyon, but because I got a late start, it was already after 8 am when I started down. The cars were nice, though, and made room for me. Top speed was 49mph.

Aside: Tour of Utah and the roads
IF the tour of Utah is going over that road, they'd really better step it up a notch. There were no fewer than three sections of gravel instead of pavement on hairpin corners. C'mon guys! Time to re-pave, wouldn't you say? I leave poor road conditions as my excuse for not taking the downhill any faster.

When I reached Alpine, I had a planned stop in a park to fill up my water bottles (adding Elete, of course. I wasn't about to set myself up for a bonk again). With two newly filled water bottles, I was off on my way up Suncrest.

Here is where I decided to use Clif Shot Bloks while riding. Here are my impressions: Though easier to chew/let dissolve/swallow than Jelly Belly Sport Beans (Blok: 1, Sport Bean: 0), it still took more work than energy gel. On the other hand, I liked that I could string out my energy consumption along the hill up Suncrest. Every few minutes, I would just pop a Blok in and slowly work on it. Also, they didn't leave my mouth as sticky as Sport Beans (Blok: 2, Sport Bean: 0).

When I got to the top of Suncrest, I was tired. At that point, I'd done almost 4500' of climbing. The day had warmed up considerably. On the other hand, I didn't feel dehydrated at all. Nor did I feel my legs were spent. Down I went.

Here is the point where I reached the absolute fastest speed I've ever gone on a bike. Also, I did it without noticing it. Sure, I was tucked a bit, but I figured I was still in the upper 40's when I looked down to discover: 55.6mph. Wow.

Aside: Synapse
I really love my Synapse. It is darn light. It is comfy. Super stiff. I love the feel of the Topolino wheels. They are stiff and light, yet they smooth out the ride noticeably. Also, as I learned on this ride, I like the way my Synapse is stable at speed.

When I turned around and headed up the hard part of Suncrest (the North side), I found that I was tired. I really was. My legs were tired. I was tired.

BUT, I wasn't that tired. I watched the time tick by. I watched the miles crawl by. I passed a few people. (One of which was gone when I looked back. I still wonder if I was hallucinating, though I didn't feel as fatigued as all that.)

The ride back was fairly anti-climatic. I stopped at the same park in Alpine and refilled both bottles again. I took it easy going home, though I did manage to bring my average speed up a little bit. (With that much climbing, though, you really shouldn't expect much of me.) I climbed that last little hill (steep, but short) up to my street. I went inside.

At this point, you might expect me to say I crashed on the floor when I went inside. I'm sorry, but I didn't. In fact, I felt great. Really, really great. My legs were a little tired, but I felt like I could've gone on.

Aside: Gummies
I've decided that I really like the gummy form of energy. I like that when I finished the Clif Shot Bloks, I didn't have a disgusting gooey wrapper to store somewhere. (Don't EVER throw these on the ground.) They are, however, a bit pricey. I like James' suggestion to use fruit snacks instead. They are much, MUCH cheaper, though you miss out on the Sodium and Potassium that the Clif Bloks have. I might have to give them a try, though.

Eventually, the cycling world is going to have to come up with a name to call this form of energy supplement. We've had energy gels and energy drinks. I give you: Energy Gummies! Please, Performance, Nashbar, Colorado Cyclist, etc., make the appropriate changes to your catalogs.


James Sharp said...

What about "gummy energy" it seems to sound better.

Jon Sharp said...

It really does. Genius!