Monday, November 22, 2010

My Thoughts on El Tour - Year Two

Yesterday, I wrote up a few highlights of the El Tour de Tucson race last weekend.  Mostly, I focused on how my son did on the 40-mile route.  Today, I want to share some of my thoughts on the race.

When I did this race last year, it was a slightly shorter 34-mile cycling route.  Again, I know that this is a long distance for some of you out there who are just getting started, but for consistent cyclists, it is a typical Saturday ride...or a daily commute to and from the office.  At 325 pounds in November of 2009, I rode my commuter bike those 34 miles and it was a major accomplishment.  As I have said, it changed my life.

This year, the ride had stretched to 40 miles and it was a breeze.  It was that leisurely Saturday ride for me.  I weigh 50 43 pounds less this year and have logged many cycling miles, climbed many hills, have started running and am much healthier.  When we were done, I wasn't sore, I wasn't tired and I swear, I feel like I could have ridden my bike back home along the same route.

I was so grateful to have done this with my son.  I will finish the El Tour wrap-up in an upcoming post, when I talk about what is ahead for Samson and the rest of the Clyde Family (the cycling disease is spreading!).

But on a very personal level, these are my takeaway points from the race:
  • I was physically ready to enjoy the 66 mile route, could have endured the 79 mile route, and with a few more months of training, would have been able to finish the 109 mile route.  Again, Clydesdales aren't built for speed...they are built for strength.  I am much stronger than I thought.
  • At my pace, the 66 mile route would take me a little more than 4 hours, which would be a fun, speed-challenge.  The longer routes would add on more hours, which just does not seem too fun, despite the achievement of the greater distance.  I'd rather do a slow-40 with family or a faster-66 and be done in 4 hours, than "prove something" by doing a 6-10 hour route of 80 - 109 miles.  Note to self:  stick to the 40 (with family) or 66 (for speed).
  • Cycling simply requires more time away from home and the family than running.  Cycling training is probably double that of running-training (Runners:  please tell me if I have this right.).
  • That doesn't mean I'm done cycling, but...
I am in need of a scary milestone event. 

Stay tuned.

Big Clyde

10 comments:

Alan (Pounds Off Playoff) said...

Thanks for the detail, Clyde. Your plan makes a lot of sense. As for the longer distance, have you thought about a different race? Seattle to Portland (STP) seems more interesting maybe?

midlife_swimmer said...

I am doing my best to do the STP this coming summer... maybe see you there?

Clive Chapman said...

Well done Sir on your achievements so far! Being of the larger frame myself, ie built for comfort not speed I can more than sympathise with you and your conclusions.

Good luck for the future and I'll be following your progress with interest!

Kovas Palubinskas said...

Come run an ultra with me! 50K in spring or fall. That's my next scary milestone event.

Great job on the ride, isn't it great to see how far you've come?

Lesley @ racingitoff.com said...

My brother cycles, I run... I would say we spend almost the exact same amount of time training. For what I've seen mostly (which is a big generalization), biking miles to running miles is 4:1. So training for a 50 mile bike ride should be about the same time "in the saddle" as training for a half marathon. Training for 100 mile bike ride (which my brother is currently training for) should be about the same time as training for a marathon (which I'm doing)... and I have to say, most weeks, we're very close in terms of hours spent training.

Jarrett @ "PaddlePedalPlod" said...

I'd have to say that Lesley is probably about right... I just did a half IM this year, and I think it's probably the case that you would want to spend about the same amount of time on both biking and running (56mi and 13.1 mi respectively)
But I think it's more important to do 'quality' miles. Here in the Great White North, we tend to train indoors this time of year, which means that you don't just go out for a leisurely ride, you get on a trainer and do a specific set workout, often with a group, facing a coach. You could do some of the same out on the road (ie focus on cadence, gear down to work on power, etc.), but when I'm out on the road, I just go...

Jarrett @ "PaddlePedalPlod" said...

And congrats on all the progress you've made!

RockStarTri said...

Cycling does take up more time than running but running is harsher on your body. The beauty is in the balance.

Now I'm waiting to hear of what the SME might be....

wendyinjapan said...

I need to find a good challenge to work toward myself. Can`t wait to hear what you`ve got going on!

Bruce said...

Hey Mr. Big! I enjoyed reading about El Tour and your new fitness goals. Take care, and maybe some time when I'm riding through Oro Valley, our paths will cross! Cheers! Bruce!