Last year’s Ronde PDX went well. I survived, if not terribly well. With another full year of training behind me — and unfortunately at the exact same weight — I’m getting ready for this year’s torture-fest.
I pre-rode two sections over the past two weekends, and both went well. I managed to paperboy up Brynwood last weekend. And looking at my power meter, I’ve come up with a different tactic for approaching it. And the rest of both rides was… just easy. Hammering was never the goal, but everything was totally doable. There was never any grinding or true suffering. Just managing along.
Avoiding bonking is a big thing for me after a really shitty ride with Paul. But keeping the water bottles full of Gatorade, and eating some quartered up PBJ sandwiches seems to’ve really fixed that issue. This weekend, my goal will be to try to eat while riding, rather than stopping. It’s not a skill issue, but rather more that my various jacket and vest combination makes it %$#@ing impossible to get into my jersey pockets.
So this year, I’ve added a consistent regimen of strength training at the gym. Plus I’ve been on the Time-Crunched Cyclist training program (slightly modified) for longer than last year (three weeks last year, six weeks this year). Also, I’ve been taking it really easy this week to get ready. Yes, I am actually training for de Ronde.
Worries, I have a few. I recently switched shoes, added a new saddle, and OH YEAH, have completely switched over to my ‘cross bike. I rode with everything this past weekend without incident, but still. It’s a little worrisome to change the bike set up so dramatically right before a long, hard-ass ride. Shoes mean a different cleat position. A saddle means the height is probably a little different, and the fore-aft is probably a little different. And the cranks are shorter on this bike (172.5) vs. my road bike (175). It’s possible my knees will fall off halfway through the ride.
My other worry is that I’m doing this with my team. Last year I did it with just Paul, and he was gracious enough to stick with me during the last two climbs. My legs were positively quivering. I imagine the team will be going faster. And who knows if they’ll wait around at the tops of hills (though, really, who cares?). Plus, you know, machismo. And those factors could easily lead to me not eating and drinking enough. Which will lead to bonking and not finishing. So discipline will be the key this weekend.
Anyway. The weather promises to be decent. If I can keep my shit together, it could be a breakthrough day for me that sets me up with confidence for the rest of the season.