Well that was quite a day. I rode the Granfondo Ottawa’s Suprfondo route today. At 240km, it was the longest I’ve ever ridden in a day. I still feel like I’m wearing my helmet and sunglasses. My heart rate is still at 67bpm (normal is 47). Yep. That was quite a ride.
I got to the start early and was waiting around for 8am to happen. I should have waited some more for the ‘B’ group of Suprfondo riders. The ‘A’ group was way too strong for me. But I wanted to get going. I figured the fast ones would leave me eating dust and I’d be on my own. But the ride marshals, of which there were several in our group, kept us together, organizing pelotons and putting the strongest riders at the front. I couldn’t help but notice that I was one of only two in the group that didn’t shave my legs. Points against me for sure.
I stayed with them for a while, even doing the odd turn at the front, but at a certain point I looked at my head unit to see that my Intensity Factor (the ratio of normalized power – aka how much power you’re putting out – to your functional power threshold – how much power you can put out before you start to seriously fatigue) was at 1.3 where the plan had been to stay at 0.8, and I realized I needed an exit strategy.
I found one crossing Highway 17 when I jumped a stop sign, figuring that an eastbound pickup truck would pass us by and we could proceed. It didn’t. It stopped. And I got us yelled at by a group of motorcyclists coming the other way. There was confusion and fear in the group. I apologized to everyone who I rode near but no one accepted. It was clear I was going to be voted off the island. It was indeed a drop-worthy move on my part. And at Burnstown they dropped me. I don’t blame them. And in fact it was probably the best thing that happened to me because after that I could ride my own ride.
I had got a flat just before Burnstown. One of the ride marshals happened by and helped me change it. I love C02 cartridges. I was on my way with a properly inflated wheel in a few minutes.
However the upside to riding in a group is speed. You can keep your speed up with much less effort. And wind is much less of a factor. So long as you ‘grab a wheel’. On your own, you bear the full burden of all that effort. So that was today after Burnstown. A headwind. Bad one. Not deadly, but enough to kill my numbers and sap my spirit a little, especially after I passed 180km. I knew from an earlier long ride that I had at least six hours in the saddle before I’d start to unravel. I’d based my target time on an extrapolation of how I’d done on Rideau Lakes, dialling it back a bit because one is seldom so lucky with the wind as were riders of this year’s tour.
I’d hoped for 7:20 because this route had less elevation gain. I rolled in just over 8 hours after I started, including 7:36 of moving time.
Oh well. I did it. And I finished eighth in a field of 16. Update: Apparently some of the riders in the unofficial listing “shortened their route”. Can you guess which ones? Anyway, I might well have finished higher than shown. I will have to wait for the official results.