Once again this was one of my main target events for the year, and the training camp I performed in Tenerife in March was intended to prepare me for over 5000 vertical metres of climbing in the 312 km of the event.
This has now become one of the premier long distance events for over 6000 amateur cyclists, though this year it had more than a sprinkling of ex pros with Joseba Beloki, Stephen Roche and Miguel Indurain (Big Mig no less) amongst others taking part.
The course was very similar to last year, except for 500m extra climbing in the second half, and aside from a stiff breeze in places had fine weather.
I had put in a big week of training the week before the event, and left just enough time for a volume taper:
The Strava stats for the event are quite scary, and I was quite pleased to see a 12W increase in estimated average power, though my heart rate average & max are identical to last year. If you have a Strava account and haven’t tried Relive yet, it’s a fun way of looking at where you went in a 2 min animated video
Replacing 8300 kCals from the hotel buffet was also a long job for a Sunday morning, but one that I felt fully up to!
The training load calculated from my Garmin (black bars) shows just how large a stress this event placed on my body:
My HRV certainly reacted the next day with a bright red traffic light & dot at the top left of the Training Guide:
One important aspect of endurance cycling that I have still not mastered is the ability to keep eating and drinking late on in these events. I stopped wanting to eat around 9 hrs and by 9.5 hrs the smell of sweet foods & energy drinks made me feel nauseous, which is a pity because my average speed feel considerably from 250 km to the finish. Most embarrassingly, I was ahead of Big Mig until 9 hrs, then he passed me and my glucose deprived brain didn’t even notice!
I’m going to have to think of better eating solutions for next year, but in the meantime I would highly recommend this event (which also has 167 km and 225 km options) to anyone who has not tried it.