A few weeks ago I wasn't going to do D2R2, fearing I didn't have enough miles in my legs to make it worth while. After some solid rides, I figured I might as well at least do the 100k loop since I already paid for it before breaking my ankle. Fitness is still coming back. I'm not far off anymore, maybe less than 5% in a one hour effort. Five minute effort, probably still have a lot more ground to make up. But this doesn't matter much for D2R2. It is all about metering out your kilojoules steadily. So I'm committed to doing the whole thing now, rolling out at 6am with hundreds of others.
After a two hour solo hammer ride at lunch on Tuesday (Uncanoonuc/Chestnut loop), I backed down on intensity for the rest of the week. I have this rule I follow when seeking an honest recovery ride. If I have to open my mouth to breath, I'm going way too hard. I have a very narrow nasal passage, so nose breathing puts a strict governor on intensity, well within conversation pace. It works better than a power meter or HRM. You can only go as hard as oxygen supply permits.
Wednesday I did my typical semi-flat 14.4 mile recovery loop on my Dean road bike. It has 23mm racing tires on with aero wheels. The loop took me just over 46 minutes. I had reservations about bringing beefy knobby tires to D2R2 this year, as I fear they roll so much slower than the 28mm road tires I've used the last two times at D2R2. The course is expected to be very loose and bumpy this year though, and organizers pleaded with roadies to reconsider 25mm road tires. I have 35mm Schwalbe Racing Ralph clinchers on my CX bike right now. I successfully raced these last fall at Ironcross. They seemed fast on that course, but that is such a subjective thing. Thursday I rode my D2R2 bike on my recovery loop at the same "breath through my nose" pace. I was stunned to finish the loop within seconds of the same time on my road bike. I expected at least 2mph slower. The Schwalbe's were inflated to about 70psi. Of course, there could be wind variations or I could have breathed a little harder on Schwalbe's. It wasn't exactly a blind study.
If I'm giving up little at low to moderate speeds on pavement with these balloon tires, I will probably gain a lot of net speed vs road slicks over the D2R2 course this year. My primary concern is is total energy expenditure, not how fast I can complete D2R2. Done that a few times now. I do want to finish without extraordinary suffer factor. I suspect this year folks riding skinny road tires will suffer more than usual.
I will be going new school style, not in the spirit of randonneuring. A GPS will be my guide. It appears this year's route is identical to last year, so I scavenged a promising looking 2009 track from Garmin Connect, down sampled it on GPSies, then loaded it up on my Edge 705. Not sure what to make of the five mile "bonus" loop at the end. Who plans on doing it? It will bring the ride total up to about 185km.