gravel grinder

Gravel Grinder Training: Tuesday night worlds

In Blog by Eric Benjamin1 Comment

Tuesday Night Worlds: a weekly gravel grinder drop ride that puts me in my place. There is a range of cyclists but mostly fast riders as this is a training ride. If you are dropped, you are on your own.

I decided to ride the fatbike. I was prepared to get dropped, but I wasn’t sure how well or bad I would do since my current fitness level is iffy. I usually have great mileage this time of year, but looking at my year-to-date miles, this is my slimmest year since I started cycling seriously. It’s not that I have irrational goals of keeping up with the racers, it’s that I feel better mentally and physically when I am riding on the regular. Cycling is the best self medication out there. I haven’t been able to get back to where I was since surgery and that is also frustrating. I don’t want to get back to that level, I want to surpass it since the ticker is pumping closer to 100% now.

Taking a page out of Rocky Balboa’s training regimen, I will be hooking up the trailer bike to the fatbike when Mikey is with me, using his weight to punish my legs on shorter, harder rides. That way I can still train on the weeks he is with me. That starts next week.

Lelan and I tuned up our bikes and then met up with the group behind Mulready’s Pub. The clock struck 6:00 and we headed north out-of-town. My mind still thinks I should be able to keep up with the group, at least the back of the pack. I have to remind myself of my fitness level and that I am on a fatbike.

We started out with the wind at our backs and the fatbike with the wind is sweet. I was making excellent time and was not the last rider. We turned and rode a few miles of pavement. The fatty excels on bumpy gravel but pavement feels slow. After the stretch of pavement we turned to ride back towards Emporia. It wasn’t windy, but there was enough of a headwind that I felt like I was riding in mud. It became aggravating. My legs felt like there was nothing in them. My heart rate wasn’t up and I didn’t feel like I was working hard enough, but my legs wouldn’t push much harder. I was having a tough time keeping my speed up. I had no idea how I was doing because I had the map up on the Garmin and couldn’t see my stats. I just put my head down and tried to push.

Soon the only person behind me was Lelan and that was only because he had three flats. Everyone else passed me, including a girl with a rear rack on her bike and others that I used to be faster than a few years ago. Instead of getting down and completely giving up, I decided to pay attention to the fact that I was riding in July but had Fall-like weather. I reminded myself that I was riding a bike on gravel in beautiful country. I had my health, a nice bike and time to ride. Life was good. Turning this amazingness into something frustrating and negative is a damn shame. So I didn’t.

Lelan caught me and we rode into town together. That kept my speed up a little and made the time pass. Soon we were at Mulready’s for a recovery drink and tall tales. But when I decided to check my Garmin, I was in for a surprise.


Even with what felt like a snail’s pace coming back into town I averaged 15.6 mph over 30 miles on my fatbike. That is my fastest time since surgery and I am not in shape yet. Not bad. Yeah, that beer was the perfect end to a great evening.

Feed Your Monkey!