Today is Wednesday the usual start day for my 3-day block of commuting/training. But I am changing up my routine. In the past, I have suffered from sleep deprivation on 600km events. Subsequently, my pace slows down during the event when I'm falling asleep. Yes, I said falling asleep and yes, on the bike. I consider it one of my biggest weaknesses in my pursuit of becoming a better Ultra Cyclist. Don't forget these events are overnighters for the average cyclist. My best has been in the 33 hour range. As you can see that is an 11.36 Mph Avg speed. If I can just stay awake and keep the wheels rolling I might break 30 hours.
I climb...ok, I ride the flats... ok (drafting helps lol!) and I spend very little time off the bike. But the one thing that slows me down in longer events is fighting the Sandman. In 2005, I did the San Diego 600km I was about 160 miles into the event and I had to pull over. I was so tired and sleepy. Would you believe it was the middle of the afternoon? Also in 2005, two weeks later I did the San Luis Obispo 600km and also suffered from sleep deprivation issues early in the afternoon.
In both cases above I worked all week (who doesn't?) and had real early starts to my day on the Thursday and Friday mornings leading into the event on Saturday. I have vowed to get at least 7 hours of sleep over the next couple of days. I rarely get more than 6 hours. To keep the legs loose I will try and ride the trainer (hate the trainer) or go for a short ride after work BUT NO commuting on the bike. When I commute I'm up by 4am and I think I can squeeze out 1-2 more hours of sleep and wake up at 530am or 6am. I'll ride the rails instead of clogging the freeways with my car!