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Too Fast to Smell the Roses

by on May 22, 2012

Each day of the SPP 5:45 rides have a theme.  There is:

  • Mosey Monday,
  • Terrible Tuesday,
  • Wicked Wednesday,
  • Torture Thursday, &
  • Friendly Fixie Friday.

When conditions are right and mostly safe, these are the rides that are expected.  On any given day, a rider or riders may choose to ride a 5:46 ride, which takes the rider out of the expectation of those speedy three days in the middle of the week.  Today, everyone opted for Terrible Tuesday, and still there were two groups.

The rain moved out overnight, leaving the pavement damp in places and a few small places of standing water.  I had a pretty quick pace getting to the Rusty Bridge.  I’ve determined that how quickly I ride that first 4-5 miles plays a large role in my overall speed for the morning.  Not only does a faster ride give me a higher average speed going into the ride, I think it helps set a “muscle memory” speed in my legs and brain (yes, I know that my brain isn’t a muscle) so that a faster speed later in the ride doesn’t feel so fast.  It’s only a theory and it works for me, so I’m using it.

There was an occasional light mist in the air.  It was like a clear fog at times.  I also took turns conservatively, especially where road paint was involved.  We were pretty fast right out of the gate, but it wasn’t a full out sprint.  The difference can be seen on Jennings Road.  A full out sprint might see us hitting speeds of close to 30 mph whereas the fast day might only be about 22-24.  I hung with the big boys onto Old County Road, then decided to attempt my personal record speed on Old County.  That means that I didn’t tackle the hill in Round Bay this morning.  Brian and Mike C joined me in the shortcut.

I was surprised as I crested the first major hill that Brian and Mike were behind me.  I watched my heart rate, and kept it above 168, which means that I was pushing hard.  I stayed in as large a gear as I dared, forcing my legs to move toward that sweet spot of 90-94 rpm.  I saw a pulse of 172 at one point, but kept pushing.  Mid way though, Mike caught me and suggested that we had some work to do if we were going to beat the others to the end of the trail.  I suggested we work together.  By the time we got to the trail, I had suggested trying to maintain around 22 mph as Mike in the lead dropped to 20.  We switched leads occasionally, Mike doing most of the work in front.

I decided to have a little fun as we reached the end of the trail.  I parked the bike quickly, sat on the picnic bench, and cheered on the riders as they came rolling in.  The scowls were precious.  The pace back north was still quicker than I wanted to ride, so I was off the back for a little while.  Mike and I waited for Alex at Glen Oban, then pushed it home from there.  I pushed hard trying to set a personal record on the last little hill on B&A Blvd.  As it turns out, I missed the personal record by two seconds.  By the time I crossed McKinsey Rd I looked down and was amazed that my average speed on the morning to that point was 19.2 mph!

I knew that would drop some speed on the rest of the ride home, but I still kept pressing on.  I kept the pace high as I climbed the last leg up Highway 2, resulting in my second fastest time on this segment also!

This was a fast morning for me.  Using my cycling log and Strava.com for the record keeping revealed that this ride was:

  1. My fastest time along the whole length of Old County Road, placing me in 8th place overall.
  2. My  second fastest time up Highway 2 toward home.
  3. My second fastest time up what I call “Little Sprint Hill” on B&A Blvd.
  4. My fastest average time this year on the 5:45 ride.
  5. I looked back to 2011 and to my surprise I’ve had only 3 rides faster than this.  Two were long rides with tailwinds across the Eastern Shore.  One was an amazing 20.5 mph 5:45 ride in September.  I didn’t expect that!

And still, the others are much faster than I am.

This feels pretty good.  I’m liking the improvement.

This Ride: 22.4 miles
Month: 555.4 miles
2012: 2153.2 miles
Total since 1/1/2010: 16,006.8 miles

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From → Cycling

One Comment
  1. I nearly choked on my coffee picturing you on the bench cheering!!

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