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A Perfect Storm

by on June 27, 2012

There are so many little things that impact the way a ride goes.  A rider who ignores them does so at their own peril … or at least performance.  As we tick down the days to the Tour de France, I have a much greater appreciation for the little things that can make or break a ride for professional and novice alike.

For instance, I noticed several situations and circumstances that affected my ride this morning.  We were holding a nice paceline through Severna Park on the trail when we came to Robinson Road.  We had to slow significantly for traffic, then as we crossed the road, I found myself on the front.  I was now setting the pace.  Our speed had been about 21 mph coming up on Robinson Road, so I accelerated swiftly to re-achieve that speed, spiking my heart rate in the process.  Once that happened, I found it hard to latch on to the back of the paceline after I moved off the front. Heart rate management is key, as is timing the pulls and relying on the strength of others.

Our transition onto Old County Road has always been a mental obstacle for me.  It requires an acceleration from just over walking speed on a slight incline and I’m always wanting to simply ride easy on that short section, so I’m always falling behind right there.  There was another segment like that that I successfully have overcome the mental resistance and made it a strong point.  It looks like this is yet another opportunity for that.

Those are two examples of challenges.  I also played my cards just right in another spot this morning.  I let the group go through Round Bay and I continued straight on Old County Road.  I watched my heart rate, and although I rode fairly quickly, I didn’t let it get out of control.  Once I got back onto the trail, I maintained about 19.5 mph and let my heart rate settle down on the flat trail.  My goal was to get caught at Severn Way (which for months I’ve been erroneously calling Joyce Road) and to join the paceline there for a quick sprint to the end of the trail.  This worked out perfectly, and as a result, I achieved my fastest average speed on this section of the ride, beating my old best time by 3 seconds, averaging 26.1 mph for the 0.88 mile segment.  Now … if the other bike and pedestrian traffic were not factors, another second or two might have been possible.

It was a good quick ride this morning.  I backed it off at the turn around and rode with two others who were taking a break today.  Even so, I had 18.4 mph on the day.

These cool mornings with low humidity are numbered.  By the end of the week the forecast is for hot and humid once again.  I’ve enjoyed them and will be sorry to see them go.

This Ride: 23.6 miles
Month: 423.8 miles
2012: 2898.9 miles
Total since 1/1/2010: 16,752.5 miles

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From → Cycling

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