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It Took a Short-Term Goal to Get Me Out of Bed

by on July 19, 2012

Oops … missed posting yesterday’s ride.  Briefly, I knew that I didn’t want to ride hard and would be dropped fast.  I was dropped shortly after the start but Dave P pulled up with a flat.  I accompanied him as he attended to the flat and then we rode together.  We turned around with the group when we reconnected with them and so the ride was shorter than usual.  What surprised me was that my average speed was still a respectable 17.2 mph.  That realization set me up for Thursday’s Ride.

You see, with 3 rides this week, all of which were over 17 mph average, I tied my personal record of number of consecutive rides over 17 mph.  Before going to bed last night, I resolved to make it 4 days in a row.  Enter a long day at work, a late night including dinner after 9 pm and to bed after 11 and 4:45 am isn’t looking so good.  Sure enough, when the alarm rang this morning the night had been too short and it wasn’t until I was reaching over to silence the alarm with the decision to sleep another hour that I remembered the goal.  If I skipped riding this morning, I would have to put in three brand new fast rides on consecutive days to be able to get back to this position.  Sleeping would throw away the week’s work.  At least that was the thought process that pulled me out of bed and begin to prepare for the day.

Although I figured a 17+ mph average speed was going to be relatively easy, I didn’t want to make it any harder than it had to be.  I set a brisker than usual pace to the Rusty Bridge.  Keeping the goal in mind, I coasted less and kept strategy in mind.  I was committed … after all, I got up for this.  On the way to the Rusty Bridge, I encountered the mutant “squnny” again.  (A squnny is my name for a bunny that behaves like a squirrel.) It came running out from my left, looked like it would dash between my wheels but at the last moment, turned and retreated back into the underbrush.  I attribute that one quick incident to waking me from my sleep-deprived stupor.

At the Rusty Bridge I had 18 mph average.  I knew then that achieving the goal would hinge on maintaining a good pace on the ride and most importantly on my speed on Old County Road.  As we departed, I set the minimum pace at around 18 mph and watched my heart rate.  I intended to be on the reasonable side of cardio output when I hit Old County Road so that the ride up that hill wouldn’t be too slow.  I was clearly in the “red zone” part-way up the climb, but with Mike C 20 yards ahead of me I worked to maintain or close the gap.  That extra motivation helped.  I finally caught him just before we hit the trail again, and drafted for a short while to recover.

The trail was a mess.  We had large thunderstorms last night.  Tree debris littered the path and the bamboo along the trail was still weighed down by the water on the leaves.  In many places the bamboo created a ceiling of 5 feet above the trail surface.  I was slapped half a dozen times, and my helmet caught some of the leaves so that I looked like I was preparing for jungle combat.  I can tell you that getting hit in the face by bamboo at 20 mph stings, but it didn’t leave a mark.  Still I pressed on, keeping the pace up and legs spinning.  By the time I reached the end of the trail I had an average speed of 19 mph on the morning.

After a quick turn around, I continued to press on, certain I could coast in above 17 mph average but now I had a new goal.  I wanted my second 18.5+ mph average on the week.  By the time we hit Glen Oban again, I was down to 18.9.  I kept the pedals turning hard on B&A Blvd and by the time I got to Dawson’s, I had 19.3 on the Garmin.  Usually after this point in the ride we slow it down some, but not this morning.  I kept the pace up through White’s Road, through Jennings Road, and more as I turned for home.  Sweat was pouring off of me in nearly a steady stream.  I had ridden in that “red zone” for many stretches of the ride (for me that’s a heart rate above 160 where I’m in anaerobic exercise).  I felt good, and strong, and very, very wet.

At the end, after stopping the timer and gently riding to cool down some I noted that I had achieved an 18.9 mph average on the morning!  Mission Accomplished.  It was now done except crunching the numbers and comparing this ride to others.

  • Monday – 21.7 miles @ 17.7 mph
  • Tuesday – 32.5 miles @ 18.7 mph
  • Wednesday – 16.5 miles @ 17.2 mph
  • Thursday – 21.7 miles @ 18.9 mph

That means for the 4 days I averaged 18.2 mph!  The bar has been raised.  I’m still not as fast as most of the other guys, but my speed is improving, and that was a goal for this year.

I’m looking forward to a more leisurely pace for tomorrow’s breakfast ride into Annapolis.

This Ride: 21.7 miles
Month: 233.7 miles
2012: 3,189.4 miles
Total since 1/1/2010: 17,043 miles

 

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