Rush Limbaugh has his . . . well, here is mine. This is my record of news stories and issues that interest me. You can also find more headlines at the site where I serve as editor: The Common Voice.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

It's good to be home!

We got back to Greenville and today I had a chance to get out on my bike. I had been riding down in the swampy areas of North Carolina for the last several days. It was flat, flat, and more flat. A grin came to my face as I started up a hill near my house.

It was good to be home.

I didn't even know where I was going to go. I just wanted to ride. So, I pointed the bike through some neighborhood streets until I came to Cleveland Park. No full lap there as I turned up McDaniel to ride up to Augusta. I hadn't made up my mind, but I could feel the pull of Paris Mountain.

Augusta led me to Main Street and Main Street brought me to Broad. A simple left decided it for me as I made the decision to go over the mountain. As I rode along, I had to decide on something else. Was I going to try my "11 mph average" attempt this time?

I wasn't so sure. I had not eaten much at all. Just a couple of eggs and a cinnamon roll for breakfast and then some snack foods and a Power Bar for lunch. The HammerGel I stuck in my jersey was all I had other than water.

Nearing Altamont, I was feeling pretty good. My Garmin showed I had ridden about 18 miles to get to this point. My heart rate was in the high 140s. Hey, nothing ventured, nothing gained... so I pressed the lap button at the bottom of the road and tried to average 11 mph up.

Right away I noticed it was going to be a problem. Constantly looking down to see my speed was causing me to lose my rhythm. I would fluctuate between 9 mph and 12 mph over short distances. Finally, I just decided to check less frequently and try to go by feel.

My guess is that I was doing pretty good up until the last third of the climb. At that point I lost my momentum. Before that point if I felt myself slowing, I could turn it up a bit and get back going. However, just before the "Go Mansell" (I think that is what it says) I hit a wall. I had to completely regroup and try to recover some for the final climb.

By the time reached the speed sign before The Wall, I was at least rolling again with a constant cadence. Then when I turned the curve onto the final straight-a-way, I shifted to gears harder and stood up. Regardless how I felt, I was going to ride them up to the top.

I averaged about 8 mph up the wall and put on a burst right before the KOM line. Looking down I saw 13' 01" on my computer. Alright! It definitely worked better to go "slow and steady." The last time I tried to go all out up front and then survive, I finished in 13' 25".

Really, that last third is what killed me. It isn't that it is a hard section. It is just that I find I'm needed to recover about that time. I did notice that my heart rate stayed below 185 bpm for the entire climb. I seem to be able to motor right along at 180 bpm. Once I start consistently hitting 182+ I find I need to recover a bit.

Lots of room for improvement... That's what makes it a challenge!



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