Slowing down - just a little
Wednesday several of the normal Saturday morning riders went out to take on the Hour of Power ride. We killed it - finishing nearly 20 minutes faster than normal. Today those riders - and about eight others - went out to do it again. Today was slower - but not by much.
Again we started off with Art pushing the pace early. The temperatures were cooler than Wednesday. MotionBased tells me we rolled out at 46 degrees. It sure felt colder than that. We came back with the temperature only rising to 48 degrees. The main problem though was the wind. We averaged 13 mph wind speed with some winds reaching 16 mph. Why is it it always seems that the wind is a headwind?
The group strung out a little bit while Art sat off the front by himself for much of the early warm up. Then it was time to prepare for the first sprint. Louis and Bob went ahead. I argued with myself about going after them. They had a pretty good jump on me as they started up Tanner Road. When I saw them slowing slightly, I decided to see if I could take it.
I did, but it wasn't too smart. I pushed my heart rate up to 188 bpm. It was way early to be pulling those kinds of stunts! My legs didn't appreciate it and I spent a good amount of the ride from that point trying to get back in shape. My HR climbed to 186 bpm as I was coming up Meece Bridge Road to Darby Road and I wasn't even contesting the sprint!
That section started out with pretty much the same line up as Wednesday. Tony led. Billy took over and I moved up from there. Only difference was Art and Bob had taken off ahead of us. Then Owen came around us on the left and went after them. Mike, Tony, and I just watched it unfold as Art broke away toward the end to take the prize.
From there I was hurting. I knew the next big deal was the quarry road. I didn't know what shape I would be in by that point. However, as we neared the climb, I was feeling much better. Perhaps I could do something here...
Art and Mike started up together. I was right behind Mike. Then I heard Art say, "Ok, Louis, where are you?" Louis typically goes off at the beginning and bonks at the top. I heard Louis' laugh come from behind us, "What? What are you talking about?"
We continued on to the mid-point and Louis came between us. He was making his move a little later this time. I just decided to bide my time on Mike's wheel and see if Louis would bonk. Art countered though which made Mike pick up his pace. I followed.
Was that Art and Louis slowing up ahead? I thought so and picked up my pace a bit. However, it wasn't so. I backed off again to watch Louis take Art on the sprint. The good news for me was I got my heart rate back under control. I had barely topped 185 bpm on the climb.
I got in the pace line and started trying to find a rhythm with my breathing. I figured I needed to get some oxygen in there. I had my heart down to the 140s as we started the sprint on Sandy Flat. I got on Billy's wheel and followed him down to the base of the road. When he moved over just before the climb, I figured he was either wanting me to lead out and then get me or he just didn't feel he had the legs.
At that point, I put my eyes on the top of the hill and cranked it. I didn't look back until I reached the top. There was no one on my wheel. I had taken my second Sandy Flat sprint! Best of all, though I was winded, I didn't feel as burned out as earlier even after quite a bit of exertion.
The group kind of mellowed at this point and there wasn't a lot of action until we neared the State Park sprint. I had recovered significantly since before the push started. As we sat in the pace line setting up for the rush I told Billy that if he would get on my wheel, I would lead him out for the sprint. I remembered how I had jumped him on Wednesday when I should have let him go. I figured I would make amends.
It was kind of fun knowing I could just give it all I had and pull off to let the other guys duke it out. I just hoped I could led him to the right point. Louis and Bob were ahead of us as we started down the hill to where it would kick up again and the sprint would start in earnest.
Just before we reached the base, I pulled out of line and pushed to reach even with the Louis. After we bottomed out and started up the hill I broke off to the left wide to let Billy take it. I had hoped to take him further, but I was wasted and knew I would only slow him down. I shouldn't have worried, Bob hung on his wheel for just a few seconds and then Billy did what Billy does and took the sprint.
We were all groaning as we neared Oak Leaf, but Art made us do it anyway. For me it was just survival. However, I have to say that though it is still hard, I don't dread it nearly as much as I used to. I've started surprising myself on that climb.
Then it was time for Nature Trail. I knew I had to win this one because I wasn't able to claim Wednesday's. Mike and I went in with a head of steam. When Mike down shifted, I stayed in my big ring. That seemed to be what helped me Wednesday. Maybe it would work again.
I stood and just kept my rhythm. Swoosh... Swoosh... Mike was sitting beside me and was spinning at a higher cadence. Swish.. Swish.. Swish.. As we started up the final climb Mike's breathing started to speed up. I stayed right beside him.
Then he made a move. I countered by pushing down in my big ring. I didn't even need to shift to get the speed, I just increased my cadence. I heard his chain slip and then I heard "Awwww!!" I knew I had him at that point so I just pushed it on up to the top. We had averaged over 10 mph on the climb hitting up near 15 mph on the final push.
Then it was on back to the shop. Several of us guys stayed for over an hour talking around the coffee pot. That was nearly as fun as the ride... but not quite.