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, February 07, 2008

The strategy matures

Well, it was time to do the mountain again. The over and back ride of Paris Mountain works out well as I race the sun. The distance and the time it takes to complete the ride makes it just right for a quick ride after work.

In my last post I talked about my plans to break the 12 minute mark for the climb up the Furman side of Altamont Road. Tonight I decided to tweak my approach to some of the sections to see what would happen.

As I started up the CVS side of the mountain, I could see two riders up ahead. I pushed a little on the initial climb to try to catch them. I did just as we crested the Audobon wall.

Turns out it was my friend Chris and a friend of his named Steve. We rode together until we reached the last climb before the KOM. I was feeling good, so I picked it up a bit and crossed the top alone.

As I was zipping down the road I passed two guys going the opposite direction. They were on matching yellow bikes. I thought I recognized the bikes but didn't get a good look at the riders. My guess was that it was my nephew Chip and his friend Anthony.

I wondered if maybe I could reach the bottom, get turned around, and catch them before they reached the top. Once I continued on my way, I realized that might not be possible. Regardless, I didn't rest any at the base, but just turned around and hit it at speed.

My plan was to do the first section a bit faster than last week. I accomplished that with a time of 2:46 (last ride's time - 3:08). I was sitting on a 22 second gain.

In the next section, the water tower climb, I planned to ease off and recover. No use wearing myself out in a section where I traditionally wear down. I finished the section with a time of 1:25 (last ride's time - 1:15). My time gained was now 12 seconds.

I knew that the next section could be a good one, so I just tried to find a rhythm that would allow me to maintain some good speed. Wow, did I ever. I averaged over 11 mph for the section finishing with a time of 2:11 (last ride's time - 2:31). My time gained now jumped to 32 seconds.

I finished the first half in 6:22 (last ride's time - 6:54).

Hey, things were looking good. I knew that the next section didn't break up very well. The terrain was just a continual climb. I again tried to find a sustainable rhythm, but started to lose it 2:41 in.

I tried to recover as much as possible without giving away too much. I reached the 15 mph sign 2:49 later. My total for that section was 5:30 (last ride's time - 5:27). Not as bad as I thought it would be. I was still holding a 29 second gain.

Now it was time for the wall. After passing the sign marker, I continued at about the same speed and finally increased my cadence after turning the curve. Then I realized I was standing for the first time during the entire climb. I stood and shifted two gears harder. It was time to try to gain some time.

I didn't look at my computer, I just kept pushing. I knew my heart rate was going to come close to my max by the time I reached the KOM. It was time to put up. Whew, I was done! Problem is, I had no idea how fast I had climbed. Because I was breaking the climb into laps, I didn't have a full time.

Chip and Anthony were at the top. They asked me how I thought I did. I figured I must have hit right at 14 minutes or just slightly below. I couldn't wait to get home to find out!

I followed the guys down the mountain to the CVS where they had parked. I then continued on home. The sunset at that moment was beautiful! It was almost 6:15 at that point. There was still plenty of light in the atmosphere. I made it home with no problems.

Now I'm looking at the time for the wall and see I did the final sprint in 1:39. My heart rate hit 189 (not quite my max) just as I reached the KOM. Last ride I did that section in 1:46. I picked up 7 seconds. Let's see... that was a total time gain for the ride of 36 seconds.

I finished the climb in 13:31. The second half totaled 7:09 (last ride's time - 7:14). Not bad... a little under a minute off of my best time. It is working very well to take this one section at a time. So, from here I have 91 seconds to shave off to get down to 12 minutes.

There is no doubt I can get 20 seconds of that time off the first half of the ride. If I can knock off 22 seconds, it would put me going through the halfway point in 6 minutes even. It is that second half that is going to be the challenge.

I still think I can knock some more seconds off of the wall (I would like to do it in under 1:30), but I believe the key is going to be the long slog between the midway point and the 15 mph sign marker. Could I possibly gain 60 seconds in that section?

Wow, this post got long. Sorry about that. This is just the kind of thing that really interests me. I'm sure I will have some off days, but I would like to see a little improvement each time I go out.



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