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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Putting the fun back into riding

Tonight about 15 of us headed on a ride that would ultimately take us over Paris Mountain. Our Thursday night ride always seems to draw us like flies to the lantern that is Altamont Road. It was a good, fast group. It was going to be fun.

The story is very much the same as every other time we do this ride. Everyone just kind of "hangs out" until we get to the base of Altamont on the Furman side. We get there about 10 miles into the ride. Maybe later in the year we'll start adding to the beginning portion of the ride by going around Furman.

We started off the climb with Boyd Johnson and Bob leading us out. Boyd I knew could cruise up. Bob was kind of surprising me. I knew he was riding better than I had ever seen him ride, but to keep up with Mr. Johnson would be impressive.

The funny thing that happened to me is that I was working to maintain a reasonable 10 mph average up to the water tower. Once past it and into the first left turn I accelerated to pick up some time. I looked down at my Garmin and saw 158.

"Wow!" I thought to myself, "I'm doing pretty well to have my heart rate at 158 bpm at this point in the climb. This is going to be good!" Not long after that, I looked down again and realized I had been looking at my average speed and not my heart rate! The new arrangement of the data panel had thrown me off. I located the heart rate data cell and saw 186 bpm!

Oh well, might as well give it a try. Maybe I could concentrate and recover a bit and still salvage to decent time. I started spinning and laid back some. I reached the halfway point in about 6 minutes and 10 seconds. My average speed was above 11 mph.

I kept climbing along keeping an eye on Boyd and Bob. Not long after this, Art came by me and I had a third rider to keep an eye on. Then I started slowing once I reached the dreaded blue power box. Bob and I had started see-sawing back and forth around this time and then he went back in front.

The three guys stayed in front of me until we reached The Wall. At first I gained just a little on Art and Boyd (though I am certain the DLP rider was just taking it easy) and then the gap firmed. Bob and I rode along side-by-side for a bit and then I pulled away.

Turns out Art finished just behind Boyd with a time of 12 minutes 50 seconds. I crossed the KOM line in 12 minutes 59 seconds. When we started talking about the climb, Art said he had already climbed the road twice today!

Down the other side the group split up. Some went on down and finished the ride with a straight shot off the mountain. Art, Mike, Bob, Doug, and I turned off onto some of the spurs that go off from and return to the main road. We ended up doing around 3000 feet of climbing.

It was fun. No pressure. Just getting on the bike and having fun with the guys. It was fun talking a bit about the Garmin 705. I handed the second one over to Matt and he is going to do some testing of the networking capabilities of the device.

I also learned that Boyd was going to be getting one as well as the CinQo power meter. I'll be interested to see how it turns out for him. He'll be keeping track of his training rides using the device. You can check it out at his team's Web site (Boyd's Data / DLP Racing)

Me? I've just got to recover before Saturday.



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