Monday, July 16, 2012

Slow/Fast Riding

This past weekend I went on a two day club ride with the San Franscisco Randonneurs. It was essentially an out and back 2x200K from the Golden Gate Bridge to Cloverdale, with a 300K option on day one for the hard cases.

On day one I rode my own pace, stopped a bit more than usual and was never in an organized paceline. The temperatures ranged from the usual 12-14C at the coast in the morning to 28-30C in the afternoon (actually cool for the time of year). On bike time was 9:30 with a total ride time of 11:30. At the end of the day I felt fine and not really fatigued at all.

On day two, the whole club rode as a peloton for the first two hours, averaging 18mph. I then rode in a small paceline of four riders for the next three hours. The average speed dropped as the rollers picked up and some fatigue set in, but we still were averaging above 15mph after five hours. I eventually rode away from the group on the coastal rollers, some of which are 12%, and rode the final four hours alone. On bike time was 8:07 hours with a total ride time of 9:03. I did the century in 6:55 mostly thanks to the fast start. However, at the end I was really quite fatigued and at times on the bike it was a struggle, especially the last three hours as I had spent most of my remaining chips in the first hour of solo riding. It's possible that I would have gone faster overall if I had been in a paceline group for the whole ride, owing to the forcing effect of a paceline.

However, this morning it would be hard to get on the bike for another long ride and that is one of the the lessons of this story. Riding 10% faster takes more than 10% out of your body. So if you are riding a tour or a long brevet, you had better manage your pace for the long haul. On the other hand pacelines can definitely get you there faster but you have to be careful about being pulled into going beyond you comfort zone, which is all too easy.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Climbing Month

My next scheduled ride was the Eastern Sierra Double Century on June 2nd but this was cancelled due to road works (there aren't a lot of reroute options in that area). So I decided to do the Sequoia Century which is put on by my local club, the Western Wheelers. I chose the 200K option which had about 10000' of climbing and a few steep pitches, none more so than Redwood Gulch where, if you aren't careful, you can easily lose traction on the front wheel. The ride went pretty well and I met a bunch of people I knew on the way. The only bad thing was queues at the rest stops. It's been a while since I went on an organized ride with that many participants and I confess I have got used to fast in and out given the small number of riders that participate in the California Triple Crown rides.

The body seemed to handle the climbing pretty well and there is no question that climbing is an excellent way to get into good riding shape. On the flat you can always coast and you have to force yourself to work hard. I find that much easier on the trainer with the Spinervals coach in my ear! But when you climb you just have to work hard otherwise you'll never get up the hill, especially the ones around here. So I decided to dedicated the month to climbing rides. In the end I did seven, including one set of three days in a row, when I had originally been signed up for the SFR 1000K. I decided that was too many miles per day but figured I'd ride a century each day instead. I finished with a really hard climbing ride; most of my Peninsula Death Ride, with 111 miles and 13000'.

Overall, about 750 miles for the month of June and about 70000' of climbing. Now a week off to let my body absorb and process the hard work before the SFR 200/200 Cloverdale weekend on July 14/15th.