Saturday, April 24, 2010

It is best not to watch weather reports.../Vicksburg

So I am sitting in my pajamas waiting out a stupid tornado warning. It has rained lightly on and off and is very windy. The weather forecasters have been making it out to be just a horrible, we are all going to be blown away kind of day. Even on the national news they talked about how rare the system is that is blowing through today. Well, here at my house, it doesn't look like it is doing anything. The only good thing about it is that I got to sleep in and spend some quality time with David.

Yesterday I went to Vicksburg with Doug and did 4 loops of the Military Park. Not sure how good this is or if it is actually a little depressing, but I did 4 laps in the military park today before the rain/lightening/threat of tornadoes drove us home. Easily could have done 1 and probably 2 more laps. I did 3 laps in July of last year. My best lap in July was at an average of 11.9 mph. My best lap today was at 13.1 mph. With the 4 laps I did today, I had just over 60 miles and 5600 ft of climbing. Each loop is just under 16 miles and has 1400 ft of climbing. My average HR on my best lap today was 139 where as my HR on my best loop in July was 155. I am disappointed as we were hoping to do at least 5 laps but decided to quit when it started raining/lightening/tornadoing so I did not have a bust it open lap. The second lap, my best, I got stuck behind a bus and Doug didn't so I spent the loop trying to catch up with him.

But, even though it is just a 1 mph improvement, I feel good - especially since I did 6500 ft of climbing on Sunday. I really wish I had a power meter because, I really think I was riding with more power on each lap. Maybe that isn't true, as I know I slowed down on the 3rd and 4th laps, but I think it was more because I was planning on riding 5 or 6 loops or until the tornadoes came, so I was some what just riding to ride and not pushing it.

Cheaha Challenge!!!

So, after a really crappy week the weekend turned out being a lot of fun. David could not leave for B'ham until Saturday morning and Brooke had a test she was still getting ready for Friday night, so we did not leave until Saturday at 6 am.

I wasn't able to start my ride until 12:00. I found a park in Birmingham that ended up being a 17 mile loop with 1053 ft climbing on each loop. I only had time to do 2 loops. It had several short 4-7% climbs. Nothing hard, but a good safe loop until I can find some people to ride with in B'ham.

Sunday was spectacular! Part of me is disappointed in the fact that I was too slow to complete the whole course. They closed the last 12 miles at noon and I got there at 12:06. It was probably good as it would have taken at least 1.5 hours to do the 12 miles and we did not get home until midnight as it was. My speed is a huge issue on climbs. Over 88 miles I averaged 11.8 mph my total time was 8 hours. BUT there was 6500+ ft of climbing over the 88 miles. For the first 44 miles there was 4000 ft of climbing! This is 2500 ft more than any day in Arizona. Many and I mean MANY of the climbs were 1-2 miles at 10-14%. This is what my bike computer said. The roadies insisted that it was much higher than 14% in spots.

So, I really am stoked overall! I climbed 12-14% grades on a recumbent! Okay, I did have to walk on several occasions. It was just too steep. But I did climb 12-14% grades - not the entire climb, but a significant portion of it. I am going to see if I can download the info to see just how much I was able to climb at those grades. Additionally I am still having FD issues and it caused me to have to walk when it shifted on its own at a 12% grade. There were a ton of 9-10% grades and I did not walk them unless they were at the top of a 12%+ grade I was already walking. I could not re-mount the bike at 9% but could at 7%.

Once again, I got a lot of funny looks and wise cracks about riding a recumbent. I just answered that I wanted a challenge and this ride was the best I could come up with! By the end of the ride, I had impressed several roadies, especially when I would pass them on a climb. There were some significant rollers that I would try and bomb and would be able to scream past some of them. A couple times I was able to out climb a roadie pedal stroke for pedal stroke! BTW, I did reach 50 mph on one hill and tried not to feather my breaks too much. On the 3 mile downhill with the 14% grade, I was pretty nervous and feathered the breaks often.

The funniest thing was on the hardest climb. You were climbing at 9-10% and could not see the top as the road curved. Once you made the curve all you could see was road straight up. Lining this road was at least a dozen uprights walking. Funniest sight I had ever seen! Of course, I could not make it up either, but it sure was a sight to see all the uprights. I am guessing that stretch was 12-14% or more. It was very difficult to push the bike up the hill.

Anyway, my climbing yesterday was more than all but 4 days of the PAC Tour. The first has 5690 ft (Stevens Pass), the 10th and 11th day have 6,200 and 7,300 ft (big horns), the 26, 27, 28 have 6,600, 9500, 9000 respectively (Appalachians). Now, just to work on the speed in which I climb and being able to make it up the 12% without walking.

I do want to mention that I was walking 6% grades on the Natchez Trace trip this past October. 6% are easy, slow, but easy.

So, I will really want to go over there again and do hill repeats. If I can get better/faster at the 12% then PAC tour should be a slam dunk! Okay, realistically, it will still be really hard, but I can do it!

Ridgeland Century Ride and New Century PR

Copied email to my coach:

"OMG!!! Have no idea what my best century time was but it wasn't 6:22!! Ride time was 5:59! LOL!!! 23 min off bike!!! 16.75 ave! Ave cad 81 max 108! Ave HR 150 Max 180!! Spent 13 min 48 sec above 165!

WHOO HOO!! I drafted probably 50-60 miles and rode alone 40-50. Tried to stay in a paceline, but I only wanted to stop at the 25 mile rest stop, 50 mile and 75 mile rest stops. So I would lose my pace line at times. Worked really hard and my legs got more tired than normal after 75 miles. I am very pleased though!"

It was a really good ride and I was very pleased. I rode with a couple ladies from Oxford - Carol Livingston is an avid rider and I hope to meet up with her again. I had seen Carols picture on bike journal and recognized her since she was wearing an Oxford jersey.

Interestingly, I was more tired for several days after this ride. I would compare it to the fatigue I suffer on a longer over night ride like a night time 200 or a 400.

I hope to see faster century times in the future!

March 27 - Ride South Signiture Ride

Well, I haven't blogged in a while - it is hard to find time to sit down and put my thoughts on paper. I typically email my coach pretty quickly after a ride and should just edit the email and post it.

So, what have been doing since my last post?

March 27th Ride South Signature Ride - My bike came in on Friday in time for it to be put back together for the Recumbent Rally. We had some 40ish recumbents show for one launching or another of this ride. I knew I could not start with the guys doing the 115 mile route as I would be red lining all day long. I decided to do the 80 mile ride (a 40 mile out and back on the rail trail), convincing myself that I could keep my HR below 130. I made arrangements to ride with Beth, a Corsa rider that really has a competitive spirit. So, I failed miserably keeping my HR below 130 :( There were 3 of us doing the 80 mile start that dropped the others in the matter of 1 mile. The two in front of me were in my sight for the first 3 rolling hill miles and I just could not stop myself from catching up with them. I know my HR was too high, but I felt really good. My legs were a little tired to start, but I was glad to be back on the bike. One of the guys and I ended up being very well matched and we rode the whole 40 miles together talking and only drafting off each other when others were coming towards us and we needed to drop to single file. We averaged 16 mph while I was trying to keep my HR below 150. Although my HR seemed high, my PE was lower.

At the turn around the entire group met for lunch and I met up with Beth. She has potential and a lot of fire to keep up and not be dropped. She reminds me of myself several years back, well maybe even just a year back! She wanted to start before the mass start after lunch as she did not want to be the last one in. Since this was the one place everyone would gather, they wanted everyone to stay for pictures and start together. Of course, all of the fast guys had made it, including one of the owners of the company that makes my bike, John Schlitter (first to finish solo RAAM on a bent). So, I went out with the fast guys for 3 or 4 miles at 20+ (26 at a point)mph red lining most of the time! Boy it was fun! I knew I could not keep it up so I turned around and met Beth and her husband Johnny and rode in with her. I had a great time. I did get my HR lower for most of the ride, we had a headwind (if you could call it that) that made us work harder (ha).

John Schlitter, Greg Hammer, and me in Prentiss

Beth and I somewhere on the Longleaf Trace