Jacque Anquetil's 1962 Tour de France Winning Bike

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Oral History

I posted diligently for two days, then not so much...

First, a brief narrative.  This week (today is Saturday), I had a cold, so did only minimums -- half an hour on the trainer at the gym with next to no effort.  Before then, I spent Presidents' Day weekend in Palm Springs, where I had several good rides.  And before then, I had several good rides in the gym, followed by an awful ride outdoors.  On to the details.

Today (ride 250) was my first almost-over-my-cold ride, so I did something like 50 minutes outside.  The morning was cold, but it was considerably warmer by 3:00 p.m., when I went out.  Not warmer enough and I found myself underdressed, wistfully missing my knee warmers.  At the last minute before heading out, I grabbed arm warmers and put them on within two minutes of the ride's start.  A wool jersey and a wool base layer were sufficient for the upper body.

Remembering that I wasn't completely well, I planned to ride conservatively.  And I rode fairly conservatively at the start, not chasing a rider I saw in the distance.  Unfortunately, things changed after a fit cyclist passed me on the way up Tunnel.  There was another rider ahead, so I started riding tempo -- a pace a call fairly strenuous, but one I can maintain for extended periods and one that does not affect my breathing.  By the top I'd passed them both, though, to be honest, the one who had passed me was riding as if he'd lost interest.  I did a short cruise on the ridge, then turned around and headed home.  For some reason, today I descended well.  Perhaps it's shortage of recent practice.

Yesterday, I did half an hour on the trainer at the gym at 50 watts, while reading Ivan Doig's Sea Runners, a novel about four Swedish men in Russian indentured service, escaping from servitude in what is now Sitka, AK in a canoe in late November 1850-something and heading to Astoria, OR.  A gripping tale.  Half an hour flew by in mere 30 minutes and I don't know how many pages.

Wednesday and Thursday were the same: riding easily at the gym, though I did 50 minutes on Thursday and an hour on Wednesday.

Tuesday was my last ride in Palm Springs.  I rode to and up Tram Way.  This one took about 90 minutes.  The road back was great fun -- about 20 minutes at 0.5% downhill.  Though I knew I was getting sick, I could not resist hammering, so I hammered and enjoyed it thoroughly.

Monday and Saturday, I did fairly quick flat loops.  it's a nice luxury to be able to choose climbing or flat riding.  In Palm Springs, you can ride on flat roads all day, or you can head southwest into San Jacinto Mountains for a 14-mile climb on Highway 74, known also as Palms to Pines Highway.  On Sunday, I did the latter.  The climb starts deceptively with four completely straight miles.  Though the road climbs at 4-5%, the entire landscape climbs with you, so it doesn't look as if you're climbing.  It feels as if you're climbing and the legs tell you you are, but the brain doesn't believe it and it's hard to understand why it feels hard.  After four miles of that the road starts behaving like a proper climb, switching back and fort and zig-zagging.  I did another four miles there, then turned around.  Even the twisty parts of the descent require no braking, so you can pedal and coast at your leisure and not worry about the next turn.

Friday's ride was fun in more ways than one.  Since we were driving to Palm Springs that day, I made do with a 30-minute trainer ride at home.  I multi-tasked by playing Wii with Sophie, while on the bike.

Thursday was ugly.  I'd ridden hard in class on Wednesday, so I knew that I needed a day off.  I also knew that with the Palm Springs trip I wouldn't see my riding friends for two weeks, so I joined them for a 5:00 a.m. ride.  A 5:00 a.m. recovery ride on a cold February morning is a bad idea.  Expending sufficiently little effort to do justice to a recovery ride leaves one very, very cold no matter how much one is wearing.  I was wearing enough for a normal ride, but this was a sub-normal ride and I was cold.  I was cold even while climbing.  I was cold and it was dark and windy as hell.  I've never heard the wind howl in electrical wires as it did that day.  It was louder than normal conversation.  Cold and unhappy, I cut the ride short, got home at 6:30 and got in bed.  It took over an hour to warm up.

I don't remember much about the Wednesday class except that it ended with a cadence build, culminating in an all-out effort, which I topped out at 44.8 mph, which I held for all of five seconds, but still...  This was 18.5 mph faster than my base speed.  Naturally, I was curious how fast I was pedaling.  My base is 26-26.5 mph at 96 rpm.  I asked Kate to help me calculate my cadence.  She said that the rule of thumb is every mile an hour above base is 5.5 to 6.5 rpm.  Averaging that to 6 and multiplying the 6 by 18.5 mph, I arrived at 111 above my base of 96 rpm, or 207 rpm.  To me, this was mind-bogglingly fast.  I didn't think I could pedal over 165, but I went 25% faster.  This information alone, made it a great class, even after Kate told me that Computrainer roller assists the pedaling and I realized that I didn't have to deal with rolling resistance on the front wheel or aerodynamics of riding at over 40 mph.  My legs were turning at over 200 rpm, damn it!

I'd also ridden hard in class on Monday, so Tuesday was a recovery ride at home on the trainer.

Phew, I am caught up again.  I think it's easier to be consistent and post regularly than play catch-up.


No comments:

Post a Comment