Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Training - Outside Ride, Sprints

I started my Wednesday with a trip to the Missus's, helping move some stuff in her office. Then came the great part - going to the team's bike shop Manchester Cycle to pick up my 2012 kit. I'd ordered three jerseys and three bib shorts. As I already have a 2012 wind vest, jacket, arm warmers, and shoe covers, I'm pretty set for the year.

No long sleeve jersey, you point out, accurately.

Well, since the sleeves are black, any black sleeve baselayer works. I have three, well, two really, with one baselayer so faded that it's more gray than black. I forgive it though - it's been my favorite baselayer since I bought it back in the early 90s.

While I was there I bought some new winter gloves, thinking that this would prompt me to magically find the other half of my favorite winter glove. Alas, this wasn't the case, but the gloves may be good anyway. They have some rubber grippers strategically placed all over the gripping surfaces, making me hope that in the wet they'll let me grip the bars.

Not that I'm planning on any cold, wet rides, but you never know.

I also bought a new floor pump, a $29.99 Bontrager Charger pump. I lent out my backup pump to my sister in law, not realizing that my primary pump had gone AWOL. I decided that it'd be okay to buy another pump, one from this decade. As a bonus it has a base that won't gouge everything softer than tungsten.

I headed back, first stopping to get my scanner back from photographer Corey. She'd borrowed the scanner a while back. She returned it just as I lent it to her, and as a bonus she offered to sign a pin-up calender photographed by her and, for at least one month, starring her. It's nice, I recommend it.

And yes, the Missus saw it.

All this led to the planned "ride du jour", the second outdoor ride in a while, and the first where I specifically planned on doing a sprint or three. I prepped my bike, dragging it off the trainer in the basement, through the narrow bike room door, down the hall, up the stairs, 180 in the hallway, down the next hallway, left into the living room area.

(You can see why maybe I ride indoors when the bike's already on the trainer.)

I got my new pump, clipped off the tag, and pumped up the tires. I should point out that I'm very particular about my floor pumps. This one worked great.

What's great? No drama.

That's the way, uh huh uh huh I like it uh huh uh huh.

I kitted up with my team jacket, a windproof set of bib tights, two long sleeve jerseys (one thin baselayer, one thick jersey), wool socks, booties, the new winter gloves, a neck warmer, and a skull cap. I managed to squeeze my helmet on, and set off.

Oh, and before that I got all my electronics in order. I must resemble a guided missile cruiser, emitting electronic traffic like crazy.

First Strava. I remembered to turn it on, and I let it search for a GPS signal while I got everything else ready. For some reason it takes the DroidX a few tries to find a usable set of signals.

Next I made sure my heart rate strap was working. I decided to use the SRM heart rate - this would record things for posterity sake. And so I could see peaks and such. I got the SRM head unit, plugged the harness into it, waking it up, and voila, I was alive.

Finally I got the Sportsiiiis on, the heads up LED light system. I set brightness at 200 (for outdoors, even though it was clouding up), volume 7 (max), voice every 5 minutes (so it doesn't interrupt me too much), and LED blinking at 1 second intervals (still haven't figured out what that means).

I already paired it with the wheel/cadence sensor, but I'd done it without the computer. I could set the wheel circumference on the computer - it was off by a bit. I uploaded the new settings, removed it from the cable, powered it on, and, bingo, it found my bike (2 rooms away), and the LED started blinking.

New floor pump, new gloves, scanner, helmet cam.
The Sportsiiiis is that little black thing by the gloves, the LED bit looks like the end of a zip tie.

When I retrieved my phone (by the front window), Strava was happy with the GPS signal. I hit start, put it in my pocket, grabbed my bike, and headed out.

Jeepers. All that and I still hadn't pedaled the bike yet.

I climbed up out of our complex, a minute climb that makes me work hard. I noticed that the bar/stem combo seems a lot more rigid. It might be the long time off the bike (every ride outside feels great) or the bar/stem is more rigid. I'll have to see.

One of my goals was to check the drops, make sure that the higher position lets me sprint normally. The hill wasn't the place to check, but for now I filed away the thought, "this seems more rigid. Is it me or is it really more rigid?"

I set off down a short, shallow descent (I hate these - I go about 28 mph if I coast so I feel like nothing's happening), then the hard left

In the turn I realized, wow, the bars are high (meaning the drops). I reached the turn out point.

I jumped.

I realized I felt pretty constricted with all the clothing I had on. My extra weight didn't help, but, man, it felt like I could barely move. I wasn't sure if maybe I'd have to raise the bars. After some depressing thoughts like that I realized, right, I'm wearing three long sleeve things, all fitted to me like I was wearing just one.

I did notice the drops were higher. I mean, yeah, I knew that because I measured it, but they felt really high. Cornering went okay but I felt like I was way too high up, way too far back. I felt like I had no weight on the front wheel. Yet another thing I need to think about.

My plan was to do my Quarry Road loop, about an hour of riding, then do a short triangular one right near my house. The short loop has a nice sprint spot in it, now memorialized in Strava as the Terry's Plain Sprint.

Last summer, seeing if I still had it, I ripped out a few 38-39 mph sprints. These are pitiful, to be honest, but at least I felt like I was flying.

I warmed up to the sprinting idea by chasing a schoolbus that passed slowly by me. I jumped hard, immediately realizing I was way over-geared, managed to get up to some kind of speed (later I realized it was all of 33 mph), and then blew up spectacularly after about 15 or 20 seconds of "all out" pedaling.


It just got worse when I hit my sprint loop. I jumped hard, the bars a bit high but definitely doable, getting into a good rhythm, not shifting up and overgearing, instead staying in a nice gear, good effort.

Ms Sportsiiiis cheerfully told me in her Australian accent that I'd just hit 31 mph.

Yeah? Well thanks for nothin'.

The jump really chilled me. The speed, as slow as it was, forced air through every gap in my sieve-like winter gear - down my neck, around my wrists, even just below the jacket waistband. Every bit of sweat I had got chilled hard.

Almost shivering I slowed. I soft pedaled until I made it to the next intersection, went right, and thought about the next right, the one that would put me back on the sprint loop.

I looked as the road approached.

Right? Or left?

Sprint? Or home?

The road arrived.

I went left.



Joe Brockside said...

Hi Aki,

Question for you... Haven't ridden in 6 months, as my wife just had a baby. Got out for the first time today and thought I'd try and have a go at a little sprint. I went all out and hit 1,231 Watts and immediately after, felt like throwing up.
I pedaled on at around 13mph for another 15 minutes before I really had to get off and, on hands and knees, I chundered every last bit of water out of my otherwise empty stomach.
I couldn't help thinking... You don't see Cav do this!

This ever happen to you? Know why it happens?

Aki said...

I have no idea. I'm really averse to getting sick. Although I've come close on the bike, that was 20 years ago or something. I have a feeling that if your body thinks it's in mortal danger ("fight or flight"), digesting last night's steak dinner suddenly becomes real low on the priority list. Ditching said dinner would probably assist in running away from the bear or whatever. That's just an amateur's guess.

But logically, if you subject your body to some incredible effort unprepared, there will be some over-stress type results, whether a pulled muscle, a cramp, or getting sick.

I should point out that I've been doing some base miles (hours to be precise) work. I went out and did sprints but I already have whatever hours so it's not like I went out and rode cold.

And you ride about 30-40% faster than me after I do a sprint - I go about 8-10 mph :)