Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sprinting - Finally!

I've been jonesing to ride in some of these perfect days we've had - mid 70's, sunny, dry, simply perfect weather. Or, as I like to point out, simply "average" weather in San Diego.

The whole year.

Yeah whatever. I like seasons. And wearing booties. And riding the trainer. I do. I really do. I mean, who'd want to skip things like raking leaves. And shoveling really deep snow? It's times like this that those things seem so far away.

Anyway, last week I couldn't ride. Other obligations finishing in fatigue so deep I couldn't stay awake for a five minute drive. This weekend seemed like it'd be a repeat. An open house today meant a lot of prep and cleanup yesterday. To make yesterday worse, a realtor told us they'd be dropping by "later". The call came at 10:48 AM. The visit? 5:00 PM.

During that time I put another layer of paint in the "entryway" to the basement, sealed some cracks in the driveway (I should point out that it was so satisfying to do that - I think I could pave things for a living). I mowed the lawn, trimmed the edges, did some laundry, tried to straighten some stuff up in the garage, and realized that all my wheels would look a lot better hung up on hooks. Plus they wouldn't slide and fall over and make us think the cats got into the garage.

So I got some scrap wood and make a nice "wheel" rack. Hung maybe 20 or so wheels on it. Now I only have about 8 or 10 wheels laying around.

By the way, I have a hint - if you're using those generic hooks shaped like a question mark to hang wheels, you can put them about 10 inches apart, 9 inches if your wheels don't have quick release skewers.

All this and some family obligations meant no ride.

So today started with a vet's appointment. I'm pleased to report our heavy cat lost 1 of 15 pounds - that's like me losing 12 or so pounds... I should lounge around all day and lick myself too if that's all it takes.

Then a cake tasting for the wedding. I'm used to "normal" cake. This cake... well, let's put it this way. I had a reasonable pancake and sausage breakfast. Then I had three small pieces of cake - about the size of, say, a Treo phone. After we got home, I felt a bit ill from the sugary richness so had a stick of cheese and a banana. And I felt totally full. And this was about 8 hours after breakfast.

So I went for a ride.

Friday I rode twice - in the morning I did an easy ride on the trainer. While I was riding my boss called and said there was a bomb scare at the office, it was closed, and to work from home. And, by the way, please get to a computer ASAP. I went from, "Oh, I can ride another 80 minutes!" to "Crap, I have to get off the bike now."

I worked till 1 or so and then told my colleague (also working from home) that I needed to ride. To be safe (so if something happened I wouldn't be 10 miles from home), I went downstairs and rode the trainer for half an hour.

It was great.

Until my boss called. Problems, emergency, get back to the computer.

In frustration I ripped out a sprint. I thought I was going to break the stays off the bike - the disadvantage of trainers.

1245 watts.

Quelle horrible!

I told myself that the only way I'm going to get my sprint back is to go outside and do sprints.

And today, finally, I got out there.

I went to my favorite sprinting grounds. Did a sprint or two on the way out (takes 40 minutes to ride there). I thought I was flying. The Power Tap tells no lies. Only a 40.2 mph top speed. I seem to be stuck at that 40 mph wall. Totally frustrating.

(I should note I have my "normal" wheels on - no aero light stuff - but I should be able to break 40 for sure.)

Got to the loop. Had one bad loop (no traffic, and with a headwind, I needed a little boost). Second loop, nice traffic. Couldn't wait for the truck just behind me (which I suspect was featured in my helmet cam vid on the same loop) so sprinted after one of those new S-Class Mercedes. Pounced, passed it, and went ripping down the road. Sprinted all the way to the line, hard. Threw the bike.

Felt great.

1455 watts. Yeah!

37.5 mph. Boo!

Headwind, whatever, that should have been a 40+ sprint.

Delusional I suppose. Oxygen debt and all that.

I headed back. Raced a city bus for about 10 miles. He'd drop me, I'd catch him at a light a couple minutes later (I was stopping for the lights too). I finally passed him on a long slight downhill. And he turned off.


I was almost home, out of water, feeling overheated. My teeth got that gross gummy stuff on them. I was breathing hot air. I'd stopped sweating. And I was feeling a bit nauseous.

In other words, I felt like I do at the end of a hard race.

And I knew I had one more very powerful sprint in my legs. I went to my local spot, the place I go when I want to check out a wheel or a position or something new and I want to be back in five minutes.

It's a short (50 yard?) downhill followed by a flat, perhaps a 1/2% uphill. 4 lanes, good traffic, they all move about 40 mph, no lights till about 400 yards away. I'd blow before I get there in a real sprint.

I missed the jump - the cars were already pulling away from the light when I was 30-40 yards away. I thought I'd missed my chance. But this was my last sprint, it was like the end of a race, and I decided to go for it.


Caught on.

And started passing cars.

After about 6 I saw I was coming up on the reason why they weren't going fast - a guy in the right lane going about 30 mph.

I blew by him, moved right, and turned into a parking lot.

42.8 mph.

1430 watts.

Broke the 40 mph wall.

Now for 45 mph.


Anonymous said...

Congrats on breaking through the wall! Though I can't get out of my mind the image of some crazy cyclist racing cars and buses! Sounds like our lives are still paralleling - though your improving your sprint! Good luck on the house!

Aki said...

Thanks :) At this point I'd trade a few mph on my sprint for a closing on the house. However, the house I feel will do its part. So in the meantime I just want to get back some semblance of my old racing self!