Saturday, December 26, 2009

Training - Florida Day 4

Today I went out with a group here north of Tampa, the Gear Link Racing Team. I met one of the guys virtually at BikeForums, Bob. We duel a bit with long, hopefully informative posts. Okay, his posts are definitely informative, usually more succinct.

Mine get, well, they end up a bit long. Go figure.

Anyway, when he found out that I'd be down in the area, he invited me on a group ride they'd planned for Saturday after Christmas. He figured on 20 or 30 riders showing up. They'd ride 2x2 (double file) out to some bridge, do intervals on the bridge, and return back.

With the start point about 12 miles away from my home base, he said he'd ride back with me. This way the missus just had to get me to the start.

A nice sign - across the street from the start point: a Ferrari dealership.

Cool beans.

I signed a release with a guy named Ray Booth ("How'd you know my name?" "Well, your bike says 'Ray Booth's Road Bike'"). Bob showed up, I shook a few hands, and we prepared to leave.

Ray made a few announcements, chided those talking while he was announcing, and then proclaimed that we had a guest for the day.


I raised my hands when he called my name. One of the guys I just met laughed and playingly complained.

"Hey, how come I don't get a call out? I do this ride all the time."

With that we set off.

I'm not sure exactly where we went, but we did stop for someone's pedal "issues" before we left the lot. Things went smoothly after that.

I learned that a few of the guys were originally from Connecticut - Westport, Danbury, Ridgefield, Moosup, all somewhat familiar hunting grounds for me (except the latter). This happens whenever I go to a warm-winter clime - I inevitably meet folks who moved "from the cold" to wherever I happened to be at the time.

We passed by some prep school kids in their uniforms, seniors by the look of them. Then we passed by some more of them. I figured there was a big school around here, with all these kids running around. I queried one of the riders on the prolific prep school uniforms.



Apparently we were in Scientology central, Clearwater, FL.

We hit a bridge, which, on later review, took about a minute to climb, seated. I focused on staying low, recruiting the glutes, relaxing the upper body. I tried to hold about 350 watts, struggling consistently each time.

We broke up into small groups, many riders doing solo efforts at their own pace. We turned around shortly after the bridge descent, either in a parking lot or by riding around a condo complex, and returned immediately to do another effort.

At some point one of the riders attempted to turn around without checking his six, and a car bounced him gently. He went down, traffic stopped, and in minutes we had a fire truck and a bunch of police cars on the scene.

We waited a bit (I did 4 more efforts), but it looked like it would be more than a little time, so ultimately the group gathered and left. We rolled back towards the start point, the group a bit antsy. I made some moderate efforts to close some gaps, and then, just when I started feeling a bit woozy, Bob motioned for me to take a turn, to head back to my home base. Another rider joined us for the slow roll back.

After gallantly trying to ride next to Bob for a while, I eased and sat in. Then, after I took a moderately short pull, I turned to Bob and confessed.

"I'm cooked."

Bob brought the pace down, telling the other guy Jeff to ease up too. After that I just sat on and we rolled back.

End result?

A little over 3 hours. Almost 60 miles. 12 intervals.

I wore booties, knickers, 2 LS jerseys, 1 SS jersey, vest. Felt fine, a little warm, but comfortable.

Notes to self:
- Tighten Ergo levers. One of my efforts moved a lever.
- Shoulder hurt when climbing out of saddle, therefore resume shoulder therapy when I get home.
- Overdressing is okay.

I think tomorrow I'll skip the 3000 feet of climbing, 7:30 AM ride. I'll wait for later in the day. Degrease the poor bike's drivetrain. Tighten up the levers.

And go for a nice mid-day ride.

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