Thursday, November 10, 2011

Training - 15 mph and a Coupla Trucks

It seems that when I start thinking "trucks" they appear. I had a very non-eventful ride on my day off, going out at the peak of temperatures, warm enough that I never wore my vest. I had on shorts, a short sleeve and long sleeve jersey, a cap under the helmet, and that's it.

No gloves (couldn't find them), no booties, no neck thing, not even Atomic Balm (I just slathered a thin layer of Vaseline on my legs to dull any biting wind).

I told the Missus I'd be out for two hours, and, honestly, my intent was to do two hours of riding. A savage wind slowed me on the way out (south), draining any reserves I'd thought about saving for the second loop. The tailwind helped, but only barely, and after doing just 7/8 of my Quarry Road loop I was pretty tweaked. My arms, shoulders, legs, they all felt really tired.

Entering town from the south.

The broken trees seem appropriate for the town that suffered almost the longest through the Halloween storm. I had to skirt a lot of branches and such sticking out into the road a bit, not a problem for cars in the travel lane but a minor one for us cyclists on the shoulder.

As I headed into town I saw a nice dump truck pull out in front of me. Heavily laden, it'd have slow acceleration, the multiple wheels offered a great draft, and the solid squareness would offer a nice platform to push off of if I got too close.

(Not that I've ever touched a truck I was drafting, this is a "just in case" scenario.)

Backing off a bit.

I accelerated a bit too hard when I caught up to it and had to back off. Just like in a pack I moved into the wind to slow myself down, then as the truck rolled by me, I tucked back in. In the picture above I'm letting the truck roll past and I'm just starting to move in behind it.

With a 30-35 mph speed limit on the road, and some traffic, it wasn't super fast, but it was fun, let me spin out my legs a bit, and the FedEx guy (who delivers to the store) honked his horn and waved.

I eventually passed the truck at a light, knowing I'd have no chance of catching it when it went past me. The act of passing a stopped "draft potential truck" is an acknowledgement that the draft ain't happening. If I stop behind a draft potential truck then I'm looking for some speed.

Because of the wind and the foreign feeling of being on the road, I felt really fatigued even before the truck. Now, with another loop ahead of me, and an hour on my legs (the loop is 48 minutes when I'm good), I decided to call it a day and head home.

Just before I made the right onto 315 I looked back and saw the most tantalizing sight - another truck, an 18 wheeler (well, 14 wheeler, but it had a long trailer). I signaled that I was going straight, rolled through the green light, and waited.

When the truck went by I jumped hard.

Again, with the truck's limited speed (35 zone, but with traffic), I overshot. I eased, tucked back in, and had some fun.

Moving back.

More settled.

As soon as I blew up I slowed, let traffic by, and turned around.

The final climb, up 315, is my Poggio, the climb before the finishing descent. Normally I roll the big ring up the thing. If I'm feeling good, it's a 53x14 all the way to the stop sign. Not as good, the 53x15, and do the last 30 meters in the 19 or so.

I was really not good at all. I started in the 44x19, went about 1/3 of the way up, then slowed dramatically, struggling to get to the stop sign without going so slow that cars a quarter mile away would get there the same time as me.

Strava has me doing the loop at 16 mph, which is about an average ride for me. I don't know how guys do 20 mph - I rarely break 20 mph on a training ride, but some guys, they can plug along at 21-23 mph all day.

The Missus called when it got a bit darker out. Surprised to reach me, she asked what happened. I told her about the ride, complained that I'm so slow, that I have no power, no strength. I told her how I used to do these super long rides to Kent (from Ridgefield) with John S, before we went to Belgium.

I thought about that for a moment, thought of the time frame.

"I think that was in 1991, so that was 20 years ago."

Holy smokes. That long ago?!

The Missus grinned.

"You know, you ought to think about maybe training with someone in the area, do some of these rides with someone."

I thought about it.

You know, she's right.

So for any of you in the area, Wednesdays and Sundays, time is kind of open, and also evenings (possibly), although those would be more Rails to Trails rides with lights. I'm thinking of riding just the mountain bike (on the road) for now, force myself to pedal more, coast less.

16 mph would be on the fast side, 14 mph on the slow.

Wait, with someone else helping, maybe 16 mph would be average. 18 mph would be fast. 1-3 hours.

I read somewhere that Zone 2 is 70% of your FTP, so my Zone 2 is about 140 watts. I'll push though and do 150 or 160 watts, if that means having a riding partner. Remember, 200 watts is really, really hard for me, as hard as the hardest summer races I've done in the last two years.

Anybody out there want to ride with me?


Beardy said...

I'll ride with you when you come out here in the spring.
Let me know when Palomar is on the cards as I live a little north of it in Temecula

Anonymous said...


I'd totally ride with you...I just think the distance thing could be an issue. Let me know the next time you're in NorCal!

Aki said...

Beardy, Danny,

I appreciate the offers. Unfortunately I am 99.9% certain that I won't be coming out to SoCal for any kind of training camp 2012. I'll have to take you up whenever I get out there though.

As far as distance goes, it's just a matter of fueling properly and not going too crazy. I'm a master at doing a long ride without going too hard :)

Thanks, Aki.