Friday, May 25, 2012

Not According to Plan

It all started pretty standard.  Amy wanted to run in the AM, so I slept in until 6.15am and got off to a 6.50-some departure.  This was my fourth ride in this week, with two round trips, so I was feeling pretty beat.  As I got on the bike, I decided to spin super-easy with the goal of hammering for a single five-minute section of the entire ride.  Rather than take Camino Alto, I wanted to take Meadowsweet and destroy StravaMo’s PR going up that hill.  Keep in mind, this is not an easy task for me.  StravaMo had dozens of runs up that hill, some slow and some fast.  And he is a much stronger climber than I am and weighs at least 50 pounds less than I do.  But, hey, it would be fun trying.

To give myself an unfair advantage, I started hitting the pedals well before I got to Peet’s coffee.  I figured that Mo and crew start the Meadowsweet hill from a standstill.  I could gain a few seconds by giving myself a running start.  By mid-hill, however, it was pretty clear that I did not have it in me.  Sadly, I bonked and cruised the rest of the way.  Whether it was the dead legs from the weekly commute or the old bike … I just didn’t have it in me.  I did beat my own PR by 9 seconds (from 5 minutes 1 second to 4 minutes 52 seconds) but Strava Mo is safely 25 seconds ahead of me at 4.27.

Having worked up a pretty good head of steam going up Meadowsweet, I somehow got comfortable in a particular gear in the big ring and sorta just kept it going – contrary to my original intention of a slow roll.  I caught my breath and beat the lactic acid out of my legs going down the hill passed the school and the Post Office. And by the time I got to the Mill Valley Bike Trail, I was feeling pretty strong.  Not really paying attention, I looked down at the Garmin and noticed that I was going around 20 miles per hour, well faster than my usual pace.  There was no wind to speak of (neither tail nor head), but I somehow got to that speed and kept it there.

I then recalled the Strava Segment ‘Blithedale to Financial District’.  Despite my riding from Blithedale to San Francisco every day, I don’t trigger this segment.  I turn off the Embarcadero down Battery Street to go to work where this segment wraps around the Embarcadero to Market Street.  My 2 percent digression from the route disqualifies me from ranking.  So, while still in Mill Valley, I decided to keep up the pace and continue on the Embarcadero to get a good time on this segment.  I felt OK going up to the Bridge (I did that segment in 6.32, 22 seconds off my PR).  But I really got in the groove on all the flat sections of the ride – the Bike Trail, Bridgeway, the Bridge, Chrissy Field, etc.  Once I put the effort to get up to speed, it takes pretty little energy to maintain that speed.  But the initial push can often be more work than I am willing to exert.

Parking my bike in the garage, my Garmin read 22.6 miles versus the typical 21.5ish and the clock read 1 hour and 19 minutes of elapsed time.  On my usual route, anything south of 1 hour 20 minutes is a good pace for me, so I knew that I had put in some good times this morning.  Downloading the data, I put in my third fastest time ever on the ‘Commute TT’ from the Bike Trail to Chrissy Field.  And as for the ‘Blithedale to Financial District’ segment, I destroyed my old time, cutting almost 7 ½ minutes off of my previous record – 47 minutes 59 seconds down from 55.25 (and taking the lead from Jeff C in the Muy Buenos Dias crowd by nearly 3 minutes).

As I reflect on this morning’s ride (cue soft music and birds chirping), it dawned on me that I did all of this ON MY OLD CROSS BIKE.  Yup, the same bike that I complained on Wednesday, “… it is also a slug going up hills (even harder than normal) and a significant effort to keep the bike moving at the same speeds that the road bike can achieve.”  And I did this totally solo, with not a single second of drafting throughout the ride.  The solo part makes sense, as I tend to be a chatty Cathy on group rides.  But the cross bike thing baffles me.  I guess my quick pace mostly depends on my mood.  But if that is true, then why spend thousands of dollars on fancy bike equipment?  I should just sell my new carbon bike (which should be built by the end of next week) and buy a $300 Cruiser.

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