Pulling my own weight

Tuesday I rushed out during lunch to get in a quick ride.  The evenings around here have been full of thunderstorms and baseball games.  I have to squeeze in the miles when I have the time.

This ride took me quickly out of town down Old Buncombe to the base of Paris Mountain.  I made it there in about 30 minutes and then rushed over the mountain trying to keep the ride as close to an hour as possible.  I made it up the Furman side in about 12 minutes and 45 seconds and then arrived at the intersection of Piney Mountain and Pleasantburg just as the computer registered one hour.

Later that evening – after a terrific thunderstorm followed by beautiful blue skies and a baseball game – I took a look at the data from my ride.  I was curious about that 12:45 up the Furman side of Altamont Road.  It seemed as though I was working much harder than the time indicated.

Granted it was pretty hot – in the 90s at that time – and was VERY muggy.  It has been incredibly humid around here for the last week or so.  It is also true that I had ridden for a week in the flat, flat terrain of my birthplace.

My Quarq CinQo indicated that my wattage for the climb was a 326 watts average.  This spring that would have definitely been good for a sub 12:30 time and even close to sub 12:15.  Something else had changed.

Then I climbed on the scales.  I hadn’t weighed myself since before I went on vacation.  Hmmmmm, that could be part of my problem.  I had put on four extra pounds over the last week or so.  Turns out I was pulling a little extra weight through that hot, muggy air on my way up the mountain.

I also was reminded of the huge difference between an amateur rider like me and a professional like George Hincapie.  If you go over to his Web site, you will find some neat videos with George answering questions submitted by fans.  One question regards his Functional Threshold wattage.  He doesn’t come out an say what it is.  However, he does comment that when climbing Caesars Head he will average around 385 watts (which is below his FT).

I figure my FT is around 280 watts.  I can’t imagine climbing Caesars Head maintaining the wattage I was holding for 13 minutes up the  2 miles of Altamont!  Even if I could suffer to the top, I would still be 60 watts below George’s “typical ride” average.  These guys are amazing!

Well, I guess it is time to go get rid of some of this weight.  My favorite way?  Ride my bike!