The pros are safe for another day

I’m starting to recognize that life isn’t going to slow down any. I keep looking ahead in the calendar looking for a break and not finding one. It means that my weird training schedule is going to keep fluctuating day by day.

Monday I got out at my normal “get out of work and jump on the bike” training time. As I was coming back in on the SRT, I happened upon Spencer Beamer. We rode into town together talking about work and our “training.” He asked me if I was out normally at this time on that course.

I’m sure I looked strange as I had a pretty blank look on my face. Thing is, I didn’t know when I ride! Sometimes early morning, sometimes at lunch, sometimes after work and sometimes late at night on the trainer.

Well, Tuesday I rode at lunch. Originally, I was supposed to ride after a late business meeting and dinner. However, a business lunch got moved, the Beautiful Redhead had a lunch with friends and the weather was threatening rain in the evening.

The Time-Crunched Cyclist Plan called for me to do 6 x 2 minute Power Intervals. That was good because it wouldn’t take too long to knock those out. I’d even had a little time left over and I had designs on measuring myself on a Strava segment.

The Power Intervals went well. I went to Nature Trail to do the workout because 1) it was close to my house, 2) it would cause me to put out a good amount of power over a short distance and 3) there wouldn’t be a lot of traffic to worry with. Actually, the first one went too well.

Of course, I was feeling pretty fresh as I started the first interval. I was seeing numbers in excess of 600 watts as I started up the 6% grade. Since the ground was disappearing beneath me at a rapid pace, I decided to just let it all hang out and see what would happen. What happened was I ended up running out of road. I had to turn onto Beverly in order to finish out my 2 minutes.

With that out of my system I settled down to do the next 5 intervals at a more reasonable pace. I was pretty pleased when all five of them came in within 20 watts of each other… the final four within 5 watts over 345 for each effort. Not having any appreciable drop off in power was a huge encouragement.

That done, I went in search of a KOM for Strava. To be honest, I knew it wouldn’t be a KOM, but I did want to improve my time on the Piney Mountain Climb segment. Before the ride, I was sitting a couple pages back on the list.

Now, the top seven places were held by professional riders during the USA Cycling Professional Road Championship. These guys were able to ride on the closed course coming off Paris Mountain at least at 50+ mph. This meant they had a good amount of momentum to get them up the first part — and steepest part — of Piney Mountain Road.

That being the case, I was pretty sure that I wasn’t going to get a KOM! However, I did want to see how fast I could make it up. Maybe, just maybe, I could unseat one of the pros.

I was finally feeling a bit recovered from the power intervals as I rode slowly about 100 meters up Altamont Road. My plan was to wait there until a car came along and tripped the traffic light. Then I would get up as much speed as I could to get some advantage — though definitely not a 50 mph one — as I started the climb.

I was in my small front ring as I started my attack. I crossed the State Park Road at about 27 mph and started to climb. For the first 30 seconds I was averaging 600+ watts. Then the grade started to diminish. I regretted at this point that I was in the small ring. I shifted to move to my 53 and the chain didn’t move up!

My legs were spinning around and I was losing momentum. I adjusted my rear gearing and tried to bring up the chain again. Finally, it engaged, but I knew I lost valuable time at that point. My wattage had dropped to an average of 380 during that section. Once I got the right gearing, I moved the wattage up to a 430 average to the finish.

Actually, I didn’t get to the finish. I let up at what I thought was the finish and ended up losing some time at that point as well. Still, when I glanced down at the computer to see my climb time, I saw 1:37. I knew that would at least put me in the top ten!

I finished up the ride and got home. First thing I did was upload my data. Where would I fall?

The first thing I noticed was that I had beat my own KOM on Nature Trail by about 9 seconds. That first power interval covered the segment in 1:50. Once again I got a surprise KOM.

I then looked to find a trophy beside the Piney Mountain Climb segment. It had an 8 in it. Looking at the segment leaderboard I found myself in 8th place at 1:41. Ahead of me were names like Ted King, Ben King and Jacob Rytlewski. The rider ahead of me in 7th place with a time of 1:36 was Chad Hartley.

All of the times ahead of me had been set during either the 2010 or 2011 US Pros race. I’m more convinced than ever that a KOM won’t be in my future! However, Mr. Hartley might be on shaky ground. If I big ring it up on fresher legs and don’t let up before the finish, I bet I could take off 5 seconds.

Go ahead. Mock me. I don’t care. I’m having more fun on the bike than I’ve had in a long time.