Piney Mountain Throw Down

Yeah, yesterday was my birthday. I would love to say that I went out and rode my age in miles. Well, it didn’t happen. However, I did get to torture myself for about a third of my age. That should count for something.

I also learned a valuable lesson. Do not eat a lunch of chicken pot pie before you go out and do power intervals. I love chicken pot pie, but prefer to only taste it once. No one wants to throw up when throwing down some power!

Piney Mountain Road

Starting up Piney Mountain Road

The day was beautiful and the Beautiful Redhead asked me to come home early for lunch because she would be teaching as a substitute in the early afternoon hour. As I got out of the car to walk up to the house, I could feel the warmth from the sun. The urge to do my workout on the road instead of later that evening on the trainer awakened within me.

My workout for the day would be power intervals — 3 x [(2 x 2 min.)(2 min. RBI)] (6 min. RBS). I decided to head over to Piney Mountain Road. I recalled that Jim Cunningham would send me there for short repeats. It is near by and at power the climb takes me around 3 minutes. So, it should be simple to get the 2 minute burst.

I turned off of Pleasantburg Drive and there in front of me was the beginning of the climb. I used the cement guardrails of a bridge crossing a small creek as my start marker. The road then begins a shallow climb. Soon you begin a slight turn to the left.

When you enter this curve, you notice the grade begins to angle upward. Up ahead you can see more of the road and you realize that it is going to hurt pretty soon. As you look up the now straightened road, you see another kick up and then a more noticeable turn to the right.

My two minutes were up before I reached the turn to the right. There is a yellow traffic marker indicating the sharper turn to the right. That is about where I ended up at 2 minutes. It became my target.

Race to the sign.  Turn around and spin to the bottom. Race back up again.

Nine times. I would start out spinning at a pretty high rate until the road started kicking up. It was possible to keep seated for a little longer as I shifted to an easier gear. Then I ended up having to stand through the steepest section. Then it was a plop back into the saddle as my heart rate spiked and the grade began to decrease.

I tried several different approaches with my cadence. I tried some in the small ring and some in the big ring. They all hurt.

Still, when I returned back home about an hour and fifteen minutes later, I was happy. It is such a difference doing these power intervals on the road and not on the trainer. I will be fighting to pull this off more as the days get longer.

The numbers made me happy. All but the last interval (336 watts) averaged over 350 watts. Most of them were over 380 watts. The first one (before the chicken pot pie began to squawk) was a 435 watts.

It makes me feel better about where I am right now. It is good to get a “real world” view over the trainer experience. At the same time, I realize how far I need to go to be competitive. Only thing is that now, I’m encouraged to think I can get there.