Tag Archives: Altamont Road

Three measly seconds

One thousand one… One thousand two… One thousand three… the time it took you to read that is how close I was yesterday to climbing Paris Mountain in 12 minutes flat.  That is the goal I set for myself over a year ago.  I’ve never been able to best it.  Last night I got really close… I got a personal best at 12 minutes 3 seconds. It will fall.

Now, Saturday there will be guys riding up that incline that will make a 12 minute climb look like a snail assault.  I regularly ride with guys who bust out sub-twelve climbs.  That time on the venerable climb is not that special… except to me.  Forgive me while I dissect my ride again.

It started with an easy ride up to the top.  I took my time to enjoy that day.  Too often I’m just riding with my head down with some goal in mind.  I don’t look around and enjoy the scenes.  This time I even stopped to take some video with my iPhone.  I need to go back with a better camera!

I knew that I could get a good time because when I reached the other side and turned around, my legs were feeling good.  I put my bike in a very easy gear and started up spinning at a higher cadence than normal.  My plan was to take it easier in the first half and then attack toward the end.

It seemed to be working.  Through the first three minutes – that would take me up to the water tower section – I was averaging 330 watts and hit a high heart rate of 174 bpm.  Still, I was maintaining a 10.5 mph average.

The next three minutes of riding brought me to the midway point of the ride.  I was pretty happy to reach that section at almost 6 minutes on the nose.  The better news is that I had been able to pick up some more speed and was still feeling pretty good.

That section after the water tower is a 5.3% grade.  I was able to average just under 12 mph while putting out a lower average wattage of 314.  My heart rate did climb to a high of 179, but I was still averaging 176 bpm.  When I looked down to and saw 6:00 on my Garmin, I knew I stood a chance!

I stood and started to attack the next 6 minutes.  I planned to attack, recover, attack, recover, and then let it all hang loose on The Wall.  Things got a little tougher in the next three minute section.  The average grade was now 7%.

My body was showing some strain as well.  My heart rate climbed to a high of 186 and held an average during that section of 183 bpm.  I was riding in my red line.  Still, I was putting out an average of 343 watts and holding an average speed of 10.6 mph.  It was during that section that I looked down at my computer for the second time in the ride and saw 10:00.  I knew I was close!

I’m about to hit The Wall.  The average grade over the next three minutes was 7.4%.  I settled in for a steady push in the early part of this three minute section, but stood to give it all I had toward the end.  This averaged out to be 361 watts for the just over half mile section.  My heart rate was letting me know we were near the end by peaking at 190 bpm and averaging 186 in that section.

However, it was the easy start and the driving finish that made it work.  I bet I covered the hardest portion of this climb faster than I have ever done in my life.  The average grade over this 650 feet is 10.4%.  My average wattage over this section was 507 watts.  That garnered me a 10.5 mph average for that distance.

The entire climb’s numbers looked like this: Average – Power = 336 watts, Heart Rate = 177 bpm, Cadence = 78 rpm, Speed = 10.9 mph; Maximum – Power = 641 watts, Heart Rate = 190 bpm, Cadence = 100 rpm, Speed = 17.5.

It will be a while before I’ll get a chance to try this again.  However, I think I’ve found the keys to making it work.  I just have to be sure I’m in good shape when I try it.  My guess is that when the temperatures begin to drop, I’ll start to see myself regularly breaking the 12 minute mark when I give it a try.

Three measly seconds.  Man… soooooo close!

From the Red River Gorge to the French Broad River

There is some interesting Tour news today. You can go to any number of sites to read about it. I can’t talk about it here. I’ll just say, “Bummer, Levi, heal soon and come see us at the USA Cycling Professional Championships.”

Here is another update on the Hincapie Development Team that today will be finishing up their Tour of the Red River Gorge UCI Invitational.  They have to be super pumped right now and who knows what will happen going into tonight’s criterium.  Good job guys!

In the 91 mile road race a break of about 20 riders formed and built a two minute gap on the field.  HDT made the break.  It was Ty Magner who made the winning break and with 2K to go there were 13 of them. Unfortunately, he got detached in the sprint at the finish and was 11th.

Tyler Karnes was in the next group and finished 17th while Strad Helms (34th) and Blair Turner (51st) were in the next group.  A.J. Meyer broke a pedal but still managed within the cutoff. Aubrey Moore was ahead of him in 58th.  With the solid finish by the team, they moved up a spot to 6th in the team classification.

Of course, what might have been of more interest to them was the fact that they are sharing the facilities at the University of Kentucky with a bunch of cheerleaders who are there for a camp.  1300 of them to be exact! That could explain the look on Tyler Karnes’ (front) face in the below photo. Blair Turner is seated behind him.

Photo by Joan Hanscom

Photo by Joan Hanscom

I’m leaving today to head up to Asheville for the French Broad Cycling Classic.  I hope to catch some of my teammates participating in the time trial and then take a car along tomorrow’s route.  I hear it is super tough.

I do believe I am ready to give it a go.  Last night I went out for a ride with friends along the base of Paris Mountain. It was hard to hold back at times, but I knew I couldn’t push myself.  Just once did I get in behind Louis and unwind it a bit. Still, by the time we started up Altamont, I was feeling pretty good.

On the mountain, I simply tried to find a cadence that would allow me to keep a steady tempo.  Tyler was right on my wheel talking smack.  I just grinned to myself and keep going.  He stopped talking, but I could glance back and see his wheel right off of mine.

Then I heard him start breathing. I did my best to control my breathing. I wanted him to think I was breathing easily through my nose.  Still pacing myself I kept the pressure on him.

Then I heard him exclaim, “Pait!” I knew I was dropping him at that point.  Soon I was alone with the main group behind and only Art in front of me.  Since I wasn’t pushing it, I figured Art would be waiting for me at the top.

Well, coming around a corner near the top, I saw Art going into the next one.  By the time we reached the yellow sign that marks the beginning of The Wall section, Art and I were on the same straight.  I figured I just needed to keep the same pace and I could get him by the end.

Once on The Wall, I realized Art had picked it up a bit.  I had to stand and pick it up myself if I hoped to match him.  We went into the final pitch upward near neck-and-neck.  Finally, I inched ahead and came across the line.

The climb gave me lots of confidence going into the race Saturday.  It wasn’t my best time (13:29), but that is only a minute and fifteen seconds or so off my best.  The good news is that except for that final 20 meter push, I had kept my heart rate at a reasonable average on the climb and really did not feel I worked that hard.  I’m happy with the base of fitness I have.

My WKO+ seemed to confirm this.  The ride put my the graphs on my Performance Management Chart into positive territory.  If the chart is telling me what I think it is, I should have a good day tomorrow.

Here’s hoping! Of course, there will be a report here at LowCadence.com.

On some wheels and a hope

Sunday I determined that Monday evening would be an assault on the mountain.  What that means is there would be an all out effort to reach the top in under 12 minutes.  If you’ve read LowCadence.com for any amount of time, you are familiar with this Don Quixote effort undertaken by yours truly numerous times in the past.  This time I had a new weapon.

Since I was out of town for the weekend, I left my bike at Sunshine.  So I sent John a text asking him if the test wheels they had were available and if I could use them for my attempt.  He responded that they were available.  He also let me know that my replacement shifter was in.  Now I should be all set for the climb.

The wheels are Shimano’s RS Eighty carbon/alloy.  This would be my first ride on carbon wheels.  It was my hope that the wheels would either 1) actually help me go faster up the mountain, or 2) make me think I could go faster up the mountain.  Supposedly the light wheels should spin faster and give me an edge.

I started off and immediately got caught in a downpour.  The rain continued until I was a quarter of the way up the State Park side of the mountain.  At least I felt a bit cooler – even if a bit soggy.

The wheels were okay.  There did seem to be a difference between them and my normal training wheels – a set of Ksyrium Elites.  It is true that the wheels seemed to “spin up” more quickly.  They also seemed stiff enough and the ride was smooth.

My only negative was that the rear hub was making annoying noise.  Of course, this being a test set that had been ridden before, I figured there might be some wear.  However, it did make me wonder about the longevity of the construction.

Soon I was over the top and starting down the Furman side.  That is when I really noticed a difference with the wheels… and it scared me!

I’m not sure if I am describing this correctly, but when descending the wheels made me feel top heavy.  They were definitely faster than my Mavic wheels.  Several times I felt as though the bike was running away from me and going into the turns I didn’t feel the same level of control.

Now, I’m not saying that is a bad thing.  It is just different.  It was something I had to adjust to.  Frankly, I was surprised, because I was counting on the wheels making a difference on the climb — not the descent.

Then it was time to turn around and start back to the top.  I set my Garmin to read from the Quarq CinQo only the Average Watts, Current Watts, and Average Speed.  I knew I would need to average somewhere near 330 watts to make my goal.

Click picture to enlarge.

Click picture to enlarge.

As you can see from the graph, the first two-thirds of the climb I was able to keep the wattage up.  The places where it dipped during that period were spots where the road leveled out a bit and I was spinning at a higher cadence, but still getting more speed.

Where things went south was in that last third of the climb.  I had lost my ability to accelerate and settled into a steady output.  I was still averaging over 300 watts during this section, but it was still pulling down my overall average.  Of course, I wasn’t really paying attention to the computer at this point.

You can see that I gave it a bigger effort as I hit The Wall.  In that 700 feet section, I climbed over 70 feet in elevation with an average of a 10% grade. At the very end it kicks up to a 16% grade.  It took 52 seconds to cover that 700 feet.

My new wheels and the hope that they would help carry the day came up 18 seconds short.  That puts me right up there with my best times (best time so far is 12:05 with many other attempts landing in the 12:15 range).  If I compare my times on my best wheels (Ksyrium SLs), then the carbon Shimano wheels would come in about even.

I think I’ll stick with my Mavic wheels.  The RS Eighty wheel set looks nice.  The wheels ride nice.  However, I don’t think they really made me any faster than I go on my SLs.  Plus, the Ksyriums feel a little more stable to me.  Perhaps it is just the comfort of the known, but going into a turn on a fast descent I’d prefer the feel of my wheels.  On the climbs?  I really did not notice that much of a difference between the Eighties and the SLs.

What a relief!

When I left the office and headed home to get ready for the Thursday ride, I was feeling pretty apprehensive and yet excited.  Excited because I was going to get to ride after being off the bike for two days and apprehensive because I wasn’t sure how my shoulder would react to the effort.  The ride would tell the story.

I stopped into Sunshine Cycle Shop to pick up my new helmet before heading out. Steve Baker came in while I was there to interview John James for a story he is putting together for GO Magazine.  I won’t give away his subject, but I’m pretty excited to read it when it comes out.

When I brought my bike up to the group, I was happy to see there were a number of riders there.  It was a good group of regulars.  It was good to see Rob back out.  Anthony was also there.  Speaking of Anthony, turns out he was the Barley’s rider that was telling me to pull through at the last Donaldson Center ride I rode.

We pulled out and I was feeling pretty good.  I had rubbed my shoulder down with some Biofreeze and it felt downright normal.  Word was we were going to go on the Hour of Power route.  That sounded good because there would be less climbing.  Then I heard that we would be tacking Paris Mountain onto the end of it!

The first test of my shoulder would be the Meece Bridge Road sprint.  As we approached the attack zone, John moved over and Anthony moved to the front.  I moved onto his wheel.  It was pretty much he and I as we neared the rise that starts the run in to the finish.  He shifted to gain more speed and I shifted two and jumped.  He let me go.

Then it was time for a little climb.  This would put a different strain on my shoulder as I would climb the quarry road.  I let the group go on ahead.  My plan was just to ride up steady at my own pace.  I had already told John that I wasn’t going to go for it.  He would have to fly the POA banner on this one.

Well, what do you know.  By the time we reached the false flat I was sitting on the wheel of Art who was in the lead at that point.  I just kept tapping out my cadence and moved to the front.  There was no doubt that John was back there and soon he would be coming around to take over.   My plan was just to keep spinning and keep the force in my legs and avoid pulling on the bars. Sure enough, John came around and took the finish.

Now I was toast. To say my legs felt like Jello wouldn’t be a good description.  Do you remember Stretch Armstrong – those dolls that you could stretch for unnatural distances?  Well, that is what my legs felt like – gooey but hard.  It didn’t help that Bob and I got caught at an intersection and had to chase back to the group just before we turned to go up Altamont Road.

Again the rest of the guys started up ahead of me.  I was about 30 seconds behind because I got caught up in some traffic at an intersection.  I figured some of the riders would come back to me, but there were several I knew I wouldn’t see again until the top.  Anthony had gone home, so I knew he wasn’t ahead.

Passing several riders I came up on Bob and Tyler.  I was surprised that I caught Bob just before the halfway point.  However, I couldn’t get past them.  They sped up a bit and I slowed some.  We continued this way for some time.

It was on this climb that the ache in my shoulder became more noticeable.  It was probably because my body was just getting tired.  I was also rocking on the bike a bit more causing me to pull on the bars.  It is a good training mechanism to cause me to focus on using my legs more instead of burning energy in the rest of my body.

This post is getting long enough.  There were lots of other things that I could write about – like the time Bob and I went into an unfamiliar corner way too hot and nearly came to grief together.  There was the race between Tyler and I to see who would be back to the shop first.  There were plenty of little odds and ends that make these rides so much fun.

I just hope that this time McPain will read this before Gunny calls him.

A tale of two rides

I woke up before the alarm went off.  The light of the already rising sun was coming through the window.  Over on the dresser were the various items I would need for my morning ride.  After a bit of psyching myself up, I rolled out of bed to get ready to head out to Sunshine Cycle Shop for the Hour of Power.

Friday’s recovery ride had my body feeling pretty good.  The calf that has been giving trouble still hurt slightly, but not nearly as bad as the morning before.  I figured after getting a bite to eat, I would be ready for some fun sprinting.

As I pulled into the lot, I could see a good number of riders.  A quick glance showed that the normal sprinters weren’t around.  Luis was the only one I could see.  Bob sometimes mixes it up, but there was no John, Tyler, Tony, Peter, or any of those guys.  Hmmmm, this could be interesting.

Then Mike came out and announced that we were going to do the traditional route backward.  I guess there would be no need to have anyone there going for the sprints – we wouldn’t know where to attack.  Suddenly, my morning was taking on a whole different feel.

Turns out it was okay.  It was a pretty good workout.  You think that the route will be easier because there are so many long climbs going the traditional route.  However, what goes up must come down.  The difference is that the backward route has more short “popping” climbs.

The one negative was that our stops to wait for the slower riders were much longer.  It was much harder to get the feeling of a sustained effort.  Most times it was Luis, JWinn, Billy (who joined us after the ride started), and myself building a gap and then waiting.

I’m pretty sure that if we hadn’t had the down times I would have averaged some solid wattage for the entire ride.  What that means is that this route is not easier.  As a matter of fact, my average wattage was 189 watts for the entire ride.  Compare that with 162 watts of one of my recent Hour of Power rides.  The climbing?  This morning we climbed 3038 feet cumulative.  The traditional route takes us over 3020 feet.  This route is looking harder all the time!

Still, it just didn’t seem as fun and it didn’t seem to be as good of a work out.  For most part, though, it was good to mix things up.  I’m sure we’ll be doing it some more in the future.

Once back at the shop I hung out for a bit, but I was feeling like I needed to get a bit more in on my legs.  I mentioned to Bob that I was planning on getting in some more miles and he decided to go with me.  It was a simple ride, but it was a great one.

It wasn’t the route.  It was basically an over and back of Altamont Road.  The one change was that Bob decided to take us on Audubon Road.  Other than that we headed over to Furman to cool down in the shade before heading back up to the top and then returning to the shop.

First, it was fun to hang out with Bob.  It seems like a long time since the old crew had been together on one of these rides.  With just the two of us it was kind of like old times.  We were taking it easy, so there was time to talk.

After cresting the top, I started down at an easy pace.  Bob followed.  The air was cool because of the shade and the wind created as I descended.  Over to the right I could see out toward the mountains in the distance.  The bike shifted easily beneath me as I carved my way through the curves.

It was during this section that I got hit with that thought.  It is a sensation that every cyclist experiences.  It is that almost giddy feeling that comes to your upper chest and pops up on your face as a smile.  I call it the “everything’s right with the world” feeling.  You might want to call it a “Now THIS is why I ride my bike” experience.

Of course, we had to turn around and head back.  As we started up Altamont, I told Bob I wasn’t going to press my lap button to time the climb.  This one was going to go unrecorded.  We discussed what we thought our times might be.  I guessed it could be anywhere between 16 and 18 minutes.

What a difference it makes riding with someone!  The climb seemed to go much faster with someone to talk to and get encouragement from during the hateful sections.  As we neared the top, I saw a lone rider ahead of us.  It was an encouragement to keep my pace up and perhaps we could catch him before the top.

He must have heard us talking because he picked up his pace.  As we neared the wall I said to Bob, “He can have it.”  Then we turned onto that final climb.  I put my head down and just began to pace it up.  When I glanced up, I saw that the rider ahead was much closer now.  Then I went around him.  Whew!  He was suffering!

At the top I glanced at my computer.  Yes, I didn’t use the timer, but I couldn’t help but notice the time of day as we started the climb.  Turns out we covered the two miles in 15 minutes and 30 seconds.  That really wasn’t so bad for not trying.

Right there at the first turn from the top was a dad and his two daughters with a lemonade stand.  The Life’s Little Instruction Book says to always stop and buy lemonade from these young entrepreneurs, so we pulled up and got a couple of cups.  Wow!  That was some great lemonade!

From there is was an easy ride back to Sunshine Cycle Shop.  That second 22 mile ride took as long to complete as the earlier 28 mile one.  We climbed nearly as much, though we didn’t work quite as hard.  If I had to rate the two, I’d have to give the second one the higher score.

Overall it was a good day – and a good week.  I’ve finally started getting in some +100 mile weeks.  Yep, I haven’t had a 200 mile week in ages.  This month has been my biggest month yet for the year with over 450 miles.  In the past, July has always been a good mileage month.  I’m looking forward to it.

The bike does have a place

Friday morning I wrote about feeling the tug to go ride my bike while the family was calling me to spend some time with them.  By the evening, I had a different situation arise.  I think I made the right decision with that one as well.

It was a pretty hectic day for me.  The entire day was spent trying to get a site launched that I have been working on for months.  That was interspersed with trying to get my wife’s anniversary present, taking my BMW to Duncan so it can be repaired, and other meetings during the day.  By five o’clock, I was pretty frustrated.

Everything did get done and I was able to make it home in time to go for a ride.  The family had gone swimming at a cousin’s place, so there was no family obligation to keep me there.  They all planned on me being gone for a couple of hours.

While I had wanted to ride Thursday night and was not able to do so, Friday night I had the ride planned but didn’t feel like it.  I didn’t want to go through all the ritual of getting suited up, sticking contacts in my eyes, getting the bike prepped, and then heading out and sweating every drop of water out of my body.  Couldn’t I just do something else?

Nope.  It was time to ride.  Just like I believe it would have been wrong to have ridden Thursday night when my family was wanting me at home, I believe it would be wrong for me let the discipline slide to get on the bike regardless of how I was feeling.  No excuses!

Funny thing is that as soon as I swung my leg over my bike and coasted down the driveway I was fine.  As a matter of fact, my ride that was going to be an hour of looping around Cleveland Park turned into loops of the park and two repeats of Paris Mountain.  33 miles, 2400 feet, and 2 hours later I arrived home.  Yes, I sweated so much that I felt like I had been at the pool with my kids!

The repeats were the first I have done on Altamont Road in some time.  I started up using my “perceived effort” to determine the speed I wanted.  The idea was to go up the first time at a speed that I figured I could match the second time.  This was after having already ridden for an hour at a good pace.

I reached the top the first time in 16 minutes and 33 seconds.  For that time, I felt pretty rough.  However, I turned around and rode back to the bottom.  The second time up I tried a little different gearing but still never looked at my computer.  I felt for a pace that wasn’t too much or too little.  I reached the top the second time in 16 minutes and 43 seconds.

The only frustrating thing on the ride was the new iPhone 3.0 upgrade with the voice activated dialing.  I was trying to listen to some music, but the voice dial kept activating.  I looked at the screen and it was locked and off.  It was about to drive me nuts!

It is a cool feature on the phone and I’m glad to have it.  I’ve just got to figure out how to avoid that problem in the future.  I think I might have the reason it was happening.  I keep my phone in a ziplock bag in my jersey pocket.  Of course, my pocket is getting quite warm and things are pressing up against the phone.  My guess is that something is turning on the phone – a system message, a new wireless signal, or something – and then the warm pressure of the phone pressing against me is causing it to “push buttons.”  Either that or I have a defective ear piece that is causing the voice dial to activate.

Whatever it is, I need to get it solved.  Anyone else have that kind of issue?

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!

Who needs a motor?

After my post yesterday, John James sent me a link to a good article about approaching training from PezCyclingNews.com.  There were a couple of points that stood out to me and I’m including them here.  But before I get to that, I’d like to give you a peek at my ride yesterday to the peak.

From the top of Paris Mountain

From the top of Paris Mountain

If you click on the image to enlarge it, you will see more detai – including the skyline of Greenville, SC in the distance.  I rode up to this point from somewhere down near those building.  Seems like it should have taken more than just 30 minutes!

Now for the Pez piece.  You can find the whole thing here – Toolbox: The Training Week. Ironically, this was published to the popular cycling site just yesterday.

Optimize Your Training Time – If you are on a limited training schedule you have to learn to optimize the time you have available. That means cutting out the ‘junk’ hours and focusing on the task at hand. While it sounds logical and doable, you’d be surprised how easy it is to squander training time. Take that extra 20 minutes to warm up and you’ve cost yourself both the 20 minutes, and the positive training effect of having stepped up the intensity, even if it’s only to a tempo pace. Multiply that over 3 training days and your 10 hour training week only has 9 hours to accomplish the goals you set.

Here is a workout that he describes with a profile very similar to a popular climb here in our area.  The only difference is that it takes me thirty minutes or more to get to the base of the climb.  Still, it is something to consider when I have a couple of hours to give.

Around my house that is a 3peat climb on Montebello Road; a 2-mile climb that averages around 10%. It usually takes me about 15:30 to climb at 300W (which is about my FTP) and about 4:15 to descend, so if I do 3 up/down in an hour it gives me about 45:00 minutes of threshold work, a nice recovery between intervals, and a serious dose of climbing. As fitness goes up I can push harder to try and get as far below an hour as possible. My current best is 55:55 with individual intervals of 13:35 at 350 Watts, 14:44 at 319 Watts and 13:54 at 343 Watts, for a total TSS of 100.7 and an Intensity Factor of 1.07 at 258 Watts average/322 Watts normalized (My FTP was set at 310 at that time, but was probably closer to 330). Since it’s about 15 minutes each way to the climb this is a pefect workout on those days I don’t have long to ride.

This advice was given by Matt McNamara.  You can learn more about his coaching at www.sterlingwins.com.

However, nothing does you better than a good ride.  That is just what I enjoyed last night.  No personal bests, but just a good, solid effort from home up to the Tower Road on Paris Mountain.

It was near sunset, so by the time I reached the top the temperatures has dropped into a very comfortable 70 some degrees.  Because of the climbing involved it was “easier” to get some good 1 to 10 minute peak maximum numbers.  Still, at an average 222 watts (averaging 260 watts from home to the top), it wasn’t a killer.

The profile from home to Tower Road

The profile from home to Tower Road

The most fun was coming down off the mountain.  You can see the profile above.  The little yellow tag is the marker for the finish of my first lap which is the KOM line at the top of Altamont Road.  For one short dip in the road I hit nearly 60 mph (if you do Altamont Road, you know where it is).  Mostly it was in the high 30s and 40s.

However, it wasn’t that speed that was fun.  It is the looks I get from the motorcyclists as I come down that last straight stretch towards State Park Road.  Riders of Harleys and crotch rockets alike, they stop their conversations and watch me descend.  I think they are surprised by the speeds we can get – without a motor.

Hope my cycling friends had fun at Donaldson Center last night.  I wasn’t able to make it.  Next Tuesday night will find me absent as well because I will be out of town.  Miss the ride… hope to be more consistent once baseball season ends.

Letting out some frustrations on the mountain

Following my son’s baseball game and before the afternoon music recital with Things One and Two, I had a short window to get out on my bike.  Looking at the weather forecast it appeared that if I was going to get in a dry ride in the next several days, this would be the time.  The was also another reason why I wanted to ride.

I wanted to let out some frustrations.

My performance of Friday night was still getting me.  I figured the best way to get it out of my system was to go out for a ride and then blow out all the bad feelings on the mountain.  Nothing does me more good than letting loose up that 2.2 mile stretch.

I pushed it all the way up.  There was not strategy, I was just going up to I blew up.  When I climbed to “The Wall”, I decided to give myself a work out.  It felt so good to just hurt my way up that short stretch.

I rolled over the line in 12:08.  That is only 3 seconds off of my personal best climb.  I think that a sub-12 climb is just around the corner.

Funny.  Riding a bike can cause the pain.  Riding the bike can be the best medicine.

What a difference a year makes

I was checking my mail and found a message in the Greenville Spinners’ Yahoo! group.  There was a link to a YouTube video.  I clicked on it to find that it was a video I had posted to the site on April 27, 2008 — exactly a year ago yesterday.

Things have changed since that April night.  I believe we made the climb in just under 13 minutes.  Watching the video I can tell how much I was laboring to get that time up the mountain.

That was back in the day when I thought I would never get to 12:30.  Now, a year later, I regularly break that mark and have been flirting with an even 12 minutes.  It would be nice if in April of 2010 I am down around 11 minutes.  Dream on!

The video has changed as well.  YouTube has improved the quality that can be uploaded to the service.  I’d also like to think I’ve learned a thing or two about editing these things.

I guess it is about time to take the helmet cam back out there on one of these rides and see how the video compares.  Thanks to everyone who has watched my little videos.  I know there are a lot of people reading the Spinners’ Yahoo! group.  The video had been watched only 300 times when the message went out.  By this morning the views had increased to 450.

Oh, and thanks for reading LowCadence.com!