Tag Archives: Donaldson Center

Okay, I compromised

Yesterday I blogged about my rest week.  Rest is relative, right?  I mean Tuesday’s mean the Tuesday Night World Championships at Donaldson Center.

Yep, I showed up.  However, my thinking was that we only have a couple more opportunities to ride out there before the time change.  I enjoy being out there not just for the riding, but to be with the cycling community.

Not only that, but I figured I could call it a rest ride if I behaved myself and didn’t go tearing off the front.  My plan was to sit in and just do half the laps.  I would then spin my way to the finish for the final one.  That should be a good compromise.

The group decided on four laps.  A couple guys wanted to squeeze in five, but they were over ruled.  Looked like it would be two at speed laps for me.

It was pretty uneventful.  I did sit in in most cases.  The problem I had is I kept getting caught out in the wind on some sections of the course.  I knew where the wind was coming from, but still couldn’t manage to get in the right position.  That caused me some extra work.

The pace was pretty high starting about halfway through the first lap.  I was pretty proud of myself for the way I didn’t get carried away on that first lap.  I entered the second on feeling pretty good.

The speed had the group starting to string out and there were little breaks and chase groups forming during the second lap.  Near the end of it I was in a group that was chasing a rather large group of riders between us and the break.  I did come to the front at this point in order to help pull over to them.

We were going uphill and I was trying to put out a steady tempo that would still bring us up to the riders ahead.  However, after making some good progress early on it seemed like I couldn’t close the deal.  We were stuck with a 30 meter gap or so.  It was at that point my legs reminded me they hadn’t done this in awhile.

Some other riders started to move around me and do the work.  I slowly slipped back.  This was near the end of the first part of my plan anyway.  Suddenly, I felt a hand on the base of my back.  A rider behind (was that you Andy?) gave me a major push – I mean enough to push me past some riders.

Well, I wasn’t going to just pull over after that.  So, I worked my way back in.  It is amazing how that once you get gapped how hard it is to get back in.  Just a short distance can really put you over the red line.  However, if you can just make contact with the group, you will be surprised how your fortunes change.

Rather than go spitting out the back, I was now back in the group and continued to hold the pace until we passed the golf course.  At that point, I knew I needed to back off.  It was an easy ride in from there.  Even better was I came across some friends toward the end and we rode in together.

I think it was a good compromise.

9 days left to help me raise $5000.
$1115 raised so far to fight cancer.
Give to my fight today!

Punch drunk

One of the enduring aspects of the Rocky Balboa character was that he never won with good technique.  The boxer, played by Sylvester Stallone, would basically wear his opponent down and frustrate them by presenting himself as a human punching bag.  Well, last night, I was Rocky the Rider.

Going into the ride I had no plan except to try to stay near the front.  By the end of the first lap of five at Donaldson Center, I was sitting on the front.  The “warm-up” lap went easy until we were past the golf course.  Then things picked up and I’m not even sure exactly how I ended up pulling through.

I moved over to the right to let those behind me go.  I moved over to the  left to allow someone to pull through.  Finally, I just sat up and rode at my own pace.  At last someone moved up in front of me.

The second lap was more of the first.  I was trying to stay near my teammate Reece.  Chances were that if a break formed, he would be in it.  I had delusions of being there with him.  We were behind about four other riders when he said, “You can go with any of these guys.”  What he meant was these were the riders who could start a break and make it stick.  Later he told me they were all pro/1/2 riders.

Toward the end of the lap – just over the railroad tracks – Brian Flinte and I bumped as we were wanting the same piece of real estate behind a particular wheel.  It was no big deal.  Our hips bumped a bit, but we both kept it under control.

Of course, behind us, you would think the world was coming to an end.  “Whoa!” “Watch it!” etc.  I heard Pappy grumbling behind me.  I felt like turning around and saying, “Right, and you guys have never bumped into anyone?”

It never pays to let something like that get to you.  Pappy came around me and pulled in between myself and John James, whose wheel I was trying to stay on.  Then coming out of the dip up the hill to the fire station, he just up and took off after a couple of riders that had broken away.

Jumping on his wheel I made the stupid decision to follow him up.  Why?  I don’t know.  I guess it was because I was going to annoy him.  The two of us actually got a gap on the field and neared the two riders ahead before Glenn moved over.  I pulled the short remaining distance.

When I got there, one of the riders sat up while the other one counter-attacked.  No way was I going to be able to go with that one.  As a matter of fact, my thought to myself was, “Why on earth did I do that?”  It wasn’t long before we were overtaken.

That began my Rocky impression.  I would move into the front riders and mix it up – sometimes pulling and one time attacking in hopes that the field would stretch and Reece with his pals could go off the front.  However, I would expend a bit too much energy and have to slide back to recover.  As I did, invariably I would come near John James.  He said the same thing every time, “Don’t go any further back.”

The good news is that each time I was able to work my way back to the front.  Finally, in the fourth lap, I decided to back off a bit.  I knew I only had about three matches in my matchbook.  Two of them had already gone up in flames.  I needed one for the end.

I settled in behind Paul Mills knowing his wheel would be a safe one and one that could guide me through the crowd.  The end came and I was pretty far back – probably thirty riders were in front of me.  However, I was feeling pretty good as we started into the dip.  Coming around on the left side I was making up ground quickly.

By the time we reached the buildings, the line was strung out and there were only fifteen or so riders ahead of me.  I was joined by my teammate Matt Tebbetts.  Once we reached the fire station, I determined I was not going to take the first position and I sat up.

It was a fun night!  A couple times I was encouraged by the reaction of riders around me.  The first time was as we were finishing the first lap.  I was kind of staggered out to the side of a line.  From behind me I heard the voice of a local pro saying, “Come on in the line, Jonathan.”

Later in the evening I got pinched over to the side of the road.  I had to move over and then over and finally I went in the grass.  It was tricky getting back on because the asphalt was several inches high at that point.  Once again, I heard a voice, “Come back in, Jonathan.”  Someone was opening a spot for me to get back in.

If you ever ride in a competitive group, you will understand why it meant a lot to me to have the guys do that.  I try my best to be courteous and not over react when someone does something stupid around me.  I’d like to think that those feelings are reciprocated when I do something immature.

The State Road Race is the next thing on my agenda.  I’ll be taking it easy in the next POA crit (is that possible?).  If I’m riding as well then as I was last night, I think that I will have a pretty good chance at a nice finish in Fork Shoals.  Well, that is unless I go and pull a Rocky Balboa!

Helmet video from Tuesday Night World Championships

Here is some video from last night’s Tuesday Night World Championships held at Donaldson Center in Greenville.  Sorry there won’t be much text today.  I simply don’t have time to peck it out.

Hope you enjoy the video.  Next time I’ll try to make sure that I push it back on my helmet a little more.  For the most part, it works well enough.

It was an unusual night because of all the wind.  I will have to say that I felt much better.  I still didn’t finish strong, but there did seem to be some improvement in my fitness.

It was the worst of times. It was the best of times.

I rushed out of work to throw my bike into the back seat of the convertible and head out to Donaldson Center for the Tuesday Night World Championships. The big question of the night was whether I would have the legs to hang with the A group for the six laps planned for the evening. What happened was I learned some valuable lessons.

The first lap seemed to be slower than normal.  This made me happy because I didn’t have time to warm up.  However, I determined it wouldn’t matter anyway.  Even if some riders attempted a break on the first lap, I was going to do nothing about it.

That first lap was just under 19 minutes, but things picked up in the second one.  We knocked two minutes off the first lap time.  It was on this lap that I started to learn my first lesson of the night and experienced the “worst of times.”

A break had formed and I was sitting about fifth wheel in a chase group.  My teammate, Reece, was up there with about six other riders.  My group crossed the tracks and slowed.  It was at that point I made the mistake of becoming a strategist.

I looked at the riders around me and determined that if the opportunity presented itself, I could attack, create a gap, and then bridge over to the break to join Reece.  The pace line fell apart and I was near the front.  I accelerated and the rider next to me responded but miss shifted.  I then sprinted and got the gap I was wanting.

The problem was 1) I got caught out in no man’s land.  I got a gap on the riders behind me, but could not seem to close the deal with the break ahead of me.  What to do?  Do I continue fighting to join them or do I back off and go back to the chasers? 2) I created a gap on the riders that were around me.  However, there were some stronger riders sitting behind them.  They were able to come around and then get on my wheel.

By the time I got within 10 yards or so of the break, these stronger riders started to come around me.  As they passed, almost to a man they looked over at me.  My mind interpreted their glances as saying, “Why did you do that?”  I had just pulled the field up to the break and shut down the chances of my teammate.

This was confirmed when on the third lap Reece came by me and looking back said, “I buried myself to get up in that break and then I look back and see you bringing the field.  What’s up with that?”  I could tell he was not happy.  I didn’t blame him and spent the next several minutes with my tail between my legs.

It obviously got into my head because a little over half way through that lap my teammate John came up and put an arm around my shoulder.  “Relax,” he said.  “You are tense. It is making you weave.  Take it easy.” It was just what I needed.  I relaxed my shoulders and arms and tried to focus on putting the energy into my legs.

I was praying by this point that Reece would get into another break.  Finally, in the fourth and fifth laps a break formed.  Not only was Reece there, but John had also pulled himself into the group.

That left Mark, Louis, Randy, and me in the main field.  There was no way I was going to try to bridge to the break!  It was then that I started to experience the “best of times.”  We four riders started to mix in with any chase attempts to confuse their rhythm.  The first concerted effort came from the Spinx riders.  Mark and I slipped into their pace line and tried to slow them without actually blocking them.

It is harder than it sounds.  You want to slow any attacks, but you don’t want to just get in front of them and stop.  I tried to get into a rotation and when I pulled through hold a controlled pace that was slightly slower than the chasers.  At other times, I would hang back off the back of their rotation and just let them do the work.

This continued with various individual riders and teams as we completed lap five and continued into lap six. It was funny, but I didn’t even think about how I was feeling.  It was so much fun working with my teammates to help extend the gap for Reece and John.

Of course, going into the sixth lap I started arguing with myself, “Ok, you’ve done your work, just go ahead and sit up.”  That was the wimpy side of me.  “Don’t quit.  You’ve been doing that a lot lately. Suffer to the end.” That was the competitive part of me.  The later won out.

That sixth lap was tough at the beginning.  Knowing the break was safe and we were now racing amongst ourselves, it was taking a bit more effort.  However, the farther I got into the lap, the better I started to feel. By the time we started the climb toward the finish, I was moving right along with the leaders.

Overall, it was a great night.  Even in my mistakes, I learned some valuable lessons. I do fear that I might be getting the reputation for being the idiot that chases down all the breaks.  Several times I would be in a group and a rider or two would look over at me with a look of expectation on their faces.  It was as though they were expecting me to start an attack.

Thankfully, I learned my lesson and was able to disappoint them while Reece brought home a third place.

Wish I could see myself as some others do

This weekend is the French Broad River Classic.  It is a race in Asheville, North Carolina.  It is my plan to participate in the road race.

This year is supposed to be a pretty tough course.  There are supposed to be several climbs of over three miles.  The course covers about 40 miles.

I’m not thinking that much about it.  I’ve kind of changed my approach to racing.  I had started out the year trying to arrange my riding schedule around the races.  Now I am being less strict with my riding leading up to a race.

The reason is because I was starting to lose the fun of riding.  I’ve always tried to take the approach that I race to ride – I don’t ride to race.  It doesn’t mean that I don’t want to win.  It does mean that for the amount of time I ride, it doesn’t make sense to spend it worrying about the few races I attempt.

So, Monday night I put out my effort on Paris Mountain.  Tuesday night I jumped in for several laps in the 25.5 mph A group for just under 30 miles.  Thursday I want to ride with my pals.  Friday I’ll head up to Asheville and do some spinning there.  Then Saturday I’ll give it my best shot.

I’ve had plenty of people asking me if I was planning on doing the race.  They keep saying that I’ll do very well – that it is “your kind of course.”  I’m not sure how to respond.  It has been so long since I have participated in a road race, I don’t know what is going to happen.

It is more fun to think about last night’s ride.  It was a hot night at Donaldson Center.  I figured I would give it a good push for the early part and then pull off toward the end.

Things got started early.  In the first lap a group attacked.  I was coming up behind Kirk Flinte and since he had Tweeted earlier that there wouldn’t be anyone getting away, I joked with him that they were getting away and he needed to go get them.  Well, he did!

I got on his wheel with several other riders.  Kirk pulled us for a massive amount.  Then I rotated up to the front and pulled us to the tail end of the breakaway.  The usual suspects came through and I jumped on their wheels.  Not smart.  I couldn’t hang on.

I ended up helping to pull back two more breaks in the first two laps.  In the third lap I started to slip back through the field and crossed the start finish near the tail end.  Then I just took a final lap to wind down.

The way I plan to approach these Tuesday night rides, I’ll get up there in the front and try to stay with the Cat 1 and 2 riders as long as I can.  Sure, I’ll get dropped, but each time I may be able to stay up there a little longer.

Besides, it might make those Cat 4 road races seems a bit easier.

My first unofficial time trial

Happy Independence Day! Of course, for us cyclists it is hard to believe that on a day like this our thoughts turn to France — the Tour De France.  Okay, so it actually starts in Monaco.  It is a city-state and not really France.

I’ll be catching the Tour action in the morning, riding some in the afternoon, and then having a great Fourth of July celebration with my family in the evening.  Yes, I will be back on my bike.  I made it back on yesterday for a 2 hour, 35 mile long ride.  I’m looking forward to getting out again.

Yesterday’s ride was one of those rides where I started out at my driveway not sure what I was going to do.  I wasn’t sure how my neck and back would hold up, so I was going to feel my way along.  I just knew the old body needed to get on the bike.

Almost immediately, the legs sent the message that they were happy.  My neck gave me no pain at all.  My right shoulder and back were not quite as happy.  However, it was nothing really painful – more like just uncomfortable.

As I rolled I loosened up more and more.  Before long I found myself heading through Cleveland Park and over to Augusta Road.  It came into my mind to ride over to Donaldson Center and put out an effort on the Time Trial course.  It would be interesting to see the time I managed.

Forty minutes after leaving the house, I rolled up to the start/finish line.  I took off hoping I might end up with a surprising time.  Something in the back of my mind was telling me I was starting out too fast.  However, that first downhill gets you going thinking you can get some good speed that will help your average later.

I was really feeling pretty good until I turned there where the country route leaves Perimeter Road.  That put me into a headwind.  Things suddenly got hard.  I kept trying to hold my speed as best I could.  However, by the time I started to climb up to the golf course where the turn around is, I was putting along.

Turning around I felt better.  This was the direction we normally head when we are doing the Tuesday Night World Championships.  There was something comforting about knowing exactly what was ahead — right down to the road surface.

I know I gave about as much as I had.  As I finished the course I had that not so happy feeling in my stomach that you get when you put out a hard effort.  My Garmin told me that my CinQo had recorded an average wattage of 294.  My time? 26.05.

There is time to gain.  First, I was not 100%.  As I finished my neck felt pretty good, but my right shoulder and my mid-back was moving out of the uncomfortable zone into the annoying ache zone.  I also had not planned on doing this, so I had not fueled up with a TT in mind.  My parfait and muffin wasn’t exactly giving me the boost I would hope.

I think I can get it up to a 300 watt average.  That should put me somewhere between 23 and 24 mph for the course.  That should get me under 26 minutes.  I would love to go out on August 6 and lay down a near 25 minute TT effort.  That wouldn’t be so bad on a road bike.

Trust you will have a wonderful day.  Don’t forget to really celebrate our country — not just the long weekend.  If you are an American, you have much to be thankful for.  I know that American Exceptionalism is frowned upon by the sophisticated of our day.  However, I never claimed to be a very cosmopolitan kind of guy.  I think we live in the greatest country on earth – even if we don’t have the Tour De France.

Someday I will do a time trial

This evening was earmarked for the Greenville Spinners Time Trial at Donaldson Center.  Word is it is a fun evening of opportunities for both serious and beginner time trial riders to complete the race of truth.  At least, that is what I hear.  I’ve never been able to make it to one.

That was going to change tonight.  However, my accident Tuesday night has left me without a bike and with a very sore neck and back.  I tried tucking in a aerodynamic position and my head let me know that it just wasn’t going to happen.  It hurts too much to hold my head up.

If you get a chance to get out there, do it.  The time trials are held at the same location as the Tuesday night rides.  However, the TT course sends riders out in the opposite direction on Perimeter Road.  You go out 5 miles and then turn around to come back.

Your time will be compared with other riders at your skill level.  There is a Pro/1/2/3 group, a Cat 4/5 group, as well as groups for Masters 50+, Women, Juniors, and a Merckx division.  That last one is where I probably would end up.  I don’t have any aerodynamic gear or a TT specific bike.  In the Merckx division, none of that stuff is allowed.

I’m sure it will be fun for all.  You do have to be a member of the Spinners to compete.  Not a Spinner?  Why not? Membership is $25 dollars.  You can have the benefits of membership, support cycling in the Upstate, and have access to tonight’s TT as well as the final one of the year on August 6th.

Hopefully, nothing will come up to keep me away from that one!

Am I ever thankful for my helmet!

I’m writing this late Tuesday evening because I’m not certain if I’ll be able to get out of the bed in the morning.

Things started out very well. After arriving at Donaldson Center for the Tuesday Night World Championships, I met up with some of my teammates. A group of them were about to go out on the country route. This is a route that does not follow the normal Perimeter Road circuit. They called to me to join them.

I started to follow, but then remembered that Reece was in the house and I was feeling pretty good. It would be very hard to pass up mixing it up in the A Group tonight. Finally, I decided to turn around and head back to the main group. Part of me is glad I did. Another part of me wishes I hadn’t.

Several of us POA guys were on the front to begin. I figured that if we were up there, we could pedal as slow as we wanted! That didn’t last long as some others came around and picked up the pace. By the time we were over the railroad tracks and headed for the start/finish there was an organized move to get away.

I worked to help bring that group back after a short time and tried to stay up near the front of any chase group. Most times one of my guys – normally Randy or Reece would be up in the break. As soon as one break would get caught another POA rider would attack with the next group to go off the front. During the evening, I only went off on one of those.

The rest of the time I was sitting on riders who were trying to chase back my teammates. It was in the process of this that I learned something about cycling I did not know. It was a good thing to file away for the future.

I have learned that when you have a teammate up the road, you don’t do anything to help close the gap. At the same time, you have to be aware of riders who are dangerous to your teammate. Say, if a Spinx guy starts to bridge across and he already has a Spinx rider up in the break, you don’t want him to get up there and turn the odds in their favor.

You handle this by not working with him as he attempts to bridge over. You also want to be in position so that if he does manage to bridge over, you are there to help even the odds. There really aren’t any written rules about this, but there are some unspoken rules of etiquette. That is what I learned tonight.

I had Hank up in a break about halfway around the circuit. A Barley rider and Steve Baker (Hincapie) were working hard to get across the gap. I was not wanting to help in any way. However, I knew if either of them made it up there, I would need to be there to help Hank. So, I sat on them.

This was the right tactic. However, I what I didn’t realize was I was violating the unspoken rule of etiquette. I was getting in the middle of their rotation. As the Barley rider came by me once he yelled, “Pull through! Don’t be afraid of the wind!” I yelled back, “I’m not going to help you pull my man back.” I wanted to come back with the fact that I had already done my time in the wind. “Well, if you are going to sit on then at least go back and sit on fifth,” he replied.

Here is were race awareness comes to play. As far as I knew, it was only the three of us. They were the only two I was aware of around me. I didn’t realize there was a fifth rider! Even if it was only the three of us, I should have hung back in third place and let them know I wasn’t going to help them.

Hey, I’m still learning. One thing is for sure, I don’t want to be one of those guys no one wants to ride around because he is either dangerous or a jerk. I learned a lesson and I’ll try to follow it next time. I do have to add though that I won’t be intimidated.

Speaking of being a dangerous rider. On the fifth lap I slipped back a bit as I had Hank, Matt, and Reece up ahead of me. I was tired from covering all those moves through the race. However, I was satisfied that my team had good numbers. I got on the tail end of a string of riders to recover some for the last lap. Unfortunately, I realized too late and I had latched onto a slowing group!

A gap formed and I tried to come around and catch them. Soon I was stuck in no-mans land with one other rider. I don’t know who she was, but she was stout! The two of us kept digging to see what might happen. I kept hoping that the group might slow as a break will sometimes do when it is larger.

As we went through the dip at the bottom of the hill leading up to the start/finish I could see the group nearing the top. I decided to just put my head down and put out a good cadence and if I had them in sight as we began the final lap, I would give it one more push. I started off taking the lead.

As we began the climb, I heard the rider following me let out a gasp of air. It distracted me for a moment and I started thinking that soon, I might be all alone. I looked down at my computer to see if I was to far into the red zone. It was at that moment I heard her say, “Watch ou…!” She didn’t even get the “out” out when I slammed into a cyclist in front of me.

I was going 20 mph at the moment I hit him. My wheel rode up the left side of his rear wheel. It flipped my bike up over it and I was slammed down on my right shoulder. My head followed and I felt the pain in my neck as it whipped to the ground and my head bounced off the asphalt. For a moment everything was spinning, but I never blacked out.

Before long there were riders around me. They asked me if I was okay. I told them to grab my leg. The only thing that was hurting right at that moment was my right calf that was seizing with a cramp! We got that under control and I stood. Wow! No blood. I think the reason why is because I didn’t slide at all. It was just a body slam into the pavement.

My helmet was busted in the back. Looking inside, I could see where the material had a crack across the inside. My jersey was just a little roughed up on the right shoulder. My left brake lever was broken – though the shifter still worked. Only thing I can figure is when I went down, I grabbed the shifter and broke it. Besides that the bar was askew. I’m really hoping my steer tube was not bent. As for the carbon frame and fork? Not a bit of damage. Not even a scratch. I was amazed.

I apologized to the guy I ran into and helped him make sure his bike was okay. Again, amazingly, it was just fine. Most thankfully, so was he!

Another lesson learned. No matter how hard you are digging. Don’t assume you know what is happening ahead of you. Always look out at least 10 feet in front. What happened to me was I looked up and saw the group. What I didn’t realize was that it was made up of two groups – the A Group breakaway and some C Group riders returning from the country route. I took off after the faster group and didn’t look up again thinking they were the only ones ahead of me. I found out otherwise.

I made my way to my car and just sat on the back staring at the ground. I felt like I had been beat up and I was very embarrassed by my accident. I was about to mist up, I felt so bad. Then Reece came by and told me that the POA guys had pulled off the win! There were enough guys up front to help get Reece to the line.

What is it they say? All’s well the ends well.

Good night.

Take a video ride around Donaldson Center

On any given Tuesday night during the summer months you will find hundreds of cyclists gathering for the Tuesday Night World Championships at Donaldson Center in Greenville, South Carolina.  Some are there for speed.  Some are there for a leisure ride.  All are there to enjoy the company of their fellow cyclists.

I’m pretty hooked on the A group ride.  This is a ride that circles Perimeter Road – a seven mile access road surrounding the Donaldson Center complex.  It is the fastest ride of the several options available.  In the video to follow we completed five laps and held an average speed of just under 27 mph.

This ride and the Donaldson Center complex factors in to many of my LowCadence.com blog entries.  You can see some of the past entries here.  I think it is safe to say that this event is an integral part of the Greenville cycling community.

The two videos below are an unedited record of one lap at Donaldson Center.  It is the second lap of a five lap ride.  This means it will not be one of the fastest or most interesting laps.  As I mention in the video, it isn’t for entertainment.  It is for the education of folks wondering about the ride – how long is it? What terrain does it cover?

First half of the second lap of a five lap ride

Second half of the second lap of a five lap ride

My future plans are to record an entire final lap and then edit it to show some of the race strategy involved in an A group ride.  Then I would like to do some video of the “country ride” that starts out at Donaldson and then goes out into the surrounding countryside.

If at first you don’t succeed, fail again.

I’m starting to think that it just isn’t to be for me to get any decent video from the Tuesday Night World Championships at Donaldson Center.  If it isn’t one thing with my VholdR helmet camera, it is another.  Last night’s ride was no different.

Weather.com was showing that the winds were around 16 mph.  That means that at Donaldson they were probably even higher.  Still, there was no rain and a good number of riders showed up for the loops around the complex.

Once again the pace picked up again about midway through the first lap.  I’m thinking some of this has to do with the fact that we are currently only doing 5 laps of the 7 mile or so course.  The more serious riders hit it right from the start.  Probably as the summer comes and the laps increase that first lap will slow a bit.

My plan was to hang around in the field for several laps and then bow out.  With the race coming up on Thursday night, I wanted to leave this night with my legs feeling like they had a good workout – but not fatigued.  My other objective was to get a full lap of Perimeter Road on my camera.

I did great with my first objective.  Before the first lap ended the field was strung out.  The wind was beating us up.  A couple of times I got hung out on the windward side of the group and found myself having to lean against the crosswind to keep from getting blown over.

Still, I hung in there through that point where I wanted to quit.  My legs came to me and going into the second lap I was feeling much better.  I was holding my own and finding ways to escape some of that wind.

On that lap I decided to start on objective number two.  I reached up and flipped on my VholdR… or so I thought.  Once again my attempt was foiled by the camera.

One of the problems I have with the device is the door that covers the power switch and MiniSD card slot.  When the camera in mounted on my helmet, I have to reach up and slide the large switch back.  I like the switch because it is large, but the way the cover on the back is arranged it is very easy to slide it out of position at the same time you are sliding the record switch.

Sometimes when that happens I can just put the cover back on and we are good to go.  Other times (like last night) it turns the camera off.  I guess this wouldn’t be that big of a deal except when you are riding in a pack and getting dropped isn’t an option, you can’t stop to take your helmet off and check on things.

For that whole second lap I focused on keeping my head up so I could get the best shots.  It was a pretty good lap.  I felt like I was making up for last week’s poor video journal.  This lap would give folks a really good idea of what it is like to do Donaldson!  If only…

Satisfied that I had gotten what I needed I headed into the third lap just getting a workout.  There were certain portions of the course that had me about ready to croak, but I knew that things would get easier in other parts.  I easily made it around with the main field.

I then pulled off and called it a night.  There was a time when I wouldn’t have done that.  I would have felt like I had to do every lap.  Now days I know what I need and have nothing I feel I need to prove by running myself into the ground.

At home after the discouragement of finding out that the second lap was not recorded, I had the encouragement of seeing my power numbers for the ride.  My peak 20 minute power was 290 watts.  That is nearly 20 watts higher than my previous high.  The even better news was that I didn’t feel that I was working any harder.  Just maybe my fitness is starting to come to me.

Sorry there is no video.  I will try again.  I’ve got all summer to finally get that elusive Donaldson Center lap!