Tag Archives: KOM

Standing on top of the world for a little while

If you are reading this update about yesterday’s blog post, then you know something good must have happened. Yep, I went out and bested Chris Uberti on the Lowndes Hill Road Climb. However, that was not the best part of the ride.

After posting yesterday, I dropped a gratuitous link onto Uberti’s twitter feed.

Chris saw the tweet and responded…

I knew then that I needed to get out there and give it a try. When Chris got back into town from racing, I figured he’d find his way over there on a training ride and actually attempt the climb at speed. I communicated my intentions.

@cuberti Well, I guess I’d better get out there and grab it before you get back in town. At least I could hold it for a few days.

So I headed out on my ride, but I didn’t ride in the direction of the segment. Instead, I headed toward Paris Mountain. It was such a beautiful day, I didn’t want to spend it slaving over a Strava segment. I’d save that for the way home. I’m glad I did. I got to enjoy this…

Click the image to see the full gallery on Facebook.

Click the image to see the full gallery on Facebook.

Ultimately, that lead me back to Lowndes Hill Road. Since I had ridden at a leisurely pace, I felt I stood a pretty good chance of laying down a good time. It was time to give it a go. I had my doubts as I started getting up to speed.

This was the first time I had turned my legs at this pace since the start of the ride. They didn’t feel very snappy. When I hit the first portion of the climb, I couldn’t quite read my body. I knew I was spinning at a good cadence. It seemed that I was putting out decent power.

Still, I felt kind of bogged down. I found myself dropping into the seat and then telling myself to get back up and keep my momentum. At one point as I was digging toward the top, I could tell there was a car behind me. However, I just held my line and kept plugging. Thankfully, I think the driver could tell I what I was trying to do and they did not crowd me or go into a road rage.

Honestly, when I reached the top, I didn’t know how I might have done. I figured that I had to have improved over my last time, but it could have been by only a fraction. I’d have to get home before I could know the answer.

My Garmin 1000 uploaded my data as soon as I stopped the ride in my driveway. So, by the time I got off my bicycle, the Strava activity was active. I brought it up on my phone. I could see one trophy in the ride summary. That was a good thing.

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I scrolled down to the last listed segment and there is was… the KOM crown! Next I took a look at the time: One minute and twenty-nine seconds. I now held a 2 second lead over Chris.

On my effort 10 days ago, I averaged 22.2 mph over the half mile. It took an average of 539 watts over 1:32 to record that speed. I think a key thing I take from this is that my average cadence for that attempt was 69 rpm with my highest effort being 95 rpm.

I gained 3 seconds on that attempt with yesterday’s effort. I averaged 22.9 mph over the distance with an average of 593 watts. My cadence was definitely a difference maker. I averaged ¬†82 rpm during the effort and got up to 114 rpm at one point.

Could I do it faster? Actually, I think I could. However, I’m not sure how significant it would be. I can just see that I really dropped off toward the end instead of pushing through. Of course, that is the story of my life!

Now it is time to see what Chris can do…

Well, that didn’t take long

I was in a meeting at mid afternoon when the Beautiful Redhead texted me to invite me to a dinner with the cast of a play she is acting in this summer. Their plan was to have a quick dinner and then do a table reading. My plan was to join her for the food and then head out on the Felt. I had some work to do.

The menu consisted of hamburgers and hotdogs with fixings, potato salad, chips, and strawberries. I downed the grilled burger and about a third of a hotdog along with potato salad and chips. I topped it off with three strawberries. After thanking the host and kissing my wife goodbye, I headed back home to prep for my ride.

I rolled off shortly after 6PM. My plan was to make my way out to the scene of a thief. As you may recall from yesterday’s blog, John James had called me out in the street at noon for a shootout over a Strava segment. He had stolen the Walker Wimps segment from me by one second.

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Came upon Towmater while riding my route.

First I had to get my brain to sort out how best to get to the scene of the crime. I typically come upon this segment while riding with the Sunshine Cycle Shop Saturday morning ride. I don’t even need to think about how to wind my way through the Hour of Power route. However, when I tried to navigate¬†my way there via a more direct route, it took a little bit for me to get it clear in my head.

That done I found myself on Locust Hill Road nearing the area of the segment. It was then I regretted my dinner. You see, I sometimes have a bad problem with acid reflux. Char grilled meat is something I love, but something that doesn’t return the charity!

I’ll spare you the details, but I’ll just say that I had to pull over to the side of the road and relieve some of the acid (what is it, bile?) from my stomach. Actually, I didn’t have a choice. My stomach made me pull over!

Anyway, with that done, I was starting to feel much better. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to carry out my plan, but as I neared Walker Road, I was feeling the best I had since starting the ride. I decided to give it a go.

Paris Mountain in the distance. Home is on the other side.

Paris Mountain in the distance. Home is on the other side.

My plan was to go as hard as I could in my 53×11. I could then evaluate that performance and return another time to go for winning back my KOM. I was guessing I would need to go up a bit on my cassette to get my best time. After making the adjustments, I could return with my GoPro and use the attempt as one of my Strava Segment videos. It’s always good to get the KOM when you’re recording it.

The battlefield. The segment starts at the bridge and ends around the turn at the top of the hill.

The battlefield. The segment starts at the bridge and ends after the turn at the top of the hill.

I rolled down and hit the flat portion over the bridge. So far so good. I felt strong coming into the first part of the grade. I had no idea how much wattage I was putting out. That would be discovered later. It wasn’t until about two thirds up the climb that I started to feel bogged down in my gearing.

In my mind I thought, “Well, here is where I’ll lose it. I’m not keeping my momentum very well.” Still, I kept trying to grind to the finish and then through the finish. Immediately, I knew if I was going to go any faster, it was going to be done through technique and not effort! I had given it a pretty good go.

From there, I took it easy back toward home. My mind was wondering what the results of the effort might be. It then turned to the beauty around me. The final portion of the ride was in the cool of the evening with the sun beginning to set.

Coming over Piney Mountain Road toward home.

Coming over Piney Mountain Road toward home.

Coming over Piney Mountain Road, I stopped at Pleasantburg and looked toward the west. Right where the sun was beginning to slip behind the hill was the knoll where George Hincapie’s house is located. I wondered what his view might be of the sun setting over Paris Mountain casting its shadows toward Greenville’s skyline.

About that time I heard the sound of a well maintained bicycle coming up behind me. It was Matt Tebbetts. He had just come over the mountain and was delayed because he had to stop to help a motorcyclist who had wiped out going too fast down the east side. It made me thankful I had made it this far safely.

We rolled off talking and I mentioned I was sorry I couldn’t stay with him when we formed a break during the Tuesday night training race. “Oh, not a problem,” he said. “I’m just glad you’re back.”

At home, I loaded the data up to Strava from my Garmin. This happens automatically as soon as my Garmin connects to my wireless network. I then log in to the Strava app on my phone to change the name and adjust any details about the activity. Before I could even do that, I got a notice I had received a Kudo for the ride. When I did log in I found a crown graphic.

Click to see the full leader board.

Click to see the full leaderboard.

Turns out on my test run, I had won back my KOM by one second. It was kind of fun to toss it back at John. I imagine it won’t be long before he’ll be gunning for it. It will be fun trying to defend it. Yeah, I guess I am “back.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I like the way it feels.