Tag Archives: Web Fitton

Hello, Max Heart Rate

Today was Tyler Crotts’ last official Hour of Power ride before he heads off to Brevard College for the year.  I don’t think it will be his last Hour of Power for the year though.  I’m sure he’ll be coming back so his elders can help keep him humble.

I was still feeling the effects of Thursday night’s ride.  It was a tough one, and I didn’t sleep that well Thursday or Friday night.  I knew the alarm was about to go off before it rang.  After an inner battle, I finally rolled out so I could be there to kick Tyler’s you-know-what.

The first order of business was to pump up my tires that had been switched a bit.  I had taken my tires from my race wheel set and moved them to my training wheel set.  My regular riders were starting to show threads.  It seemed like a good idea to get some more out of the race tires while getting my race wheels all prepped with new rubber for the SC Road Race Championships.

Wouldn’t you know it… the tube exploded at 100 psi.  I didn’t have time to change the flat.  I just threw my front SL on the bike and headed for the shop.

Pulling up I found a good crowd ready to roll out!  There were several levels of riders represented.  Of course, the ones I noticed first were the number of Greenville Spinners Bicycle Race Team members.  Randy was bringing some reinforcements!

Hmmmm, John James was the only other POA guy there.  It would be just the two of us.  Oh boy, and there was Jeff Cash.  Tony was there as well, but he was riding his cross bike.  The sprints could be interesting today.  I’m sure Tyler would be gunning for one himself.

The first test came at the pee-tree sprint on Meece Bridge Road (click to see the infamous tree).  The Spinners started the train.  Looking ahead, I saw Jeff, Randy, and one other rider breaking away.  John was sitting holding a steady pace and letting them move.  I decided to bridge up so I could recover a bit before fighting it out.

I caught them and moved onto Jeff’s wheel.  He was the one I was watching out for.  The plan was to match his acceleration until we crested the small rise about 300 meters or so from the finish.  Then I would attack from third wheel.

It never happened.  John came flying around and Jeff jumped on his wheel.  I held my pace to let those two guys go for it.  I figured my chances were pretty good with John.  I might as well save myself for the next battle.

It came sooner than I thought it would!  Before I knew it we were pulling onto Grove Meadow Road.  This is the “pace-line road.”  It is a long stretch without stop signs.  We typically end up getting in a single line pace-line and move along at around 22 – 24 mph.

I got on the front first.  I figured I would get my pain out of the way early so I could recover before turning up the quarry road.  It worked like a charm.  As we turned onto Keller Road, I was about 10th and sat in for the next couple of minutes before we hit the bottom of the climb.

John started them up with a nice steady pace.  I stayed in my 53 and just launched a do-or-die attack from behind.  Looking back was not an option.  However, I know now that John picked up a “false” pace as though he was coming after me and others sat on his wheel.  It bought me some more time.

My goal was to stay in this attack mode until I reached the false flat.  I didn’t make it.  I had to shift down and recover about 50 meters from my target.  Later I noticed that my computer had me pegging 197 bpm at that point!

Once I did make it over the hump, I hazarded a glance behind and didn’t see anyone.  I was now moving at around 16 mph and trying to recover a bit.  Then I looked back again to see a lone rider coming up behind me.  It was Jeff.  He was just coming around this corner – this picture is from the vantage point about where I was.

No way was I going to give it up after suffering so much!  I grabbed some more gear and tried to stay over 20 mph. Thankfully, it worked and my go-for-broke attack paid off… but I’d say two matches went up in smoke at once with that one!

It took me until the State Park entrance sprint before I was recovered enough to give it another go.  Right away I messed up because I got separated from John’s lead out because I got caught behind some slower riders.  Things worked out though because the break came to a halt due to a car stopped in the middle of the road.

Seems that these folks stopped to talk to some people standing on the shoulder of the road.  As we came up on them and began to make our way around the stopped vehicle, we noticed that the people on the shoulder of the road were attempting to coax a pot-bellied pig to move out of the ditch.

The pig out of the way, we started ratcheting things up again.  I got on Jeff’s wheel as he was following Tyler.  Web Fitton and Randy Hutchison were also in the mix at that point.  However, as we hit the bottom of the climb… it was Tyler, Jeff, and me.

Then things got dicey – and it had nothing to do with a pig.  Jeff and I had momentum taking us right onto Tyler’s wheel.  I could see Jeff was getting ready to move on Tyler, but I realized I could get the jump on him by pinning him behind Tyler while I moved up the right side.

I made my move, but Tyler must have been aware of Jeff because he moved to the right.  That brought Jeff over to me and for a moment the three of us were bar-to-bar with me tight-rope-riding the white line.  Thankfully, none of us touched and Jeff and I drag raced for the line.

After that, John played spoiler for Art and took Oak Leaf.  On Nature Trail Jeff finished strong by holding off John.  We all rolled into the shop pretty tired, but with lots of stories to tell.

It was such a beautiful day, I decided to put in some extra miles and did an easy spin down Chick Springs to Main Street.  From there I did a couple laps of Cleveland Park and then went home.  A very profitable 45 mile morning.

Speaking of beautiful…  If you get a chance, click on the links I’ve placed in the post.  They are Google Street Views of some of the points on our ride.  Of course, these were taken in the winter, but if you play around with the views, you can get a good idea of the terrain and scenery that we get to enjoy around here.

Remember the joy of “just riding”

I have a confession to make.  My bike sat in the basement from Monday to this Saturday morning.  Actually, I didn’t even know where it was.  Was it in the basement or was it still in the back of the Suburban?

Thankfully the beautiful redhead was watching out for me and had moved the bike out of the truck to its spot downstairs.  I crawled out of bed with just enough time to wake up a bit and then go look at the Giant that was waiting for me in the darkness of the unfinished portion of basement.

It was unchanged.  I looked at it for a bit.  Did I really want to go out there?  Unlike a dog, the bike couldn’t wag its tail and act excited.  The desire to get back on that thing had to come from within me.  I’d like to say that at that moment the desire washed over me.  Nope.  What made me get on the bike was the realization that the guys were going to be waiting for me and I would soon be late.

My Saturday morning ride

My Saturday morning ride

It was the Sunshine Cycle Shop’s Hour of Power ride that I was leaving for.  Almost immediately after getting in the group I started to feel better.  Group riding isn’t just about how “I” feel – it is really like an organism.  Sometimes you can receive strength and encouragement from those around you.  Yes, on the flip side, it can also be a drain.  However, with these guys it is always good.

There is plenty of time for socializing as we ride easy during the “neutral” sections.  However, as we neared the first sprint of the day, John talked to Luis and me about the upcoming effort.  “Let’s do this like a race.  One of us go for it and the others cover any moves that come.”  Tony was nearby and I got the impression he figured something was up with those POA kits grouping together like that.

Sure enough he went uncharacteristically early.  Luis went with him.  “Oh good,” I thought.  “I don’t have to work on this one.”  John and I sat back to let Luis go man-on-man with Tony.  Just for good measure I did a short sprint to see how the legs would do.  Hmmmmm, not bad – at less than 100% I put out 1100+ watts.

Tony held off Luis at that point.  I determined he wasn’t going to get the next one.  That one would be the quarry road.  We made the left turn out of a pace line and then headed toward the base of the climb.  Bryant had taken the lead so he could get a head start up the climb.  I drafted off of him – he just never ceases to amaze me.

As the road kicked up, Web moved to the front and I sat on his wheel.  Earlier I told John I would try to stretch out the field and let him conserve for a final sprint at the top.  However, I had enough of a lead that as I went around a right hand bend that would obscure me from their view, I attacked in hopes that I could get a lead before they realized what happened.

Sure enough as I topped the false flat and made the left hand turn toward the uphill finish, I could not see anyone behind me.  I eased up to rest.  My heart rate was knocking on 180 bpm at this point and there was no need to make things worse.

I looked back again and here they came with Tony at the lead.  I picked up the pace just slightly.  There was a full on field sprint coming behind me!  I tried to time it so that I could go as slow as I could and still make it before the group.  As I was passing the finish, John came out of nowhere to take second.

The State Park finish was fun as usual.  Tony and I had another battle on that one.  It was one of the funnest of the day for me as it was neck and neck to the finish.  Mt. Mitchell hadn’t taken the kick out of my legs and I was able to barely hold Tony off.

Nature Trail has always been a climb I hate.  However, I’m finding that it is coming to me.  I started near the end of the group today and still managed to work my way up to finish 1-2-3 with John and Luis.  I’m starting to enjoy that little stretch of road.

At the top most of the guys headed toward the shop, but John and I headed toward Paris Mountain.  He was on his way home and I was enjoying riding so much that I didn’t want to call it a day quite yet.  We talked as we climbed Altamont and then separated as we neared his home on the way to Travelers Rest.

I went on to TR and stopped at Leopard Forest Coffee Shop.  It was nice to sit for a bit with a muffin and coffee checking my Twitter and e-mail (have I mentioned that I am LOVING my new iPhone?) before heading back home.

I hopped on the Swamp Rabbit Trail right there and started home.  I wanted to see how far I could go.  The trail went quite a ways out of TR, through the back of the Furman campus, and then finally to section where they said not to enter.

At that point I wasn’t sure where I was.  I turned in the general direction of Greenville and started pedaling.  This led me to Berea.  Things seemed a little more familiar as I continued until I got to Highway 25.  This was a section of Greenville I don’t frequent every often.

At long last I came upon a sign telling me that Greenville was only 3 miles away if I would just take a turn.  Otherwise, I would end up in Easley.  I made the turn and after a solid 3 hours on the bike I arrived at home after 53 miles.  I didn’t see that coming while I was looking at the Giant in the basement this morning!

Sometimes it just pays to get on your bike and ride.  No big event.  No big goal to train for.  Just ride.