Sunday, June 28, 2009

To Do / Metric

With all the rain and thunderstorms over the past few weeks quite a few rides got skipped. Like yesterday. There were lots of things on my to do list, including a bike ride, but when the time came a severe thunderstorm rolled through and no ride. No such problem today, the ride was at the top of the list. One thing yesterday's storms did was reduce the humidity, so even though today was hot, it wasn't too uncomfortable. At about the forty mile mark I still felt pretty good so I went for a metric century, and completed it. That gives me three rides over 100k in the past month and a half. Today's, in miles, was exactly 63 with an average of 17.1 mph..

Miles for the month so far are 392.67. If the weather holds I may get one more in before we flip another page on the calendar.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Race City

If you are going to have a race, what better place than Race City, USA. AKA Mooresville. Of course it's called Race City because almost all of the NASCAR Sprint Cup teams are based there. But it's a nice place for a bike race too. The course covered four city blocks, so it was a nice rectangle, with four 90 degree corners. Slightly downhill from the start line to the first turn, then a little more than slightly downhill all the way to turn three where all of the downhill suddenly turned into a 5% uphill grade. All of the descent was gotten back between turns three and four.

Here is the start of the men's Cat 4 race

Cat 4 men going through turn one

The start of my race.

Since almost all my riding is on open rural roads the only 90 degree corners I get to take at speed are in Fogleman Acres. They are part of every ride I take. There are four of them and they are taken at around 23 mph. Getting through the corners of the race course didn't pose much of a problem, but not ever riding in groups meant I wasn't comfortable going into at least the first one in the pack. So, I simply went to the back at the start.

Me being drafted

At the end of the first lap me and a couple of other riders were only about thirty or forty feet from the back of the main group. Thinking I could get to that group on the downhill back straight before they got any further away, I passed the two riders in front of me. I was wrong. Worse than that, now I had my main competitor for the win on my wheel. After a couple of laps it was apparent that he was happy to stay there. He also told me he didn't think he'd make it at that speed. I didn't say anything, because I was breathing too hard to talk, so I knew for sure if I did make it, I'd finish second. If he could talk and I couldn't three laps into the race, I was a sitting duck.

Now, I pay attention when I watch the races on TV, so I did the only thing I could. I started slowing down. I had to get him in front of me so I could rest a bit. It took a couple of laps, but finally I almost stopped at the top of the climb and he didn't really have any choice but to pass me. Finally I had a chance to get my breathing and heart rate back under control. I stayed behind him for two laps, then halfway down the back straight I accelerated, went all the way to the other side of the road and passed him one more time. When I looked back, which wasn't until I crested the hill leading onto the front straight, I had about a ten foot gap. From that point on I pulled away. It turned out I had made the move at exactly the halfway point in the race. I am not sure how big a gap I had by the end, but I think it might have been the entire length of the straight. If I had known that during the race I'd have slowed a bit, but now I know I can go at maximum effort for a full thirty minutes.

Anyway, I won.

And I'd like to do it again....

Sunday, June 21, 2009

A Few Stats

A few quick stats from todays race:
Total miles: 10.95
Average speed: 20
Total time: 32.52.9
Max speed: 28.1
Heartrate: average 169, max, 184.

It is nice to win two in a row. Last year it was novice, this year it was Cat5, and it wasn't easy, but it sure was fun! More to follow, but I need to work on speed now, I have plenty of endurance.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Got One In

It hasn't rained now for, I don't know, 14 hours or so. It hasn't just been raining it has been RAINING! Flash flood type downpours every day, along with thunderstorms. So, no riding has been done since I managed to squeeze one in last Sunday. I wasn't planning much of a week anyway, since I'm planning on racing in the NC State Games on Sunday, but I did want to stay on the bike. Finally, tonight, there was only a 49% chance of rain, and when I looked at the weather map, nothing at all in the area. So off I went.

Now, for the past few years, about ever since I started riding, we have been in a drought here. That seems to have ended now, and one thing I had forgotten was just how humid an NC summer really is. When I left for my ride it was, according to the thermometer in the car, 92 degrees, and, according to the Weather Channel, 67% humidity. Don't know if either was right, but it sure was sticky. By the time I got in 25.15 miles at an average of 17.2, I was soaked. I've been dryer coming home after riding in the rain. Still, though, it was a nice ride.
Probably going to get a short ride in Saturday, then spend some time prepping the bike for Sunday's race. Next stop - Mooresville.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Stuck In The Middle

Well, I checked out the local weather radar before I set out tonight. There were storms to the left of me, storms to the right (as in counties away) but, where I was it was bright and sunny with very little wind. The storm forecast was 30%. Looked pretty good to me. The plan, formulated all day long, was to warm up for maybe twenty minutes and then push for a while and see how it went. It went according to plan. I ended up doing one long 17 or 18 minute intense interval after the warm up with my heart rate right around 105% of lactic threshold. Then I backed off, figuring I'd finish the ride at my normal semi-quick weeknight pace. Then the storms came. I was cruising along on one of the few flats around here and was startled by a clap of thunder that sounded like it was about six inches from me. So, now what? I was at the top of the mile long hill leading to the middle school, so I put my head down and pedaled for all I was worth and got to the school, called CJ and rode home in the car. When we got home I found we were under a severe thunderstorm warning, so stopping was the right choice.

The 16.1 miles I got in went by at an average of 18.1. Not bad. Would have been interesting to see how fast a complete ride would have been.

The weather man says we can expect more of the same for the rest of the week. Hope I can get some more miles in.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009


The NC State Games will be held on June 21. I have been uncertain whether or not to race and try for a second gold medal in two years. Last year the games were held in Greensboro; this year, Mooresville, down by Charlotte, about 75 miles away. I'd kind of like to race again, so I floated a "Anyone want to got to a bike race" idea. We'll see if there are any takers.

There aren't any course maps available yet, but since it's going to be through a downtown, I expect there to be some - or several- tight 90 degree corners. With that in mind I changed my ride tonight to include several laps through some residential areas, primarily Fogleman Acres, just to get comfortable pushing the bike through tight corners at high speeds. I love it. Always have. It is so much fun to find the grip limits of the tires. After that I headed out on my normal route, but did two five minute intervals at max effort with five minutes recovery in between, heart rate 171. It really didn't seem that difficult, so maybe I should push a little harder next time. I ended the night with 31.8 miles with an average of 16.7 mph.

I have three weeks to find some real speed and make up my mind, but I'm leaning toward racing.