But only for a little while.
With variable success I've been trying to get back to the same average speeds I reached before last year's month long sabbatical. Part of it was the race last month and knowing I used to be faster, some of it is probably the inspiration from watching the TDF. Riding my bike the way I do gives me a clue as to what it takes to ride at that level. But just a clue. Those guys are tough.
So I've been starting to push for speed. Now, increasing average speed over a thirty mile ride isn't going to come on the downhills. It comes on the flats and the climbs. Mostly the climbs, one or two mph up a hill makes a huge difference, and that can hurt.
Tonight I set out with a goal, for once. GO FAST. After warming up for about twenty minutes I set out on my own mini time trial. Max effort for the next fifteen miles, especially up the hills and on the flats. I kept my heart rate right around the point that the alarm on the Garmin goes off. Going up the hills was the hardest. Legs saying shift down a couple of gears and recover, brain saying "no". Brain won, mostly. I ended that part of the ride - which includes the steepest climbs of my route - with an average speed of 18.6 mph. I forgot to look at my average for the first 20 minutes of warm up, so I don't know how fast I really went, but I doubt it was over 16, it usually isn't for that part of the ride.
The whole ride was 33 miles with an average of 17.8. Although it hurt for a while, it felt good after. I just have to keep doing it. I don't know why, but going fast has always been what I want most.