Sunday, January 31, 2010

A tale of 3 rides

Well, here is the first semi-serious ride report for 2010.  And not just any ride report but one that talks about three different rides.  The funny thing is that all three of the “rides” I am going to write about happened on a single ride on the road.  If you read further, I promise it will all make sense.

This weekend was shaping up as something special because my new best friend NOAA was saying that there was no rain in our forecast.  We’ve been dealing with a ton of rain and everyone was anxious to get off their trainers and out on to the open road.  They weren’t wrong and I think every cyclist in Sonoma County must have been on the road.

On Saturday, we dealt with a lot of fog, some overcast clouds, and just a little sunshine but no rain!  It also warmed up and at one point on the climb, which was the second “ride”, I was able to push down the arm warmers and enjoy the warmth.

So how did I end up doing three different rides in the same day?  Well, it was one part feeling great on the bike, one part monster climb, and one part completely misjudging when I would be home.

Enough chit-chat!  Let’s talk about the ride.

The “No Chain” ride
We started with pre-ride coffee in Windsor.  There were five of us heading out to ride the Geysers followed by Pine Flat.  These are both big climbs.  We took off at a moderate pace and I realized very quickly that I was having a “no chain” ride.

If you are not familiar with the term, it refers to turning the pedals so easily that you feel like you don’t have a chain on the bike.  I can also tell you it doesn’t happen very often for me.  As we rode along, I actually lifted the pace a bit too strong and dropped one of our riders.  So we regrouped and settled into a pace that allowed for plenty of socializing along the way.

At this point, I was comfortably cruising along at a nice L3 heart rate level but that all changed when we hit The Geysers.

The Climb
As soon as we turned onto The Geysers climb I knew my no chain pedal turns were done.  Since the season is just starting I decided not to push this climb since there was a second climb coming.  So when it got steep I went straight to the triple up front and the 27 on the back, found a rhythm and just kept rolling.

I was enjoying the climb when I started having trouble with the back cog.  The chain kept dropping off the 27 and into the spokes.  Finally, I decided to stay in the 25 and deal with it when I got home.  Now, the difference between the 27 and 25 from a physical  strength standpoint is not that great.  I should easily have the strength to turn the pedals even in the 25.

However, the psychological difference was huge.  Of course, this happened in the steepest part of the climb so I quickly found my L5 heart rate.  I felt myself really struggling with the bike to get up the hill.  Ultimately, I told myself to man up and ride.  So I found a new rhythm and continued to the summit.

The Time Trial
At the top, I realized it was 11:00.  I told Sherry I expected to home around noon.  What the hell was I thinking?  After we go bombing down the descent, I decided to skip the second climb and head home.  After all, husband points are more important then miles at this point in the season.

After saying my goodbyes, I got into the time trial position and start hammering.  I managed to mostly hold a strong time trial pace and cadence all the way back to the car.  It was a pretty intense work out and by the time I reached the car, I was toast.

There you have it!  On just a single rode without a chain, worked my way up a monster climb, and then time trialed to the car.  Not too bad for an early season training ride.  Of course, the rain is scheduled to return this week.  Hopefully, it will be clear by next weekend and we can do it all over again.


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