Monday, January 10, 2011

Flexibility on a cold winter ride

As I spent the week thinking about Saturday’s ride, one thing was crystal clear.  It was going to be very foggy and very cold, at least by Sonoma County standards.  Still, a couple of us brave souls were heading out anyway.  At least it wasn’t raining.

The plan was to head out with Coach Tim and do what he calls “riding with a purpose”.  He is quite good at setting up these early season rides that are designed to build power, strength and endurance in a very calculated way.  In essence, we are going to do his SPINN Fitness Class on the road.

So, I bundle up first thing Saturday and head out to the West County Revolution Bike Shop where we are starting.  And I mean bundled up complete with my thermal jacket!    We meet at the shop but before rolling it’s over to Coffee Catz to try and warm the soul one last time before we hit the road.

There were eight us of rolling along and having a good time chatting as we “warmed” up.  The plan was to practice pace lines with 10-30 second pulls on front followed by some hill work on a couple of small climbs.  The pace line drills worked beautifully until someone flatted.  When I saw him turn the bike upside down I knew we would be there a while

A few minutes later the flat was fixed and on it was on to the hills.  We practiced high cadence drills for spinning and low cadence intervals for power.  As we topped the largest of the small hills we would climb, I noticed that we had split up for the first time.  Those of us on the front began to soft pedal so the others could catch up.

After a few minutes I knew something was wrong.  They should have joined us by now.  Many minutes later we see them coming and learned that one of them cracked his frame and he is not going to make it to the end since we were only half way through the ride at this point.

Here’s where the flexibility part kicks in.  Tim and I decide that Cary will lead the group for the rest of ride on the scheduled route.  I am going to time trial back to my SUV so I can come get Jim and Tim is going to ride with Jim and his cracked frame.  We explain to everyone what’s going on, put the plan into place and off I go.

After only a few minutes I noticed that the group has  decided to skip the rest of the ride and is chasing me.  Cool!  Now, I’ll have help getting to my car.  So, off we go at a spirited pace, which was my max since I am just starting to build my base for this year.  This lasted for about 10 minutes.  Then one of the riders launched an attack and every followed but me.  Remember, I was at my max.  I also needed to ride smart.  I couldn’t afford to blow up and needed to maintain a strong but steady pace.  So I watched them disappear.  A short five minutes later they were out of site and I was riding alone.

As I rolled along I thought to myself, “This is just like 2010 when I start with a group and finish alone!”  This is exactly what I planned on avoiding in 2011.  Oh well, I just keep pedaling.  After a while, I see Carmen coming back my way.  She told me the pace got too high for her as well so she came back and we rode in together.

I got back to the car in great time, loaded the bike and headed out.  I got a text that Jim was at a Starbucks so off I go.  When I get there I learn that his cousin Vince, one of the riders, had his car keys and was one the way.  So, with Jim taken care of I headed for home.

All-in-all it was a great ride.  I did a little pace line work, rode a few small hills and practiced my time trial.  And, all of this was done with purpose.  I know these rides will continue to make me stronger and I can’t wait for the longer, and warmer, rides of Summer.


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