Monday, November 3, 2008

5 weeks of "this is going to hurt"

I didn't think about it until last night, but starting with the Ruston stage race I have 5 weeks of cycling silliness. Which also means that I get to subject my faithful readers (whoever you are) to my adventures on the bike.

October 25 & 26th - The Piney Hills Classic stage race in Ruston, Louisiana. - Check
November 2nd - The Texas Cycling's Sweatin' Burnt Orange Bike Tour - Check
November 9th - The Rocky Hill Roundup - coming this weekend!
November 15th - The Ultracentric Experience 6 hour solo race at Erwin Park - 99% there
November 22nd - El Tour de Tucson with Team in Training - airline tickets have been paid for.

I already whined and dined my way through the Piney Hills Classic stage.


Now it's time for the Sweatin' Burnt Orange Bike Tour (a fund raiser for the cycling team) which was held in the Texas hill country starting in Blanco (west of Austin). We could have elected to ride the 45 mile route, or even the 60 mile route... but noooo, we decided that the 80 mile route (which was really only 72.8 miles) was more our style.
There was a cut-off time for the longest route, but I didn't think I would really have a problem making the first 30 miles within 2 hours... but it was a goal I could consider not making.

The weather was perfect for the ride, a little crisp in the morning but warming up nicely during the day. It did get a little windy later in the morning, and of course it had to be a head wind.

I started off with the front group, but soon realized that this was not a wise decision if I wanted to complete more than 10 miles, so I moved to the edge and let the fast riders go by and settled into my own little ground eating pace and that was the way it stayed for the rest of the ride.

Living in the "rolling hills" of Dallas, the hill country had a tad more climbing than I was used to. The first killer was by mile 7 with 125+ feet of climbing in less than 1/2 mile, ouch! Surprisingly the climbs is where I would close the gap on riders in front of me.

I made it to the dreaded cut-off rest time with plenty of time to spare (dang it!) and about 10 minutes behind Alan. I grabbed some food, topped off the water and our loving son sent me on my way with a "turn left for the long route!". Off I went to the left, and another climb. I spent the ride enjoying the scenery and cussing the big climbs, but overall having a good time riding my bike. Here and there I would see a rider in the distance, sometimes closing the gap and passing and other times they would continue to ride off into the distance.

This cool little graphic is from my heart rate moniter:
I know it's hard to read, but the top squiggly red line is my heart rate, which was in the "max" zone for 35% and the "hard" zone for 61% of the ride.
The next dark red line is the altitude... see those two tall spikes? Those were at mile 41 and mile 60, not a nice thing. Minimum altitude was 960' and maximum was 1700'; 3430' of ascension and 3465' of descending. It sure didn't feel like there was more going down hill than what was climbed!
The green squiggly line is my cadence (pedal spin) and the blue one is my speed (average speed of 15.7mph, with a max of 38.4).

I completed the 72.8 miles in 4:40 with a total time out of 5:02ish, so about 20 minutes spent at 4 rest stops. I can live with that.

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