This evening was the absolute perfect night for the club ride. Minimal wind (5mph), temps in the mid 70’s and sunny, not a cloud in the sky. A vast improvement over the rainy, cool start to the day… And only a few of the really fast guys showed up. The jerk TT bike guy stayed home (he’s so “pro” that he, and only he, can ride a time trial bike in a club ride – folks, he is an actual, real-life anus) and so did both Mikes.
Judging from the crowd, three tandems and a triple, I figured it would be a pretty easy ride. After the first mile at just 19 mph I was ready to sit back and enjoy the ride. The pace picked up but it rose slowly enough that I hardly noticed and with the whirring of the pedals and cassettes and the breeze from the speed I couldn’t hear my Endomondo chick counting off the miles. It was 25 miles (still with the main group) before I heard her. 25 miles in one hour nine minutes, two seconds… We were moving out pretty well.
One of the riders on the triple lost a water bottle so the stopped to grab it and from that point the group splintered. I stayed up with the front group for a few miles but eventually let them go so I could relax and keep it at an easy 20. I was starting to poop out and I’d pushed my legs hard enough (a lot harder than planned) after finally shaking out the soreness from the weekend. In fact, considering that, I can’t believe that I was able to ride as fast as I did.
I pulled into the parking lot, 32 miles in 1:30:14. The fastest I’ve ever ridden that route by eight minutes, at 21.4 mph.
I’ve written about this before, but it was such a big deal breaking out of my plateau, it’s gotta be reiterated… I was absolutely stuck before my trip to the mountains and my first really long ride. I could flirt with improvement, maybe an increase of a tenth of a mile per hour or two on an inconsistent basis, but I’m picking up speed now at a rate that was previously a wish.
These results began just after my 80 mile ride – I literally felt stronger. Then, with the daily rides on the mountain roads, the repeated climbing really added to those gains – and they were obvious in my first century. Now I’ve got a few recovery rides and one more hard effort before I head out for my next century on Sunday. I can’t wait. Not only for the ride, which should be a blast, but for the results that come afterwards.