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Cycling Speed: Houston, I Have a Problem…

August 2014
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I’m in trouble.  Big time.  Last night at the club ride we had a small but potent group.  The (newly crowned) US National Sprint Triathlon Champion (in his age group, I think it’s 65), two racers, Carla (a fitness professor at a local college) and me.  I made it eight miles with that group before falling off the back.  This wasn’t a surprise, there were only five of us in a double pace line and my line had three, so I was pulling every three miles (every other at first, we were joined by the third after a few miles) at speeds I figured were between 23 & 24 mph.  I fell off when we picked up two more racers and I knew what was coming next (turns out I was wrong by the way, had I just hung on, the group actually waited for Carla who is usually just a touch slower than me)…  Now, this was all into the wind, with a cross wind or into a cross-headwind.  When I fell off, it was cross-headwind or headwind for another twelve miles.  It sucked but I pushed through it.  With eleven miles to go I was able to pick up the pace a bit with a cross-tailwind/tailwind…  Then my phone started ringing off the hook, so to speak, and I had to take a call that lasted between three and four minutes (so my speed obviously took a serious nosedive).  I picked it back up for the last few miles and checked my average speed.  With the exception of that mile I was on the phone yelling at one of my guys, I worked pretty hard and figured I’d be around 19 mph average (minus a half for the phone call – I was down to 10 mph for about a mile)…  18mph average.

Unbelievable.  Not acceptable.  18 mph is a ride through the park, I shouldn’t even be breathing heavy at that pace…  An easy spin – I’ve got a serious problem.

Now, I can’t believe my fitness has fallen that far over the last month (I was regularly conquering that ride with a couple of other guys at 21.5 mph just a month ago).  That said, I’m sure taking it too easy is part of it, but not all of it.  I haven’t been that slow since I was on a mountain bike with slicks…

I have a major mechanical issue to start with.  A couple of weeks ago I switched saddles and eyeballed the position before dialing it in by feel.  I haven’t really been comfortable since, listless really.  It feels close, but just not right.  So when I get home from the office today, the first thing I’ll have to look at is the saddle position and get that dialed in properly.

I’ll have more as I’m sure this saga will take a minute to sort out.

One thing is certain though – I’ve got some work to do because this will not become the norm.

PS.  Just in case you are wondering, this is not an over-training thing.  That’s a period on the end of that sentence.

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5 Comments

  1. PedalWORKS says:

    Did I read this right? You took a call on your cell while riding? Shame on you. Never a good idea. Not for you or others around you. Stop and take the call if necessary. Or, turn the ringer off. No call is that important that it can’t wait.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Brother, I hear you but it was that important. If I’d have had a car (or another cyclist) anywhere near me I’d have stopped because you’re right. I was out in the middle of nowhere though, alone. Thanks for looking out. 😁

  2. fastk9dad says:

    Don’t worry about the numbers so much. Sure it’s great to be in top form all the time but it’s not realistic, some days will be better than others. Just enjoy the time on the bike. On my off days I just focus on other things and take in the scenery which can turn into some of the best rides since there is no pressure on myself. Tomorrow no one will remember if you averaged 21.5, 18 or 12mph.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I know brother, if I cared what anyone else thought, I never would have written a post about my struggle. I’ll keep the advice in mind though, I appreciate it.

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