It's been a busy week in the cycling world for me, and for that I'm happy.
I picked up a new saddle to replace the old piece of junk I had been using. So now I'm resting my ass on a Selle Italia....something or another. It's comfy, that's all I know, and it doesn't make my dumper hurt. That's very excellent.
In the riding department, I've been out 4 days this week, and for some bizarre reason, I never just do an easy or moderate ride and toss in a hard spot. I've been doing hard, suprathreshhold rides almost every day. My average power is jumping up now as well; I guess I was just being lazy early in the season. Today, though, taught me what it means to bonk and what pain really is.
I'll start off by saying that it's been deceptively warm and humid here the past couple of days. Mid 80s and humidity makes things feel more like mid 90s. And the sun...let me tell you about the new arm warmers I have. Nope, I didn't buy them, I happened to have them burned onto me by the sun. And I have glove tan along with it...
I've included the training track from my Edge 305 (yellow line is grade, green is elevation profile). Today I decided I should ride the middle third of the metric century I have planned for September. I even asked about it at the LBS yesterday. When he commented that the terrain really is no joke, I told him it "shouldn't be any issue." I've now learned to fear when a LBS guy chuckles at your comment about "easy."
First off, it was bloody hot out there. And if you look at that elevation profile, there's a climb (it would be about 18 miles into the metric) almost right out of the gate of about 2 miles at 10% grade. That's mean. It's also an oil and gravel road, which is even meaner. So after suffering through that without a really good warmup, I hit a couple more climbs, extended of course, at around 7%. Not terrible, but taxing on the legs, especially when it's so damn hot and even the Elete drops in my water aren't helping. Oh yes, I did feel a little crampy in the legs for the first part, but it subsided when I came off the first large hill.
The second climb was nothing to write home about; about 2 miles with an average grade around 8.5%. Like I said, a nice grind, but nothing too terrible.
Coming off the second climb throws you down by the lake at about 44 MPH. Talk about a beautiful view, the view is just stunning. Canandaigua Lake has some great lookout points around it and I was enjoying the scenery, riding down a nice flat road right next to the lake. Some of the houses are just amazing down there, and I even passed a catered chicken barbecue party. I tell ya...
Unfortunately the fun had to end. I sort of didn't believe what the LBS guy told me about the grade of the climb out, and when I rounded a corner and saw this behemoth, I had to reassess my sanity. Max grade of about 24%, running average of about 17% over just a hair under a mile. About 3/4 of the way up my quads cramped up terribly and I had to stop and stretch them out, but my god what a climb.
The people out there are so incredibly nice. About half way up, someone was driving up behind me and there was a woman leaning out the window and clapping, yelling "Only a little more, keep it up!" And as I came around a steep hairpin I popped out of the saddle and almost ran into a group of 2 guys and 2 women, all dressed in polos, khakis and sundresses. Here I am, swearing to myself, jersey completely open and flapping in the breeze, literally pouring sweat, snot and drool off myself, and they all stopped, clapped and yelled encouragement. "Keep it up! One more steep part until the top! You can make it!" It's nice to hear that kind of encouragement from people you don't know and who will likely never see you again. What a change from the rednecks around here who yell "nice shorts, faggot" out the window of their gas sucking Ford F350. To be fair, I've only had 2 of those experiences in the 3 years I've been here, so I take it with a grain of salt and a "Il pozzo vaffunculo!" Sometimes I think I'm trying to learn Italian just to insult people with it. But hey, it works.
As I said, I blew up about 3/4 of the way to the top. Holy gods, now I know what it's like to crack on a climb. There's NOTHING left. Whether it's from cramping or just true bonking, it SUCKS.
So, that is the torture that is Bopple Hill. I'll go back, and sometime, I'll conquer it.
And what did I learn today?
- I can stay out of the saddle for a long time without skyrocketing the heart rate too much.
- It's nearly impossible to grind out a 20% grade in the saddle.
- 4 bottles of fluid was not nearly enough for a ride in this heat.
- 3 energy gels was not nearly enough either
On the way home I stopped and bought a ham and swiss on whole wheat from Tim Horton's. That was perhaps the most satisfying sandwich I've ever eaten.
Oh, and I offered to help some woman on a Specialized change a tube. Although she declined, my kharma has been improved.
Totals for the day:
1:42 total time
13.5 MPH average speed (good considering the climbs)
42.9 MPH max speed (new personal record)
164 BPM average HR
2096 feet of climbing
155.7 Watts of average power (I think this is pretty good considering the bonk and the slow few miles after it occurred)
367.4 Watts max power
2 bottles of Accelerade consumed
2 bottles of Elete water consumed
3 Gu packets consumed
1 Power Bar Nut Naturals consumed
1 Pair of sunburn arm warmers acquired (damnit!)
It's been a good day.