I got out this morning a little earlier than yesterday. I knew I was a little overdressed when I left, but I was expecting the temperature to drop, perhaps by as much as six or eight degrees. It did end up dropping by five, but I can't say as I noticed it. I was probably bathing in sweat by the time it did.
Still, I decided that I was going to push it today, and I did that, right from the start. I turned left onto George Mason Dr, as usual, though taking the turn a little faster than normal. I then stood up and tried to crank, but I did a good job in that I didn't burn myself out in the first twenty seconds (as I sometimes do). I was trying to improve my time on a segment that I'd worked hard on, last year, but on which this was only my second attempt of the year.
And improve I did. I took seven seconds off my record (and I had seven more tries within three seconds of that), putting me in a solid second for the segment. I'm in no danger of getting KOM, there, as the current one beat me (yes, my new time) by another nine seconds, but I was still very happy. And I might be able to knock another second or two off, actually, because I wasn't completely wasted at the end (which I was in my previous PR run), and apparently tailed off a little in the last second or two (I thought I was finished).
Anyway, I crossed Rt 29, had a mechanical problem that forced me off the bike for, probably, half a minute (which didn't show up, somehow. I'm curious why. I'm also curious why it felt like the chain was stuck for a minute). Then I started cranking down George Mason, eventually setting a PR for Yorktown to W&OD. That was largely accidental, as I was only seriously cranking at the very end, but it was cool to see. In fact, I finished fourth overall on the segment, and probably would have been bucking for first (definitely, I would have been solidly in second, as I was only three seconds out of second) without that chain problem.
A little disappointing to be so close, yet so far, but I'm glad that I did well in the segment of that at the end, where I was really trying (to say nothing of how happy I was to have killed that first segment).
By this point, though, I had noticed that I wasn't seeing anything from my heart rate meter, and I was pretty pissed about that, as the current battery only had 15-20 hours on it. That's just terrible. It never came back, either, so I'm forced to conclude that it must have been the battery. Nothing to be done about it, though.
But my heart rate was definitely way up there; I think I did a better job of keeping it up there than I had in a long time. For sure, I finished the twenty-three miles at 18.65 mph (per Cyclemeter. I just noticed that Strava has 0.35 miles less in over two minutes longer time, with an average speed of only 17.9mph. Curious), which is considerably better than I've done in a while. And that's with almost 900' of elevation, which isn't bad.
One thing I didn't do, which I'd talked about, was ingest some carbs before the ride to try to improve my top-end power. Well, my top-end power was still quite good. In fact, I was only a few watts off my all-time best, and maintained that power for a couple seconds (right before the end of the ride, at that). So definitely nothing lost due to the diet, there. I still want to improve significantly, there, but that's encouraging.
As far as the diet's concerned, I've weighed myself at 149 and change for three of the last four days (after breakfast, but nearly naked). The fourth day, I was 151.2, but that was taken after lunch. So maybe 150# is stable. We'll see.
I have started doing my Quick4 workout at night again, and I've noticed that that helps with my breathing. I definitely should not have stopped doing that.
And I got a weight bench, mostly to do squats and leg curls, but haven't set it up yet. I need to get that set up. The squats, I think, I'll do daily, and probably do the leg curls every other day. At least, that's the plan.
Tomorrow will definitely be a coasting day; I'll probably aim for 13-14 miles at an easy pace. Saturday will probably be a hard day again, as I'll try to join up with that group ride again. I still don't think I'm in any danger of kicking their asses (especially not over any length more than a minute or so), but I'm hoping I can at least hang with them. Last time I went, they were dragging me along; it'd be really sweet if that weren't the case next time.
The one thing I really need to do (preferably before tomorrow) is adjust my rear derailleur. I'm not sure how (other than that the LOW setting is definitely too high), but it's got some issues at the moment.
One good thing is that I took my crank and cassette off, a couple days ago, and gave them a sickeningly-complete cleaning. That might have caused the rear derailleur issue (it felt like the cassette might not have gone as far onto the hub when reassembling), but it seems to've fixed the front derailleur issue I was seeing before that. Baby steps, and all that.
Update: I did confirm that the heart rate meter problem was totally battery-related. Annoying, but better than a defective meter.