Mix of feelings on the bike riding, this weekend.  Saturday, I was hoping to join a group ride, but it seems that just about everyone was out of town (the one guy who wasn't apparently slept in).  So I showed up, hung around for a few minutes to see if anyone else made it, then decided to get riding.

Showing up was already a little interesting, though.  I'd worn my heavy jersey, which I figured would be ok for a hard ride at right around freezing.  But I had a pretty light base layer underneath, and was chilled on the way to the meet-up.  So I turned around a couple minutes in, and went back for a jacket.  Luckily, I was a little early to begin with, and still made it on time.  Not that it mattered.

By the time I'd gotten there, I realized that I hadn't seen anything from my heart rate meter, and my power meter had cut out after about a mile.  Not feeling in tip-top shape, and missing both of those, I decided to make it an easy ride.  I ended up doing about 14.25 miles, and didn't go any further because my hands were cold (god, that sounds way too familiar).  It was a peaceful ride, though, so no major complaints.

I replaced the heart rate meter battery afterwards, and took the battery out of the power meter.  But, upon opening the power meter cover, I noticed that the battery wasn't seated, so I tried reseating it and checking on it.  Everything looked good.  Not terribly pleased about that, as a long-term prospect, though it was nice not needing to change the battery right now.

I had gotten a new saddle as well (slightly wider; I figured it wouldn't hit that spot that got me to switch over to the moon saddle for a couple days), and meant to change that, but I had already gotten distracted by the hockey game.  So when I remembered it, I decided it was already too late, and I needed to go to sleep.  Which I did.

So I got up in the morning, planning on a hard ride.  Since I didn't sleep much, I debated if I should do a hard ride, or not, but decided that I had to get one in.  I didn't set out to break any records, but managed sixteen PRs, two of which were KOMs.  One of those KOMs, in fact, was on that long stretch from Yorktown to Four Mile Run on George Mason Dr that I tried to break the other day.  Actually, I tied the KOM, but still beat my run from the other day by a good forty seconds.  The only explanation I can come up with is that I had to slow down less for the lights; my power was 216W avg both times.  Well, and it was a little warmer; that should make a tiny bit of difference.

Anyway, the point being that I completely kicked ass, as far as Strava was concerned.  What was weird, though, was that my average power was actually lower than the other day (181W vs 188W).  And my power curve for the ride didn't look that great; the only place I raised the curve was for times over an hour-seventeen.  It wasn't even that close until about fifty minutes.

And speaking of fifty, my other KOM on the ride was a climb up Pendleton St in Old Town, Alexandria.  I wasn't actually trying hard on that one, but still managed to cut my time by two seconds, which was enough to move me from a tie for second to a tie for first, at fifty seconds.  I guess I must have just been pacing myself better.  The power numbers for both rides are identical.

Anyway, the ride does show that power isn't everything, when it comes to riding fast.  I wish I knew what I did so well, though, as I'd like to repeat it.

Also, I should point out that the ride was 32 miles, a bit longer than I usually do, and I set more records on the back half than on the front.  I kind of wish I'd had some electrolyte drink for the tail end, though; water was all I took with me.  Next time I'll definitely do better with that.

The other upshot is that I ended up very tired, but very satisfied, with the performance.  In fact, the average speed for the whole ride was 17.9mph, which is pretty decent given both the distance and the elevation gain (1400'). Plus, I was going into a lot of wind for a goodly chunk of it.

Also, in a chunk of that windy part, I decided to try pushing really hard, really consistently, and I think I've got a handle on my lactate threshold heart rate, so that should help with setting heart rate zones.

I'm a bit amused, too.  I thought Strava's March climbing challenge had ended the day before, with me completing it by a tiny bit.  But it turns out that yesterday was the last day, so I blew it away by like 500m, when I thought I'd just barely finished.  I like the jerseys, too; I'm tempted to get one (I've never bought a Strava jersey before; they're quite expensive).

That left today's ride.  Obviously, after pushing like that yesterday, I was going to take it easy this morning.  No excitement with the kids before getting out, today, which was good.  I had to take my second-choice jacket, which wasn't.

It was a pretty calm ride, and mostly went well.  The only bad part was that I was having a little trouble keeping my heart rate down.  I'm looking now, and I only had three minutes and change over 125, which is better than I thought, but I'm betting that more than half of the remaining time was between 120 and 125.  That would bother me a lot less if my power numbers weren't so low: the average was only 85W, which is terrible.  At that heart rate, I should be pushing 120W or so.

I don't know... I'm still not feeling completely better, but I'm also not feeling terrible.  I don't know what to make of it.  Anyway, tomorrow will also be an easy day, and I'm trying to figure out what to do after that.  I need to take a day off before the end of the week, and it'd be nice to get a 100-ish mile ride in.

It'd be good practice for the Tour de Cure ride, as well as completing the Strava Grand Fondo 150 challenge.  I'm kind of looking to the weather to decide, and it looks like the weather doesn't really want to cooperate.  We'll see, I guess.

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