A very mixed day

I woke up at 0400 again this morning, although this time I opted to head back to bed until 0530.

Before leaving, I saw that there was no rain (yay; pulled the fender off quickly and did wear the Lakes), but there was a lot of wind.  I wasn't going to wear anything over my jersey until I opened the door and felt the wind.  Going with the fastest expedient, I grabbed the windbreaker that's next to the door, and put it on (over the camelbak, accidentally, though I ended up leaving it like that for the whole ride).

From there, I rode to the meeting point and tried to meet up for the group ride, but probably people are out of town (no one was there).  So I wasn't thrilled about that.  And the roads were quite wet, which also wasn't great.

But I was still feeling good at that point and decided that the MacArthur loop was a fine idea for a hard ride.  I got rolling, and set a couple of PRs on the way to the bridge to DC.  I went over the Roosevelt Bridge, which dumps out into Georgetown, and the crosswind on the bridge was just crazy.  Competitive Cyclist has a pretty good deal on some Enve deep-dish wheels that I'm contemplating; well, glad I don't have them now, because they're not the newer model that can deal with crosswinds well.  That might have been ugly.

Regardless, I made it across without incident, and headed northwest on... M St or Foxhall, or whatever the name of the street is, there.  From there, the wind was blowing into my face all the way, but I forced my way all the way to Falls Rd.

There were really three annoyances along that stretch.  The first was the wind, which was badly slowing me down.  The second was that my power numbers were quite bad every time I looked, even though it felt like I was pushing pretty good.  And the third was that that sore spot on the inside edge of my right sit-bone started bothering me again.

The latter was quite a surprise, because I hadn't felt it since changing saddles and because I was wearing my best (for comfort, at least) bibs (Assos T.cento).  I tried shifting around on the saddle, and eventually came to an accomodation with the irritation.

Unsurprisingly, I didn't set any records along that stretch, at least until I got to the big hill at Angler's Inn.  There, I was surprised to beat my previous record by eleven seconds (on a five-minute climb); my peak power along there was certainly less than my previous record.  Perhaps not pushing as hard meant I kept a better pace, overall; I'm not sure.  That's the only thing I can think of, anyway.

From there, I had the wind at my back (and I think I did better, power-wise, as well), and set a sh-load of PRs (just counted: 36, several of which were ties that showed up as second-best).

Once I was back in Virginia, I kept pushing until I got to George Mason (on the Custis), then turned right.  At that point, I had done 34m in 1:49, and knew that I wanted to stretch it over two hours (I'll come back to why), so I decided to stretch it a bit longer, even though I was basically doing cool-down.

That added about two miles and another 1-200' of elevation.  I didn't succeed in cooling down as much as I'd hoped (I didn't help by pushing on a few of the hills), but I'm sure it all helped.

Overall, it was 38 miles (averaging 18.6mph before the cool-down), with almost 1900' of elevation.  Strava ranked it as an extreme suffer score, thanks to sixty-nine minutes in zone 4, with half another minute in zone five.  That much was all good.

What was less good was that the power curve was well below peak, and that there was only seventeen minutes at/above threshold power (again, I'd like to hit thirty).

Once again, the connection between power and speed seems pretty tenuous (to say nothing of the connection between power and heart rate).

Other not-so-good bit: the Vorttice gloves, I've become less thrilled with.  For the second day in a row, I had numbness issues with my arms/hands.  It didn't occur to me yesterday, but that could well be caused by the gloves (both rides being longer than my normal certainly doesn't help either).

The sore spot under my leg... it actually felt fine for the entire second half of the ride, so maybe it was just the exact position in which I was sitting that exacerbated it.  If so, fine; if not, that could be very bad (and I should note that the sore butt I complained about yesterday did not touch on this spot, so it might or might not be related).  The situation will certainly require close monitoring.

To get back to the two-hour threshold, I attached my Strava account to my Competitive Cyclist a few days ago.  I had no idea what that did at the time (they made only a vague claim about getting credit), but it appears to give a dollar in store credit for each full hour ridden in one ride (so two rides that are each 90 minutes will give only $2, I think).  That's pretty sweet, so that was why I wanted to make sure the ride topped two hours; if I was going to get that close, I wanted the extra dollar for it.

All that said, looking ahead, tomorrow is definitely going to be a recovery day.  I'll probably try to do two hours again (easier on a Sunday), which would push twenty-seven to thirty miles.  That could get me to exceed last week's mileage, which was already pretty good (pushed along by that 66 mile ride, of course), although without quite as much elevation (probably in the neighborhood of 8000', as opposed to the 9800' from last week).  Both would still be good enough to keep me ahead of pace for Strava's Spring Classics challenge and April Climbing challenge.

And I'm probably going to do another long ride later in the week (maybe Friday, which, despite the rain, should be nice and warm); no details yet, though I'm thinking seventy or eighty miles.  It'll help with the preparation for the Tour de Cure ride.

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