Piling up the miles

Wednesday morning, it was a bit of a struggle, but I managed to get up early enough to meet the group in Vienna.  I was about five minutes late getting out of the house, but I was prepared for hard riding, so it wasn't a disaster.

I rolled out at 0430, and immediately started pushing a little bit.  As I went, and got warmed up, I started pushing a bit more, and really got going once I got to the Beltway (lots of hills before that).  I made it to the meet-up on time; in fact, I had a couple of minutes to wait for some of the others to get ready.

After a couple of minutes, we got moving, and we moved pretty well.  Nothing record-shattering, or anything like that, but it was good.

We got out to Herndon without incident.  Part of the reason why I wanted to do a hard day, that day, was that I wanted to try to really hammer a segment out there, where the route circled an office park.  I did that, but I started too early, and started tiring well before the end.  I was able to keep pushing, and keep my heart rate up, through the end, but my power dropped drastically before the end (though with my power meter dying at the meet-up, I couldn't see the details).

We did a couple laps there; because of my dying so early, I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, though still well enough for sixth.

We rushed a little bit to get back, which was mostly ok, although one SUV that went flying through a stop sign, and almost through a second, caused a couple of companions to stop/fall (I was a second or two ahead, and was ok).

We made pretty good time on the way, and I separated from the others in Vienna again.  I noticed a guy in full racing kit at the light at 123, although I started out ahead of him there.  Half a mile or so ahead, though, he passed me and started cruising.  He was only going a little faster than me, though, so I decided to speed up a little to stay with him.

I did so for a couple of miles, although I think he might have been getting a little annoyed towards the end, as he started speeding up more, including when going up a hill.  We separated at the top of that hill (and he really hammered it up that hill; to give an idea how much, my heart rate hit 191bpm a few seconds later.  Wish I'd had power data, I suspect it was over 400W); I went left as he went right.  I called out "Thanks for the pull, and have a nice day" as we pulled apart.  Hope he wasn't too annoyed.

Turning that way put me onto Idylwood, and I took that up past Rt 7 in Falls Church.  There's a long segment that starts at Rt 7 that I'd really crushed the first half of, recently.  That day, I took a more moderate push, and kept it up all the way to the end of the segment (at Great Falls St).  That was enough for me to improve my time by thirteen seconds (12-13%), which felt pretty good.

From there, I kept pushing all the way home, eventually arriving about ten minutes earlier than I needed to be.  So I was quite happy; I'm sure drafting with that one dude saved me a couple minutes; he was really pushing for quite a bit of that distance.  Too bad he isn't on Strava; might have been able to chat a bit about it later, over email.

In any event, mostly I was glad that the rain for which the forecast had been calling didn't show up (in fact, despite constant calls for it, I think we didn't get anything until Friday night).

Overall, the ride was thirty-nine miles, with 1500' of elevation.  Finishing it in 2:11:55 made for an average of 17.8mph.  Per heart-rate data, I managed just shy of forty minutes in zones four and five, which was fabulous.  I had about for minutes at/over threshold, per power data, but that was all in the first twenty-seven minutes.  I certainly had more, later, and I wish I knew how much so.

Regardless, as you'd expect, that left Thursday and Friday both being recovery days.  Still, I tried to do as many miles as I could in there, and got up in time to get about ninety minutes in on Thursday.  I decided to try my old Farlex Loop, hoping I could get it done in that time frame (I knew it would be pushing it).

I finished it in 92 minutes, which made for a 15.1mph ride; fantastic for a recovery ride.  The downside was that I spent more time than I wanted at over 125.  I mostly kept it under 130, but did get as high as 137bpm once or twice, and I was pretty annoyed at that.  And that was just over twenty minutes total time over.

Still, I had a fun time, and even passed a few people.  And I felt really good about that average speed; I think I did 16.9 miles in the first hour, per Cyclemeter.  I was shocked when I saw that.  I realized, too, that it was a good thing I did, because I'd never make it back in time, otherwise.  In fact, when I left, I was going to do my shortest figure eight, but decided that even though I was making such good time, that that was too ambitious.  Good choice.

I finished with 23.2 miles and 800' of elevation, so it was a bit flatter than I've been doing recently, but pretty good mileage.

Friday, I got up at the same time, but got out of the house sixteen minutes earlier, so I did have time for the figure eight, if a shorter variant.  I wasn't able to do nearly as fast, but it was fast enough.  I got through 25.2 miles and 1100' (on the nose, amusingly) in 107 minutes, which put me home dead on time.

And I was able to get power data, which really does help for pacing myself.  I can't say as I did hugely better on pacing; my high on heart rate improved to 132, but I only cut down on overall time above 125bpm by half a minute or so.  So-so results, at best.

Saturday did not start out well.  I had planned to get up early, get half an hour or so of warm-up in before joining the group, and riding hard with them.  But I failed right from the get-go; going back to sleep for an hour, and not even getting out of the house before the meet-up time.  I finally forced my way out the door, though, and rode at a very easy pace for twenty minutes to get my legs feeling decent (my calves, for some reason, were really sore when I got up).

Once I finished warming up, I went into the hills and started riding hard.  I didn't set too many records, but my power numbers were very good (across the board, according to Cyclemeter; per Strava, good in very, very short bursts and decent to good for longer durations).

After half an hour of hill repeats, I started riding to do some cool-down.  After ten minutes or so of that, however, I decided to push hard the rest of the way.  So that's what I did.

I ended up with 23.8 miles, and just shy of 2000' of elevation.  That was with an average of 16.2mph, which wasn't too bad.  I had about 36 minutes of time at/above threshold, counting by heart rate.  By power zones, it was about seventeen minutes; still not bad numbers.  For sure, I was seriously tired at the end, and maybe only missed a little bit by not going on the group ride.

Today, of course, was all about recovery.  I had a bit of time, and made it a long, but gentle, ride.  I did thirty-seven miles in two and a half hours (just about on the nose), covering 1600' of elevation.  That was an average of 14.8, which was great.

Even better, I did a pretty good job with my heart rate, limiting it to 131bpm and less than 13 minutes over 125 bpm.  Still some work to be done, there, but that was pretty decent.

And I still haven't seen that rain that's been forecast each of the last six days (well, not while riding; I think we got a little rain Friday night).  In fact, the weather has been beautiful.  We'll see if that continues.

Tomorrow will definitely be a recovery day; Tuesday might be, as well.  Wednesday will be a hard day if Tuesday isn't.  Then Thursday, Friday, and Saturday (especially the latter two) will all be easy rides, in preparation for Sunday's Tour de Cure.  If you'd like to help sponsor me, every little bit helps, and I'd much appreciate it.


Data loss

Saturday was pretty frustrating, to start.

I got up on time, but puttered about a bit more than usual.  So I got out of the house a few minutes later than I was hoping (I wanted to do some more warm-up).  Just as I started the ride, however, I looked down and saw no heart rate indicator.  Figuring that was a dead battery, I went back in and replaced the battery with another (of unknown capacity).

I got back out, and noticed that the new one was apparently already dead, but I didn't have enough time to go back inside and change the battery again.  So I got going, and found that the power meter was already dead as well.  Ugh.  Now I was really pissed off, as the hard ride I was expecting was when I most want that data.

Well, I didn't have time, so I hurried to the meeting place.  In fact, on the way I decided to hurry enough to attempt a new record on the one segment on the way.  I died about two-thirds of the way through, but still beat my old PR by two seconds, which was enough to take me out of a tie for sixth there, and put me into fourth.  That made me happy, as it was the one where I'd recently been pushed back from fifth to sixth.

When I got to the meeting place, there turned out to only be three others, and they were not the really strong riders who regularly show up.  The upshot of that is that I ended up pulling for much of the ride (perhaps as much as half of it).  Which I really didn't mind, but it definitely felt weird.

Still, it was a very good ride, and I had a lot of fun.  There was one big climb, and I ended up setting a new PR on the bottom half of that (missed by a couple seconds on the overall climb), but I was dying by the middle.  I powered on through, but it was a hard struggle, and I was not feeling good for the latter half.  I also, probably obviously, was not going nearly as fast.  But I was chasing one other guy who passed me halfway up, and that kept me from really taking it easy (and here is where I REALLY wish I had that power and heart-rate data).

The temperature was 50F-ish, dropping down to 46 for a bit.  I think all I wore was a summer base layer and summer jersey, and I was pretty comfortable.

I did have to do the last few miles on my own, as the others went down to Haines Point to do a lap, but I couldn't join them as I needed to get home.  I did make it home on time, so things worked out well.

All in all, it was a very satisfying ride.  I blew up a couple of times (and narrowly avoided a third time), but I wasn't upset about them.  And more importantly, I was able to recover pretty quickly each time.

I ended up doing 35 miles, in just under two hours (17.6mph avg, including the little bit of warm-up and the slow finish.  Still, a bit less than I expected).  That included 1500' of elevation.

Sunday, I was obviously going to be taking it easy.  In fact, I woke up at the normal time and deliberately went back to sleep for a bit (I was pretty tired, plus I figured I needed to get back a little early, so I didn't want to do a really long ride).

In the event, I did almost twenty-two miles, taking my normal 18-mile loop and going a bit further down the W&OD than usual.  It took an hour and thirty-three, with almost 1100' of elevation.  The 13.9mph speed wasn't great, although I had to be careful because I again didn't have any data (another dead battery on my heart rate meter, plus my RFLKT+ wasn't pairing, and I didn't have time to debug that.  I ended up rushing out the door as it was).

The ride itself was pretty decent, and I ended up getting back at a decent time, although we were still late leaving for the Strawberry Festival.  The only good thing there was that we found the friends with whom we were meeting up right as we got there, but we didn't get to spend nearly as much time with them as we'd hoped.

Still, the kids had fun there, and I got some good shots of raptors (and a just-molted screech owl), so it wasn't a complete loss.

Yesterday was still taking it easy.  I did get everything working before leaving (and did determine that it wasn't a battery problem with the RFLKT+, which surprised me), so I had full data.  It was the normal 18-mile loop, which I got done in an hour:eighteen.  That was 14.1mph, which made me pretty happy.

I've found, the last couple days, that I can push about 130W while keeping my heart rate in the target range, which is a big improvement on what I was doing a couple months ago (and a little bit of an improvement on where I was a couple months before that).

Getting back to yesterday, I did 18.3 miles and 1050' of climbing.  I averaged 111W over that time, which isn't bad.  I did a pretty good job with my heart rate, keeping it to 131bpm max, while averaging 121.  And that's with just under five minutes over my target; still room for improvement, but not bad.  Overall, I was pretty happy with the results, and my timing worked out pretty well for getting home.

Today, took it easy again.  I actually woke up early (had to go to the bathroom half an hour before my usual wake-up time, and decided to stay up).  Unfortunately, I was moving slowly, and only got out the door about twenty minutes early.

I decided to do my Falls Church, Arlington, Alexandria loop in its shortest incarnation.  Actually, I was going to do the figure eight, but decided to cut it back to just the loop as I was heading home.  Good choice, as I got back just about exactly on time.

I had some equipment annoyance, as my heart rate meter was pegged at 97bpm for the first mile or so.  Finally, I stopped and rubbed some spit on the sensors, as I'd recently read would help.  It did, and got the meter working right away.  So I don't know if I exceeded my goal in that mile, but at least I know what happened later.

One bit of amusement; as I was doing the long climb up S 31st St in Shirlington (where I lived, many moons ago), a guy passed me on his mountain bike.  I don't know if we took the same route between, but I caught up with him a couple miles later as he was gasping and puffing hard.  I assume he either had to slow down, or turned off shortly thereafter, because I didn't see him again (and he must not be on Strava, as he doesn't show up in my flyby map, alas).  Still, whatever the reason, it felt good.

The ride was 23.4 miles, and took one hour:thirty-seven.  I had almost 900' of elevation, which is actually pretty low for me, these days (I did finish the May climbing challenge already, which feels pretty good.  Now I just need to finish the MTS one, which I think I will clear).  Anyway, that distance and time works out to 14.5mph, which is awesome.  And I did it while pushing 105W, which is also pretty nice.

Heart-rate-wise, it was definitely a mixed bag.  I did well on the first half (except the quarter mile catching that guy and a few hundred yards after, where I somehow ended up at 135bpm.  I'm still not sure how, as it didn't feel like I was pushing at all hard).  The second half, however, was all over the place.  My max was lower, but it felt like I kept finding myself at 127, 128bpm.  Very annoying.

Overall, I spent fourteen minutes over my target, which is not good.  I suspect I only spent a few seconds over 130bpm, which wouldn't be too bad, if accurate, but I don't know.

I was pleased to get those miles in and get home in time, however.

Tomorrow, I'm going to do that group ride again, and I'll be riding harder, I think.  There's a loop in Herndon, at the end, and if I'm feeling ok, I'm really going to try to kill it on that segment.  And hopefully all the equipment will be working, again.  The only bad part is that it's supposed to rain; that'll make it a much less nice ride than it's been the last couple of weeks.

Actually, I'm a little worried that it'll be too warm for my rain pants and jacket; we'll have to see how that works out.

Sir Ive

Saw that Jony Ive was promoted to Chief Design Officer (new C-level designation, so far as I know) at Apple.  Thought Gruber's title, Jony Ive Levels Up was pretty good, but think he missed an opportunity with "Sir Ive Levels Up" sounding more game-ish.

More importantly, though, I wonder if this means that Apple will now have to report Sir Ive's salary.

Semi-related, I've been meaning to point out for quite a while this explanation of the manufacturing behind the Apple Watch.  Basically, it's an industry insider's detailed commentary on the Apple Watch creation videos that Ive narrated.  Fascinating stuff (especially for manufacturing geeks, I would imagine).

While Boeing is happy to provide tours of their Everett, WA facility, Apple continues to operate with Willy Wonka levels of secrecy. In the manufacturing world, we hear rumors of entire German CNC mill factories being built to supply Apple exclusively, or even occasionally hear that one of our supplier's process experts has been "disappeared" to move to Cupertino or Shenzhen. While we all are massively impressed with the scale of Apple's operations, there is constant intrigue as to exactly how they pull it all off with the level of fit, finish and precision obvious to anyone who has examined their hardware.
He points out where he's guessing, but even the parts he's sure of are pretty amazing.  And you can see why it is likely that no one will be able to match their ability to machine aluminum for a long time.  It also shows how Apple's insistence on having so few products pays off in more ways than just the obvious cost benefits; it also gives them the ability to make higher-quality goods.




I got up a little earlier than my "usual", although ten-fifteen minutes after my alarm went off (didn't want to jump right up, as the baby was not sleeping well, and almost went back to sleep.  Got lucky was only up that much late).

I hurried out about ten minutes later than I'd wanted to leave, and got going.

One thing that's happened the last several days is that I've gotten my heart rate up too high on the first hill away from the house, although I'm not sure if I repeated it today.  Basically, it felt like I probably did, but my heart rate meter was only reading 92, which is usually indicative of a problem with the meter.  So I'm truly unsure.

In any event, I decided to try to finish my figure eight route in the hour:fifty that I had, so I was trying to push as much as I could while keeping my heart rate down.  That mostly worked, although I did get over 130 a couple times, and spent almost eighteen minutes over 125bpm.  So it wasn't great, but probably wasn't terrible.

Also, I couldn't quite remember my splits on a couple parts of the ride, and decided to do the second-longest variant (I have four or five choices for the last five to eight miles).  That probably wasn't a terribly good choice, as I got back a few minutes later than intended, though it wasn't disastrous.

The total was 28.3 miles, over 1:56:54 (14.5 mph; not bad, although Cyclemeter said 15.03mph, and indicated about 16.75 mph over the first hour).  I'm not sure how I managed that speed; I was consistently pushing 130-140W@125bpm, which certainly helped.  But I don't know that that's a whole lot better than usual, and that is a much better speed.  Maybe I was just doing a better job of staying in an aerodynamic position?

Regardless of the why, I was certainly very happy with the result.  Average power was 115W, weighted to 116W (which shows there wasn't a lot of variation).  That's pretty awesome, actually.

The only bad thing was that two of the times I exceeded my heart rate budget were on downhills; that's a bit weird.  Maybe not bad, really, but definitely weird.

I was glad that I heeded the weather.  It was projecting 50F, and it was a little chillier than that, for which I dressed.  I wore my thermal bib shorts, my warm long-sleeve jersey, and a summer base layer.  And full-finger gloves.  That was a perfect fit, as I didn't get overheated, and didn't notice the cold (though my fingers were a tiny bit chilled when I finished; I only noticed when I put them in water to wash them right afterward).  It makes me inordinately happy, I think, when I nail that.

My one concern was that the jersey would be too heavy, especially with the base layer, but it was great.

Tomorrow will hopefully be the Saturday group ride, where I'll probably get my ass kicked again.  Sunday will be an early recovery ride, as we're meeting some friends at the Delaplane Strawberry festival.  We went to that a couple years ago, and it was fantastic.  I'm hoping to be able to get some similarly good pictures there (though I won't be able to enjoy the strawberries as much, alas.  Atkins is not a terribly good diet for that).  After that, we'll see.


Dietary thoughts

I promised to talk about the diet a little bit more, a week or so ago, and haven't done that.  To catch up, I lost about twenty pounds from riding, then went on the diet (not specifically to lose weight) and lost another five or so.

The last couple weeks (minus the last few days, I think), I've gained back ten pounds.  I guess that follows the typical pattern with diets, although at least my baseline was pretty low.

What I did was just a matter of not counting my carbs for a while.  I was making sure that I got enough "foundation vegetable" carbs, but otherwise not paying a whole lot of attention.  I also was very bad for dinner before Mother's Day (specifically, I had cheesecake and desert wine) and for brunch the next morning (plus, I finished the desert wine not long afterward).  For sure, those two meals added five pounds (which I joked about when I did it, but I actually thought I was being a bit over the top.  It appears not).

I was also eating Quest Bars for several days before that.  Those are supposed to be good for Atkins (20g carbs, of which 17g are fiber), although I'm wondering if they really are.  Maybe it was just coincidence, but I was doing better before eating them, and after.  I will say, though, that they are delicious (most flavors, anyway; one or two were merely ok).

Still, I definitely see that I need to keep the carbs under control, and I also need to keep the protein from getting out of control.  My doctor was a little concerned about one of my blood test readings, last time I was there, and I need to cut back a bit on the protein to help with that (and the Quest Bars, with their 20g of protein, do not help with that, either).

I've also cut back a little bit on the cheese I was eating, although I'm still eating quite a bit.  I've found a couple new ones that I also like a lot.  Piava Lattebusched is a very nice (very) hard, cow's milk cheese with a remarkably creamy taste.  The only thing bad about it is the outside is completely inedible (unchewable, really) and difficult to separate from the rest (use a sharp knife, and do it before the piece gets small).

I've also discovered Manchego, which is a delicious semihard cow's milk cheese that's a tiny bit granular (and gets more so, the older it gets).  I've tried six month-aged and twelve month-aged; the twelve is a slight bit better, but not worth the cost difference (to me, anyway).  Another one where the outside is a slight pain, but definitely worth it (and not nearly as much so as the Piave, since it isn't as hard.  It's also edible, though not something you'd actually want to eat).

Anyway, I'm working my way back down, but I'm still 5-7lbs heavier than I'd like to be.  Hopefully, the next couple of weeks, I'll continue to do well, and get back down where I want to be.

A little tougher, yesterday

Yesterday morning I got up at 0400 to join that group ride.  I'd been told by my friend that it would be a small group, likely just the two of us, though a couple of women ended up showing up as well.

Anyway, I had to rush out of the house to get there in time.  I tried to adjust the leads on the power meter, and was able to get one of them quickly.  I couldn't get the other, but the one was good enough to get the meter to work for yesterday and today, at least.

So I got out of the house just about dead on with my planned time (Strava says I nailed it; I thought I might have been a minute or three late), and got on my way to meet the others in Vienna (about a half-hour ride).

I got there about on time, and met up with my friend and the two women to whom I'd earlier alluded.  We got on the way pretty quickly, and headed out towards Herndon.

It was a couple (and I do mean that literally) degrees cooler than I'd've preferred, but it still felt pretty nice.  I did wish that I'd worn my turn-signal gloves (yes, I have gloves that have turn signals built in; I haven't worn them yet), but I forgot them at the house.

Still, it was a nice ride; very calm and peaceful.  And the sunrise, when it arrived, was very pretty.  Peach yogurt, as my wife and daughter refer to it.  In fact, I was wishing I had my camera to take a picture at one particular spot, but I'd left it at home.

I did end up pushing my heart rate higher than I wished, although only by about 5bpm on the way out.  On the way back, I was pushing it that amount almost the entire way, and got ten beats over, a couple of times (I was worried about making it back in time, and it did turn out that I was a few minutes late).

Still, I had a good time, and am glad I went.  I think, next week, that I'll not do Tuesday as a hard ride, and save that for Wednesday.  In particular, they do two laps around a little loop out there that I want to really pound.  So that'll be the plan.

As for the whole ride, the total was 38 miles, almost 1500' elevation, covered at 15.3mph.  Those are all great numbers.  Average heart-rate was 120, which is also pretty good, but max was 140bpm and almost an hour (of the 2-1/2) was spent over 125bpm.  So that's not so great; probably not terrible, since today and tomorrow are easy rides, but definitely less than ideal.

I did a little more riding (roughly five miles) later in the day, taking my daughter to and from school on her bike, but that was very relaxed, as you'd expect.  My daughter didn't do quite as well as last time, getting up the hills on the way there and back, but she still did well.  I'm hoping that those hills will become easy for her if we keep going (and taking her new bike, which has gears, might well help.  Though it's even heavier than her old one, so that's not guaranteed).

This morning, as earlier mentioned, was an easy ride.  I got up a little bit early so I could get in 28 or thirty, but I cut that a little short due to rain concerns (I'm a little worried about getting my new shoes so wet).  It turns out I would've been fine, but it really started feeling like impending rain about twenty-four miles in.  Since there was an easy way to do so, that got me to turn towards home.

So I did 26.4 miles over 110 minutes, which works out to 14.3mph.  Of that, I did about 15.75 in the first hour, so the hills in the second half definitely make a big difference.  Those hills added up to nearly 1200' of elevation.  Power averaged 108W, weighted to only 110W, which isn't bad.

Heart rate averaged 120bpm, which is pretty good, with a peak of 136 which isn't, although that was rushing through a light that would have been quite long.  My power spiked to almost 800W very briefly, there.  Total time over 125bpm was just under eight minutes; more than I'd like, but far from enough to be upset about.

All in all, I'm pretty pleased with the ride.  I'm pretty reliably pushing 120W at 120bpm, which is pretty good.  The big keys seem to be breathing very deeply and keeping my shoulders relaxed.  Going into the drops hasn't caused as much spiking of heart rate, lately, and I'm very curious why that is.

In any event, not a bad day, and I might even go out later today, once it stops raining, to get a few more miles in.  Not sure.  Regardless, I really need to wash the bike and lube the chain (and pedals; one or both is starting to squeak again).

Regardless, tomorrow will be relatively easy and Saturday will be the tough group ride.  We'll see how those go.


Not so easy

Things started ok this morning.  I got out of bed, and didn't feel as tight as the last couple mornings.  I did some preparations, then got ready to get on the bike, and found that my front tire was flat.  Not good, as that's the tube that I just patched (again) yesterday.

I filled it up, then started to change it anyway, then decided to give the existing tube a try.

It actually lasted for the whole ride, although it was definitely noticeably low by the end.  Not sure what I need to do; maybe there's another hole that I haven't found yet (though obviously a very, very small one, if so).

Regardless, I got on the road (a little late, thanks to the running around and futzing), and did a mile and change of warm-up.  Then I decided to tackle a segment where I'd recently been pushed out of fifth, into sixth, followed by racing downhill from there on another segment where I'd recently been pushed out of KOM.

The first of those, I got my third-best time, which was disappointing.  The second... I can't find the segment, so I'm a little confused.

Regardless, after those two, I headed for the hills, to do some climbing.  And I guess I did ok there, but not well.  Really, it was a pretty frustrating ride all the way around.  I had no endurance at all.  And the power meter was out, again.  I did get the pictures for bending the leads in the meter that they were supposed to send earlier, but didn't get a chance to try bending them correctly (I was not surprised to see that I did it wrong the first time).

One thing that was a little annoying was that I didn't have time to do a proper cool-down.  That meant that recovery won't go as well, and also means that I was several miles short of where I'd've like to've been.  Still, I did a little over 13 miles at 17mph, almost 1100' of elevation, with over 22 minutes at/above threshold.  Although I'm much more sore than I'd hoped, and didn't break my record on that one segment, it's still hard to call all that a disappointment.  Certainly no more than a minor one.

Tomorrow will be a much longer ride, with the group ride out through Vienna to Herndon.  Hopefully I'll wake up in time to get there.  And be less sore when I'm done.


Peaceful mornings

Friday morning was just going long and slow, exercising but still getting ready for the rough ride on Saturday.  I did my long figure eight, which is 25 miles through Arlington and Falls Church, touching a little bit of Alexandria as well.

The weather was lovely, in the mid-50s, so the hour:forty-five was spent enjoying the calm.  I kept my heart-rate at a nice 120bpm avg, and kept the max to 130, although I probably spent a bit longer over 125bpm than I would have preferred.  Still, that hit all my goals (14.5mph, 900' elevation; the only downside was the lack of power data again.

I actually got out on my bike twice later in the day, once to escort my daughter (on her bike) to school, and again to bring her back.  That added another five or six miles, plus a couple hundred feet, but was far from being hard work.

On Saturday, I did the same group ride again, which turned out to be a larger group than normal.  It was good, though; I didn't mind the extra people around.  I didn't get as early a start as the last couple weeks, so my warm-up before meeting the group was only a mile or so.

Once we got on the road, things went smoothly for a while.  Where things started to go downhill was the pot-hole that I hit eleven miles or so in.  It knocked a bidon out of the holder of the guy in front of me, and caused a small pinch flat for me (though I didn't realize it for another half-mile or so, as it was a small one).  But I did have to stop, while everyone else plowed on.

The one good part was that they were starting a loop a bit ahead of where it happened, so I was able to just go backwards around the loop once I'd replaced the tube (I suck at patching, so I prefer to just replace, and do the patching at home).  I think I ended up about three or four miles short of the group, and I did miss the big hill (although I'd've gotten my ass kicked there, I still wish I hadn't missed it).

Still, I did meet back up, and we finished the ride.  It was tough; I will admit.  I mostly kept up, but did fall behind by quite a bit one time.  But at least that was the only time.

I had a whole bunch of PRs and near-misses over the thirty-one miles.  That took an hour:forty-one, so we were cooking.  I did 1400' of elevation; I imagine the rest of the group did another three hundred or so.  I did just over half an hour at or above threshold, so that was great.  Of that, almost five minutes was in zone five, which is fabulous.  Man, was I tired at the end, though.

And I had a bit of a teaser; I had taken the battery out of the power meter that morning, and attempted to bend the negative lead (on Stages' advice) to ensure good contact.  That worked, insofar as I got power data for the first five miles.  Unfortunately, I didn't have data for the last twenty-six, which was when we were really pushing.

So I can't say anything about power zones.  Have I mentioned, recently, that I'm not happy with Stages' performance?  I'm a fingers-breadth away from asking for my money back.  Basically, if they don't replace my meter again right away, with the replacement working perfectly, I'm going to be demanding it.  The hassle has not been worth the price (is my situation typical with them?).

After that struggle Saturday, yesterday morning was just a long, slow ride that followed a longer variant of my figure eight route that I did on Friday (basically, the same except for adding a couple miles to go down into Old Town Alexandria).  I was just taking it slow, still recovering from the rough ride the day before.

It totaled up to thirty miles over a little more than two hours, with 900' of elevation.  I didn't do as good a job with my heart rate, but I did make it back before the rain hit (it started a light drizzle within minutes of my return, which became a harder rain later).

But even the heart rate wasn't terrible.  I maxed out at 132bpm, with an average of 121bpm.  Not perfect, certainly, but not terrible.  And speed was 14.4mph, which also ain't bad.  I think I remember hitting 15.9mph or 16mph over the first hour; granted, mostly downhill, but that was still pretty darned good for a recovery day.

Today... well, my legs have been a little sore the last couple days (especially just getting out of bed), so I decided to take it even easier.  Not just keep the exertion level down, but also the miles.  And that was reinforced very quickly.

When I got ready to take the bike out, I noticed that the front tire was a little low.  Ok, I hooked up the pump and it was a LOT low.  I filled it up, and it looked good.  But half a mile in, that leak had sped up a bunch, and I had a flat (bad patch on that tube, I think).  I replaced the tube (again) and got going.

I had been thinking about doing my 15-mile loop, but decided to cut it even shorter than that.  I ended up only doing about eight miles, then decided that was too short, and did a very short loop around the neighborhood that added half a mile or so.  Strava has my speed at 12.8mph, although that seems a little low.

I had power data, I now see, but it cut out about when the tire went flat, and never came back.

On the plus side, the rain stayed away, and my legs didn't feel bad at all.  We'll see how they are in the morning.  And I re-did that patch, and I think I know what I did wrong the first time.

Another benefit was that I got home really early, which gave me time to get laundry started.

I wanted to get my daughter to ride to school again, but the forecast was calling for rain, and there's no covered place to leave her bike at school.  So we skipped on that, and found we only got a few minutes of rain all day, and that right before I picked her up.  If I'd picked her up right after school, it would have been fine.  *sigh*

Anyway, I think I'm going to do another hard ride tomorrow, maybe in the hills (or maybe my Arlington trail loop, which I haven't done in a while), then the group ride on Wednesday.


Another debacular finish

I watched last night's Caps game fully in mind of the Caps long (and terrible) history of finishing series' where they lead by two games.  It was certainly exciting when OV scored early, to give the Caps the lead.

On that one, and beautiful MarJo backhand found OV alone in the high slot.  OV's shot actually found Lundqvist leaning the right way, covering the angle, but also found the top corner.  No way in hell was that shot getting blocked.

From there, it was good to see the Caps not turtle down into a defensive shell, but they still gave up a late goal to tie the game up (yeah, I just elided more than two-thirds of the game).  That pushed the game into overtime, where the Caps looked very good (several seriously dominant shifts that forced some really good saves, but didn't find the back of the net).

But then they iced it and lost the resulting draw.  The puck went back to the point for a long shot, whose rebound went right to an uncovered Stepan for an easy goal.  Such an anticlimactic way to end.

Such a familiar ending for the Caps.

Only two positives, here.  One, I think the Caps will be better next year (especially if Trotz finds it in him to trust Bura more).  And two, at least they didn't go further into OT.  Another quadruple OT loss would have had me losing my mind.

I'm now going to try to forget about the Caps for the next several months.


This morning, I got up a little early, and tried to get out of the house a bit quicker than usual.  That kind of worked, although I had to take my shoes off and put them back on when I realized I'd forgotten to get my front light off the charger (right before leaving).

Still, I got out at 0510, and got going immediately.  Almost immediately, I was shocked to see that I had no power data again.  Time for some very angry words to Stages.

Also, what hit me even before that was that I'd forgotten it was going to be a little chilly this morning (about 50F).  I decided against turning around, though, and soldiered on, somewhat chilled (actually, quite chilled by the end, at least in my hands).

Other than that, things went really well.  I was pushing a bit more than usual (for a gentle day, at least), and still keeping my heart rate down.  I did my long figure eight that goes down to Alexandria (though a few blocks short of Old Town), and finished off with something close to my usual finish.

Overall, almost 25.5 miles, 1000' of elevation, and an average of 14.4mph.  I really wish I had the power data to go with it, because I'm pretty sure that's an average over 120W.  And my heart rate maxed at 132bpm (on a downhill, amazingly, where I hit 38.9mph; fun!) with only a minute and eight seconds over 125bpm.  That's damn-near perfect.

The only downside to the whole thing was that, as I mentioned, my hands were really cold by the end.  Fingerless, spandex gloves are not made for that temperature.  It was bad enough that I, at one point, had trouble waving thanks to a car that waited for me.  No bueno, that.

Still, it didn't reach the point of pain, and felt fine within a minute or so of going inside, so I'll take that trade.

Another easy day tomorrow, then group ride on Saturday, hopefully.  Details TBD.  And hopefully the rain on Saturday will hold off until after the ride.


I tried to do that group ride this morning, but things fell apart a bit.  I got up within a few minutes of on-time (I forget, exactly), then had to spend ten minutes looking for my heart rate monitor (I normally leave it in one of two places, and, in my hurry to get my daughter out the door, did not, yesterday morning).  I ended up getting out of the house only five minutes later than I'd planned on leaving, but that was enough to leave me about ten to twelve minutes late (the meet-up point turns out to be 8.2 miles from my house, and I'd estimated it at closer to six).

As I expected, the group had already left the Vienna caboose, so I took off to try to catch up; always a dicey proposition for an easy ride.

On the plus side, the weather was gorgeous, although the pollen was ridiculous.  I'm used to sinus issues related to that, but there was actually enough to get in my eyes, and physically irritate my eyes.  Despite that, it was a very pleasant ride.

Getting back to catching up to the group, my hope was that they were moving 13-14mph, and that I'd be moving 15-16.  If they were closer to the bottom end, and I were closer to the top, I figured I'd have an outside shot at catching them.  As it turns out, though, I did not, although I might have sighted them just before they turned off to do a loop in Herndon (I was catching up on a bike a few hundred yards ahead when I was getting to the spot where (I now know) they turned.  If they turned there, that'd explain my losing the bike(s) I was chasing.  All that said, I'm only guessing; Strava does not show us close enough to have appeared in fly-by's for each other's rides, so I could be wrong).

In any event, I turned around in Herndon, at the caboose by the side of the trail.

Also, I should note that my phone stopped recording for most of the last couple miles before turning around; I knew the battery was a little low, and had brought the charger.  But I had forgotten by the time I got out that way, and took a while to notice that my time and distance weren't changing (the light still being less than good didn't help).  But a quarter mile or so before turning around, I turned on the charger and re-started the recording.

From there, I needed to hurry home to make sure I got there before it was time to get the kids up.

One thing worked in my favor, by that time, I was able to sustain quite a bit more power at 120-125bpm.  Most of the way home, I was pushing 110-130W, and mostly doing a good job of keeping my heart rate down (though hurrying across a couple streets as lights were about to change made for some short-term disruption).

That made me quite happy, as I haven't really noticed being able to do that for the last month or two.  I wonder if it's just a case of taking a while warming up, and being able to do that reliably after a while (this was a long ride, after all).  Something to monitor, anyway.

Overall, ended up with a bit over 34 miles (Strava says 34.1, but it's definitely missing some distance due to the recording failure) with 1400' of elevation (some correction was made for the distance; I wonder if a similar correction was made for elevation), and took 2:24:00 (or so; it claims no stopped time, but this ride had more stopped time than most of my rides.  I would guess at least three or four minutes.  Regardless, the recording failure probably hosed this as well).  That's an average of a 14.2 mph, which is pretty good for a recovery ride.

All in all, despite missing the group, it was a really nice ride.  The weather was perfect, and I felt really good pedaling along.  I hope the next few days go as well.


Moving along

Been a little busy, lately, and haven't had much time to update.

Friday, I didn't have a lot of time, and just did my normal 18 mile ride just to keep going.  It wasn't a terribly interesting ride, except for the one person who decided that they didn't need to wait for me to go by before turning.  Thankfully, there was an open lane, and nobody running up immediately from behind.  So I drifted over into the other lane, yelled at the inattentive woman, then got back into the bike lane.

It turned out not to be that bad, but my adrenaline spiked all to hell.  So my heart rate spiked all the way up over 150bpm when I'd been doing a pretty good job at keeping it down beforehand.  Otherwise?  Nice weather, no power (just got the second warranty replacement yesterday; will discuss more later), good ride.

Saturday, we did do the group ride, and it was another loop up into MD and DC.  It was a fairly hard ride, and went well.  I was rather proud of myself; a couple of people got dropped (comment when I asked about waiting, "He knows the way home".  ok, then), but I wasn't one of them.  I did fall behind twice, but managed to catch up both times, and went strong otherwise.

I had power for the first ten minutes (warm-up, basically), but that was it.  We averaged 19.2mph, which includes the warm-up time (which was at about 13mph; I should set a lap, next time.  A rough approximation is 19.9mph for the hard part; I like Strava's tools for that sort of thing), so it was a decent ride.  That was over 38.4 miles, with 1500' of elevation.  I managed over 41 minutes in Z4, with another 3 in Z5, so that was great.

And at the end of the ride, there was one segment that I did pretty decently on the last time I rode it, but that I had never really tried to kill.  This time, I pushed pretty hard on that segment (not as hard as I could have, because it started earlier than I remembered), and managed fourth overall.  Rockin'!

The only bad part of that was that nobody wanted to try to keep up, so I had no company on the last mile or two.  But overall, I was extremely happy with the ride; I even pushed the pace a few times (though I wasn't really looking to do that, generally; I really just wanted to show that I could keep up).

That night, we spent the night in a hotel not far from home; my wife wanted to get out of the house for a day for Mother's Day.  Overall, that was a very mixed bag (I seriously killed my diet; I'll talk about that later), but it did have the effect of putting me onto a different route for my morning ride.  On a weekend, when I had a bit more time.

So Sunday's ride was a slow recovery ride that mostly went along the W&OD path.  I picked it up at Gallows Rd, and followed it out to Sterling (the road before Rt 28).  My original plan was to go outward for an hour, maybe an hour and ten minutes, then turn around.  I remembered that as being predominantly uphill.

But I made really good time.  When it got really close to an hour, I decided to turn around at the 16-mile point, since I'd made really good time.  When I got to that, I stretched it out one or two more tenths of a mile to get to an overpass.

When I turned around, I realized that the reason I'd made such good time was that I'd misremembered and it was predominantly downhill.  So now I was going uphill, and wasn't going to match my speed outbound.  That could be bad.

So I pushed my heart rate a little higher (130bpm target, and slipped a little higher quite a few times), to try to maintain my speed.  I made it in a few minutes over two hours, for an average of 15.7mph.  I was pretty happy about that, and about the 850' of elevation, but a tad annoyed that my heart rate was so high.  I was hoping for no bad effects from that.

Oh, and no surprise, but no power data.

Monday was another easy day, though I again got my heart rate a little higher than I wanted.  I'd left a few minutes later than planned, and spent the whole ride worrying about getting back late.  I still managed an average of only 112bpm, which was good, but with a max of 130bpm, which wasn't.

I made it back at my target time, which did make me happy.

There was one jackass, though, who passed me in Falls Church, who almost hit another biker (coming from the other direction) while passing me.  Then, when we got to the next street, I was watching him as he was turning, instead of looking for cars.  That almost worked poorly for both of us; he skidded into his turn as he had to slam on his brakes, while turning, to keep from hitting an oncoming SUV.  And I was going too fast, and went right into the path of the same SUV (though it was already basically stopped in avoiding him).  All in all, the situation didn't work out well for anyone involved.  I was a little disappointed to not see him in the Strava fly-by feature; he really needs to be more careful so he doesn't get anyone (including himself) killed or maimed.

Other than that, it was a very quiet ride, and I enjoyed it.  One thing that was odd was that I didn't change anything, but did have power data for the ride.  Weird how that works.

Yesterday, though, the replacement power meter did come, so I installed it last night.  I couldn't check its firmware since my phone was charging, so I planned to do that in the morning.

In the morning, though, I overslept by twenty minutes or so.  Not good.  I rushed out the door, slowing down before really starting to take a minute to connect with the power meter.  Then I went into the hills to abuse myself.

Several interesting things about that.  One, it was basically light out when I started (nice change).  Two, I saw several other bikers while I was riding.

With the light, I was able to easily set a PR on the long descent along 26th St, especially since I didn't blow the shifting going into the little ring when the steep hill bottomed out.  Showing no regard for life or limb, I actually hit 42mph on one particularly steep section where I have previously sat on my brakes.  Neat.  Plus, I moved up from 19th to 6th overall with the run.  Unexpected.

Coming at such good speed, I got a good push into the first hill.  With that push, I stayed on the big  ring all the way to the top of the hill (though I slowed a lot as I hit the top; I forgot that segment went a bit past that), despite the 8% grade.  Frankly, I was shocked that I was able to do it, and I improved in the standings there from 160th to 20th.  I knocked ten seconds off my previous PR (1:12), despite the slow-down.  Pretty cool.

That was pretty much it for interesting results (although I did get my second-best time ever on the next hill, as well), but I pushed on through for about 11.5 miles of hard hill-riding.  Unfortunately, that number is a little suspect, as I forgot to hit the lap button until I was a couple tenths of a mile past where I'd meant to hit it (and wasn't doing much more than coasting over those tenths).

Despite that, I managed 17.8mph over those forty minutes, with twenty-seven of them at or over threshold (per HRM, not power meter).  That made me pretty happy, as did the fact that I several times blew away other bikers on the hills (though it's true that the only other riders I saw who were probably serious were going the other way the one time I saw them).  Still, it was nice not to have to hold back.

After the hills, I went on another sort-of loop, most of which was over part of my 18-mile route, and with some meandering at the end.  I finished with eighteen miles and change.

What really pissed me off, though, was that the power meter only worked at all for the first eighteen minutes (with some serious drop-outs in that time) and about half of the last eighteen.  Adding a tiny bit to the annoyance, my heart rate meter dropped out for the last nineteen as well.  At least that was there for the hard-riding portion, which is where I really need it.

So I need to replace the battery in the HRM; not a big deal.  I checked the power meter's firmware when I got home, and it was up to date.  I did a zero-reset on it and paired it with ANT+ (stages is far more reliable on ANT+) before putting the bike away.  If it doesn't work over the entirety of the next several days, I'll be talking to Stages about getting my money back.  The meter needs to be reliable to have any value at all, and thus far, it hasn't been.

Tomorrow will be an easy ride; maybe meeting with a group in Vienna (depends on if I wake up early enough) and riding out to Herndon.  Should be fun, if I can make it.  Thursday and Friday should also be easy rides, so I'm ready for the tough ride on Saturday.



I don't have a whole lot to say about the last two Caps games.  They've been pretty badly outplayed, and Holtby has basically won both games for them.  Great that he's able to do that, but it's not a strategy to bank on.

The one really good thing is, with Burra scoring twice last night, maybe he won't get sent back down when Fehr's healthy.  Maybe he'll even get moved up alongside Kuzya?  That's crazy talk!

Speaking of Kuzya, he's probably a bit overconfident.  He's been trying to do too much the last couple games, and it's resulted in a lot of turnovers.

Beagle's goal probably keeps him from being benched, when that happens, too, and that's less fortunate.  Beag's been killing it on the dot, which is great, but he's mostly a liability outside of that.  Winning the face-off doesn't help if you can't keep possession.

Anyway, the top line has been mostly invisible the last couple games; a few threats, but nothing consistent.  We'll take it, as long as we're winning, but it's worrisome.

Niskanen and Alzner... I'm not sure what they're doing, but it's not working.  They're just getting killed.

Green?  He's actually been fantastic, but hasn't been getting enough ice time (hurt, maybe?).

Still, the Caps now have a 3-1 lead in the series.  As any long-suffering Caps fan can tell you, that's a long ways from victory, but it's certainly an enviable position.  It's a certainty that the Rangers will come out flying, tomorrow night.  The Caps had better be ready for that.

Go Caps!

Hills and Dales

Night before last, just before going to bed, I decided that there was no way in hell I was going to make it up at 0400 (or a bit before) to make it to that group ride, so I went for the option of climbing hills.  It didn't quite work out as I expected, but it was pretty good.

I did a mile or so of warm-up before tackling the hills (probably should have done another mile, really), and that was enough for me to notice that my power meter was failing again.  Just got in touch with Stages again; will see their response.

But then I attacked the hills with vigor.  The first hill is usually the hardest, but missing my PR by two seconds was enough to have me not even place.  It gets a little gentler for the next half mile or so, then you turn onto Lorcom Ln (northbound, coming from Nelly Custis Rd), and hit another.  The second isn't as steep, but it's rather longer (though I do think the segment name of 'Lorcom Morale Buster' is a bit much).  I actually didn't think I'd done much, there, but I killed my PR and put myself into the top ten.  Better pacing, I guess; for sure, I wasn't completely toasted (though close) when I got there.

From there, it was a lot less interesting, but with a lot more up-and-down.  In all, I did just over 40 minutes in the hills, then decided to do eight or ten miles of "cool-down".

The idea was to just go at my normal recovery speed for half an hour or forty-five minutes, and that's largely what I did.  But I chased down one biker on the W&OD, going uphill; not super-strenuous, but not cool-down.  A mile later, I went down a long hill, hit an evil light (meeting Rt 7 on Idylwood) at moderate speed, where I passed the second car in line, and drafted off the first for half a mile or a mile.  That spurt got my heart rate all the way up to 190, which is completely the opposite of cool-down.

From there, I took it easy again for another mile or two, until I got to Powhatan.  There are two big hills there; I went with a little speed up the first one, then coasted down and attacked the second one.  I was disappointed not to set a PR there, but only missed by one second (almost a 40s climb).  Not bad.

I turned towards home on Williamsburg, and wasn't really trying to kill it, but had my second best run there as well (seven seconds behind my best over the mile).

Overall, it was 22.6 miles, with just over 1500' of elevation, and I did it at 16.5 mph.  The first twelve miles, where I was deliberately pushing (and which had the bulk of the climbing), I managed 17.1mph.  I was quite pleased with that, although I really wish I had the power data for it.  Also, I did almost forty minutes at or above threshold, which was fantastic, and several minutes of that was in zone five.  Love it.

At the end, let's just say that I was tired.  Not dead, but certainly tired.  An hour and change later, I rode my daughter to school for 'Walk and Bike to School Day' (she rode, I ran interference on my bike, where necessary).

In the afternoon, I had to ride back to pick her up.  That was a little more interesting, because I was hurrying (rain was threatening, and she doesn't have the gear for riding in the rain), so I took the main road.  Old Dominion, where we are (aside from the two blocks where we live, which have a service road), is one lane each way, with no shoulder or sidewalk.  Generally, I avoid it.  But there was a big gap for me to slip into, and traffic ended up being directed around construction taking up one lane.

So it wasn't nearly as bad as I was worried about it being.  In any event, I made it there and we made it back without incident.  Yay.  Now I'm thinking we might start riding more regularly.  Will have to talk with my wife about that; it'd be very good practice for my daughter.

In any event, I went to bed early last night and got up just after 0400.  I figured I'd get a longer ride in, that way, which I did.  Since I had a bit of extra time, I did the longer version of my big Figure Eight, the one where I go all the way into Old Town in Alexandria.  In all, it was 31.1 miles, 1300' of elevation (exactly; more than I'd've guessed), and I did it at 13.9 mph.  Given the elevation, that's pretty good.

The only downer was that I let my heart rate creep up over 125 quite a few times.  I spent nineteen minutes over, which is way more than I'd like (though maybe not a big deal, given the 2-1/4 hours riding), and peaked at 135 bpm (chasing someone, again; gotta stop trying that).

Still, I felt great at the end, so it's hard to be too upset.

Tomorrow, I'll go for my normal eighteen-mile ride, I think.  Then, later, I'm going to ride over into DC to take some pictures of WWII birds flying over.  That won't be a fun ride, though, as I'll need my big camera, big lens, and big tripod (15-20# total weight).  Hope that works out ok.  I'll know what I'm doing for taking the pictures, though, so hopefully I'll get some good shots.


Rolling relaxation

I did not try to get up early Friday morning for riding (too tired), but did get up as soon as my alarm went off.  The forecast had called for rain, so I was mentally ready for that, but I only put my shorts on before looking outside.  When I did, it looked like the rain was finished.

So I decided that I'd take my chances, mostly.  My concessions to the chance of rain were my old shoes, with rain booties, and the rear fender.  And I was certainly glad of the fender, as there was plenty of water being kicked up from the road.  But the rain never came (well, not until hours later, anyway), so I was glad of taking my chances.

I did my normal 18-mile loop, again trying to keep my cadence up higher.  I think it's because of that that my heart rate stayed higher, averaging 121bpm, but with a max of only 131bpm.  So that was a bit more than I wanted, but wasn't too bad.  And I liked the speed, being 13.9mph.  I'd like to get that a little higher, but it isn't a serious complaint.

And I had power data; pushing the meter's cap inwards worked well enough to last through the day.

The next morning, it was time for the group ride again.  I got up at the normal time, even though that made me a bit early for the ride.  Like the week before, I did a few miles beforehand as warmup (not as much as the week before, though; about three miles instead of roughly six).

I had power data for that stretch, but lost it when I started riding with the group (maybe something to do with the five-ten minutes wait?).  I had gotten the new cap (actually, two) from Stages, and was hoping that fixed things.  It appears not, though.

In any event, the ride was basically the same as the week before (up MacArthur to Falls, to Oaklyn, to Persimmon, and back down MacArthur), except that I was feeling a lot better.  I kept up a lot better than a week ago, although I still blew up, a bit, at the big hill at the end of MacArthur.  I destroyed my previous PR on that hill, though, which was cool (knocked it down from 4:50 to 4:06).  It's almost a minute away from top-ten (and over half a minute behind the leaders on that ride), but encouraging, though I have to give a lot of the credit to being able to draft a couple of the others for the second half of the hill.  It's certainly faster than I would have managed on my own.

The rest of the ride went smoothly; I had some calf cramp twinges on later climbs, but they never went into full spasm and lock-up.  And I wasn't feeling bad when I got home; a bit sore, but not terrible.

Not surprisingly, I set a lot of PRs on the ride (forty-ish; lots of segments on that ride).  I set a couple of 2015 KOMs, too, although I don't read a whole lot into those, generally.  The most important part, for me, was just that I was able to keep up for the whole ride (except that one climb); it's an incontestable sign of progress.  And I had over half an hour above threshold, so I hit my fitness goal for the ride as well.

Sunday, of course, was all about recovery.  But since it was a Sunday, it was a long recovery ride (and without power, as I wasn't able to get the power meter to wake up).  I rode two and a quarter hours, covering 32.5 miles (14.5 mph avg), which was great.  I did cheat a little bit on heart rate, though; in one stretch I got all the way up to 137bpm while passing someone (I thought I could pass them while keeping it down, then looked down to see I was way too high).  I averaged 120bpm for the ride, which was just fine, though I spent more time above 125 than I would like.

All that finished out the Strava week (they're in Europe, so it's Monday to Sunday) with 177 miles and 8600' of elevation.  A bit less than I'd prefer, but still a pretty good one; actually, a very good one for a week where I didn't take a day off for a long ride.

Which brings me to yesterday.  The weather was supposed to be clear and moderately warm (a bit over 50F), so I dressed pretty lightly.  I had a sleeveless base layer under my jersey, and ened up glad for that.  It turns out that it got down to 46F for a little bit; not terrible, but in the area of wanting a light jacket, which I didn't have (incidentally, Saturday also got that cold, but I was cranking pretty hard for most of Saturday, so I noticed it very little, then.  I was the only rider in the group to not make any concessions to chilliness, though).

Regardless, I'd not gotten much sleep over the weekend, so I was pretty tired, Sunday night.  I struggled out of bed at 0500, and made it onto the bike by about 0530.  The ride almost exactly matched Friday's, as I averaged 13.9mph @ 120bpm (maxing at 128bpm again).  And it was the same ride.  So I went out, did the 18m, and felt pretty decent at the end (I'd not stretched for several nights beforehand, and I think it helped that i finally did so, briefly, Sunday night).

Last night, I watched the Caps game, starting at 2045 or so, and mostly watched it through (skipping the commercials, of course).  I finished that, let out a big held breath at the result, and did some quick stretching again.  Then I finally remembered to lube the chain (it wasn't that bad, but I'd been meaning to do it for a couple of days), and stumbled into bed.

Aside from being a bit warmer, today was almost identical to yesterday.  I wore equivalent clothes, and did about the same ride in a minute less time.  The slight difference in distance and time was enough to bump the speed up to 14.3mph, and my heart rate got up to 132bpm (which definitely annoyed me.  I was certainly having more trouble keeping it down, today), but it was pretty close to the same.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do tomorrow.  I'd like to wake up early and get a group ride in (although with a slower group than the Saturday one, so I'm not sure how that'll work).  Or I might just get up around the normal time, and do my hills ride to force myself to ride harder.  I probably won't decide until I see how tired I am, tonight.