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.

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