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.

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