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.

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