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.

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