Training, racing, gear, facial hair styles and thoughts from my push to become an elite cyclist.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Memorial Weekend Power File


Over the Memorial Day weekend I got three rides in- one went well, one went poorly and another went OK.  

That Saturday I took the RSL out for its second ride with the intention of  getting in 2.5-3 hours at tempo pace.  Every trail system was either under water or completely swamped, so I did an extended dirt road warm up and headed for the usual wet weather refuge- Cotton Brook.  The trails at Cotton Brook are really the old roads that serviced the houses on Ricker Mountain before the Waterbury Reservoir was put in during the 1930's.  The gravel surface sheds water well and is rideable when other places aren't.  There are still some homesites, cellar holes and old farm tractors rusting in the woods.  

After about 40 minutes the skies opened up and my new RSL and I got soaked to the bone.  My spirits were slightly dampened, but as I waited for the torrent to subside the thunder rolled in, and that was the end of my day.  Fortunately I was near the car.

Sunday I spent the day at a Memorial Day parade- one of the smallest I've ever seen, and hung out under a large tent trying to avoid the sun, heat, cold beer and hot dogs.  I didn't have any beer (which was hard), I spent most of the day under the tent but still got a sunburn on my neckline.  Eventually I gave in and ate a hot dog.  I do love my junk meat.  

At around 5:00 PM it was still over 80 degrees when I left for my ride.  I really hadn't had a break from the heat since mid-morning when I stuck my head into the ice bin at the convenience store as I pretended to deliberate about whether chipped or cubed ice would be more appropriate for my afternoon adventures.  

My legs felt stiff and weak, and as I turned the pedals I felt like I had borrowed someone else's body for the day.  Normally I can handle the heat, but in late May I was not ready for it and I suffered over the steep undulating roads of Addison County to the top of Brandon Gap.  I refer to Route 73 as the Orwell Ardennes because the short, steep roads wind their way through wind-swept farmland, much like I expect Belgium to be.  The overall vertical gain is minimal, but a race on these roads would absolutely shred the peloton.  

When I got back to the house I was a mess, and my mother-in-law encouraged me to jump in the pond to cool off.  After minimal deliberation, I jumped in still wearing my bib shorts, though I lowered the shoulder straps.
Then came Monday, and somehow the original plan to ride 85 miles home seemed completely overwhelming even after two Red Bulls.  Two hours later I had planned out a route and started the task of getting ready.  Bottles were filled, chamois were put on and sunscreen was slathered.  

After two sub-par days in the saddle, this proved to be the best ride of the weekend.  I took a more circuitous but less hilly route to start, then worked my way down through Brandon towards West Rutland on some of the most amazing roads I've ever ridden.  Minimal traffic is common for Vermont, but pristine pavement isn't, and I had found both.  The miles ticked by as I spun past farms, homesteads and the occasional trailer park.  

About halfway through the ride- at the furthest point from the house- I started to lose ambition.  The pedals were turning more slowly, and my progress became arduous.  I was ready to stop riding, but had two more hours to go.  I pushed through, and was glad I did.  

You can see the power file for that ride above.  It was a good ride, even though the numbers are very uninspiring. 

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