Snuck into the Swami's group ride this morning, chasing my neighbor and riding buddy Jon. He normally rides with the A's, and races with the Swami's team. I just typically ride with him on his days off, slow training days (for him). We rode from our town 17mi from the group ride start point. I left my house at 5:30am and got to La Costa just S of Carlsbad at 6:20. (Got a 5th place on one of the Strava segments coming out of my town on the way, wasn't hammering it, so that was a nice surprise.)
Met Jon at La Costa at a rendezvous point, where the group rides by from the start point and hits the coast. He jumped in, and I followed, thinking, "what am I doing, I should be waiting for the B group to come by 5 min from now, I can't hang with these guys yet". (As it turns out, this group was a mix, there was no A or B today due to the bad air quality, but it was a fast bunch for me to try to hang with just the same.)
The pace once we hit the coast was stout. I wasn't sure if I'd get dropped right there or not. I should've just sat in, but went through several rotations, taking my turn pulling at the front, to earn my keep a bit (and learning how to work in the group is important, and fun, and a responsibility I think if you're going to ride with a group). After a few pulls, I hung in the back half, not knowing how much gas I'd have in the tank. This was a fast pace, and my priority was to keep with the group first, everything else second. So I conserved a bit of energy, as the hills were yet to come.
Once we got into the hilly sections inland in Carlsbad, I geared down and spun. No heroics, no hard climbs out of the saddle (well, just a few out of the saddle stints, but mostly sat and spun). I was managing my gearing, keeping resistance light as I could and revs up while still holding ground in the pack, so I'd keep from burning my legs out and getting dropped. Got gapped a few times in the first few hills, wasn't last, but wasn't in with the leaders for sure. Rejoined the lead pack at intersections and hung in there decently for the most part. (No doubt, the traffic lights helped me a couple of times, thank you Lady Luck.)
On a few of the later climbs, I kept right behind the 4th wheel the entire hill, so the energy-conserving attempts were paying off. I wasn't burning out, felt decent, not sprint-worthy, but good.
A couple of the guys were lagging behind me on the climbs, then passing on the descents. That made me feel pretty good. At least I was climbing better than somebody.
On the climbs, I kept chanting to myself in my head, in time with the revolutions, "1-2-3-4-1-2-3-4-all-day-all-day". The thought being, there was no way in hell I could climb the hills at pace and keep up, but I could definitely keep turning 4 revs at a manageable and continual pace all day. Broke it down into little goals, over and over, strung them together and it got me up each hill pretty well. I adopted this in my trail running years ago, so I brought it over to cycling and it works for me. When I'm on a tough hill on foot, I just repeat 4 strides endlessly up the hill. That's doable, forever. But taking the whole hill as a challenge, that's mentally tough. Small, repeatable goals.
In the end, I finished fresh, rode back to my town with Jon, split off as he went to work and rode strong back to my house, even PR'ing a segment or two.
Overall, it was a very fun morning. I'm still a wide-eyed newbie, listening and watching carefully, learning something important each ride, and improving each week. I'm coughing a tiny bit here and there, as the fires this week have made air quality crappy; it's probably best to stay in for the next couple of days, maybe just going to sneak out for trail runs when the sun sets and the wind dies down.
Stat's from the ride:
2:37:43 Moving Time
204W Estimated Avg Power
434W Max Est. Power
1,933kJ Energy Output
18.4mi/h Avg. Speed
45.2mi/h Max. Speed
Edited by Super D - 5/15/14 at 8:42pm