After reading that a body will ‘adapt’ to training and plateau, I decided to change my normal ‘quick ride’ route today. Instead of heading north to the Hog’s back and riding it clockwise to CtyRd 14 and back, I decided to ride it in reverse. OK, that might not be enough of a change to trick my body but it was worth a try. Part way through the ride, I also decided to push myself more than usual since I was riding solo and didn’t have any excuse to back off my pace.
When I set out, it was about 90 degrees and there was a brisk breeze out of the east. I felt good and pedaling smoothly came easily. I was tempted at the turn off to the Hog’s back to take my normal route, but resisted and continued on north. I rode around the Lon Hagler reservoir just because I couldn’t remember ever riding it from this way. The hill up to the south end of the reservoir was steeper than I realized (or maybe the wind was stronger than I thought) and I had to gear almost all the way down. As I looked up the hill after reaching the north end of Cty Rd 14, it was interesting how different this route looks backwards! The undulating hills to the west looked foreign and had I not known the route so well I would have sworn that I had made a wrong turn. The climb up was very doable but one that could give me trouble if it were an early-season ride. From the top of the hill I could see forever — in this case north and west. It was a beautiful view. I’ve got to start taking my camera and include shots in my write-ups. From this vantage point, there is a mile or more of medium-serious downhill. I took this opportunity to hydrate and mis-calculated the position of my water bottle cage which sent my bottle to the pavement…and me to a screeching halt! No damage done except that I lost all my speed which is a crime on a downhill like this! As I was getting back up to cruising speed, I noticed the multi-tier swing set that I have seen on this ride many times as I grunt my way UP the hill. Going this way, sitting up straight and with the luxury to look around a bit more, I noticed that this tall structure actually had a platform on the third tier that was the start of a 75-100 ft zip line! So, in addition to trying to coax my body into improving, a change of direction opened my eyes to things that I’ve ridden by for the last couple of years. Too funny!
After I passed the zip-line and got to the bottom of the hill, I headed west back up towards Carter Lake Rd — which is a mainstay in my training program. Keeping with the goal of tricking my body, I rode the hill for all I was worth. I didn’t want to red-line, but I wanted to be a bit “uncomfortable.” I rode the last 1/2 mile in zone-5 (which for me is anything at or above 154 bpm). By this time the wind was coming at me directly from the west. Amazing how drastically and quickly the winds can shift out here. Some of it is probably atmospheric and some of it is just how the winds are influenced by the hill, canyons and rock formations in the area. But, for whatever reason, the winds had shifted 180 degrees. The rest of the ride home was familiar and Scooter and I went on cruise control. I could tell that I had pushed myself though. The last little rise before I get home took more effort than usual. I know we didn’t set any land speed records today but that was probably partly due to the wind.
Stats for the ride:
Distance: 23.5 miles
Ave Speed: 16.5 mph
Average HR: 140, Max: 156, WLI:930
Zones: (1) 2%, (2) 5%, (3) 16%, (4) 73%, (5) 3%
Time & Ave HR to stop sign at end of CO56: 20:34.9, 134
Time & Ave HR for remainder of the ride: 1:05:03, 142