Where did everybody go?

I gotta admit. I almost slept in this morning too. But, I didn’t. When I got to the velodrome there were only 2 other riders, Jonathon Baker (Natural Grocer’s Cycling Team, http://www.vitamincottagecycling.com/v/) and another rider dressed in a team kit. Usually on Thursdays there are anywhere from 8-11 “serious” riders representing several different local teams. Guess someone called for a ski day and forgot to tell Jon.

Natural Grocer's Cycling Team (taken from their home page)

Natural Grocer's Cycling Team (taken from their home page)

 Jon is incredible to watch and to ride with. Strong, steady and he has an incredible work ethic. Turns out he is also one of the top racers in Colorado. Figures, eh? I found this out after spending some time looking on the internet for the teams I see on the Thursday jerseys. Anyway, I got to spend some riding time with Jon today since he didn’t really have anyone else to ‘play’ with. It was pretty cute, after we’d both been warming up for quite a while and I was starting to do my normal blue-line pace riding (19-21 mph), Jon rode behind me as if we were a pace line of two. At first, I didn’t bite. I just kept riding my ride. Then Jon dropped down and passed me — but came up just in front of me a short ways and looked back at me over his left shoulder as if to say, “Are you coming?” I must admit, I thought about it for a few seconds and was momentarily intimidated (not by Jon as a person, but by his riding ability). Then I increased my speed just enough to get onto his wheel and we were off!

We rode pace line at about 24 mph for a while, swapping leads and at some point picking up the other rider for a while. We did some sprinting too. Jon showed me a training exercise that he and the regular Thursday morning group does where the pace line takes 3 preparation laps and at the end of the 3rd lap, sprints for the line and drops down into the sprinter’s lane where they do three laps of increasing speed. The goal is to try real hard to keep pushing and pushing so that you are really burning at the end of the 3rd sprint lap.  I wasn’t quite sure of the goal the first time we the drill and I got 2 and a half laps in on Jon’s tail before I had to bail (I popped out of the sprinter’s lane and went back to my old, familiar blue-line). We did it a second time and even though I knew the goal this time, my legs just didn’t have it in them to pull of f 3 all-out laps. Again, I had max effort for about 2 and a half and then started to fall off even though I was trying for all I was worth. As a testament to my effort, I got my heart rate up to 170. I haven’t seen 170 in a VERY long time. I thought 170 was my absolute max. Guess not. Close…but probably not THE max that I thought it was.

I plan to continue doing these interval exercises since I believe they will make me a stronger rider. Maybe I’ll get to the point where I can do them with others on the track — but until then, I’m fine doing them solo.

Everyone that rides in the Tuesday/Thursday early session is great about bringing new riders like me along and making us feel comfortable and part of the group. If any of you ever happen upon this journal — Thanks for everything! You guys (and gals) are the best!! And Jon — a special thanks for taking me under you wing today. It was a blast and now you’ve got me thinking about master’s racing!