Soaring Temps Begging for a Long Ride

I thought last Sunday was nice — today it was supposed to be even nicer, and it was! Days that are warm enough to get long rides in comfortably are generally hard to come by in January so when I heard the forecast I set aside both today and tomorrow for long rides.

I went against common cycling wisdom a little by riding a distance that is more than 10% greater than what I’ve been riding recently. My velodrome rides have been between 17-25 miles a session and my outside rides have been on the order of 25 miles as well. Today’s ride was almost 45 miles, with 2598 ft of elevtaion gain.  I guess I figured that the intensity of my velodrome workouts when paired with the distances have prepared me for the longer distance.

And, I think it worked out alright. I actually started out  feeling tired for the first 7-10 miles. My legs were a little heavy. My legs fatigued easily with exertion so I tried to ride conservatively and not ask too much of myself.  This might have been because I rode hard with Jon Baker at the velodrome on Thursday. Actually got my working HR up to 170. This is what I use as my ‘Max HR’ — looks like I might have to retest Max and come up with a better number, eh?

As for the initial fatigue, given how chilly it was when I started out, I figured a good looooong warmup was probably in order anyway (sounds good, eh?).  During the middle of the ride, I felt my energy level pick up and I rode up the hill to the trailhead steady and strong. Overall, I’d have to say that I was in good shape for the ride and rode it at a reasonably good pace (15.0 mph).

 It felt closer to 32F when I left — (according to Weather Undergound, the temps were in the low 40’s to the low 50’s during my ride) was chilly the entire way out to the open space trail head at the top of the hill out by Horse Tooth Rez. The sun came out in full force when I got to the turn-around point (great spot — has both a potty and a water pump) and I’m sure that was the warmest I was on the entire ride. The descent could’ve been slower — as it was, at 36 mph, my feet were pretty cold on the way down. Once I got back to flatter terrain with occassional climbs I was fine. Luckily, it was a very calm day and when there was a little breeze, it was a slight tailwind (only on small segments of the way home).

I wish I had my camera with me today. Apparently everyone in Boulder and Larimer counties had the same idea I did. Within the first 5 minutes of the ride, I encountered a couple of solo riders and a HUGE pack of at least 25-30 riders all decked out in team kits. I tried to count them as they went by, but they were tightly packed and moving very fast so all I could do was estimate. During the course of the ride, I must’ve seen at least 75 riders an probably closer to 100. Except for one guy with bare legs, everyone was dressed in layers. I had on my silk longsleeve shirt under my heavy Lucent Yellow longsleeve jersey. On my legs I had my long, lined tights with the nylon front wind panels. I had turtle fur on top for the way out, and put the chili pepper sweat cap on for the return trip. Lobster-topped Pealizumi gloves kept my hands ‘just right’ and my Performance winter shoe covers were priceless on my feet!

It was absolutely wonderful to be out on the roads today. Makes the fridgid temps of the last several weeks a distant memory. And, the best part is we might get to do it all again tomorrow!

Todays Stats: (From the Garmin, ODO from my Vetta bike computer)
Distance:  44.48 mi
Ride Time: 2:58:15.18
Ave Speed: 15.0 mph
Max Speed: 36.2 mph
Elevation Gain: 2598
Elevation Loss: 2630
Est. Calories: 2301
Ave HR : 124 bpm
Max HR: 152 bpm

Z1 (< 103): 7:48  for  2.5 miles    (can you say — coasting “Downhill!”)
Z2 (< 120): 33:01   for  9.3 miles
Z3 (<137): 1:27:21   for 22.5 miles
Z4(<154): 55.44  for 11.6 miles
Z5(<171): 0