On the fence – took Velodrome option

I hate days like today when trying to decide what kind of training ride to do.

The temperatures say one thing and the wind (and fore-casted winds) lead to a different answer. When we got up to feed the horses (we care for about 40 of them…) I dressed for winter. I had on my “Elmer Fudd” hat (fur lined, Klondike hat), a sweatshirt under my Carhart farm coat and lined gloves and boots. Before I even gave the first paddock of horses their breakfast it was clear to me that I had over-dressed. As I pulled wheel barrows of hay around the farm my mind started processing around whether to go for a ride on Pogo right from the farm or drive down to Boulder and ride at the Boulder Indoor Cycling velodrome. It was not a slam dunk either way. Temps that looked like they could soar into the 50s were in favor of riding outside near home but pesky wind gusts reminded me how nasty it can be riding in the winter when the gusts come up quickly and with a vengeance. I debated back and forth and never landed solidly on an answer.

Either way, I’d have to get my base layer riding clothes on – so I delayed the decision and got dressed instead. Once all the preparations to ride were complete I had to decide. My first decision was to ride outside but when I stepped out to validate my decision the wind was howling and visibly moving the trees in our backyard. Time for plan-B. Reluctantly, I loaded up my velodrome bag and headed out with plans to be there in time for the 10-11 am riding session. One aspect of riding at the velodrome that had me pretty excited was my new “MyLap.com” timing chip. I ordered it right before the new year and haven’t had a chance to get it installed yet. So, that was also on my velodrome agenda. My Fuji track bike is staying at the velodrome these days. They rent out spaces underneath the track where you can hang your track bike by the saddle over 1″x1″ bars. I’ll have to get a photo of the bikes — it’s pretty cool. Anyway, my thought is that if I only have to keep a gym back with helmet/shoes and bike clothes I can be more flexible about dropping in to ride. So far, that hasn’t happened, but I am still optimistic.

The staff helped my mount the timing chip on my front fork and then I hit the track. There was only one other rider there at 10am, a young fellow in a Blue Sky team racing kit. He introduced himself as Will and we warmed up together — setting a descent pace while still being able to carry on a conversation. He no longer rides for Blue Sky — switched to Rally Sport this year — but talked highly of the team. I shared with Will my desire to race this season and he thought Blue Sky would be a good match for an entry level racer like me. Shortly after we warmed up, Dale Stetina (of US Olympic and National team cycling fame) arrived and made it three.

Once we warmed up, I rode with Will and Dale in some lively pace lining but went my own way after about 10 minutes of that. I started to think about checking out my new timing chip. I found my own space on the track and I pushed the pace a little since this would be the first real data I’d have with respect to my lap speed. I pulled into the pit area and looked up my data on the computer screen. It seemed like all my laps were a little over 10 seconds. And, they were remarkably close but it seemed like I got just a little slower each lap. That puzzled me because I know I tried harder on a couple of them and expected to be able to pick them out of the list pretty easily. After scratching my head over this, I realized that I was reading down the “Time of Day” column instead of the “Lap Time” column — so yes, my times would reflect the clock time — about 10:30 am. Too funny. Once I found the right column, I could, in fact easily pick out the laps where I had exerted more. My lap times varied quite a bit — as I would expect. When I was riding “tempo”, my times seemed to be around 12-13 seconds per lap.

Ellen Laird holds the 50-54 year-old, women’s one-lap record at 9:48 so I had an idea what a good time would be. My goal today was to drop down into the sprinter’s lane a few times and see what times I could produce. I did the sprint laps in pairs. I rode out at about 75% for the first lap and then turned it up a notch on the second one. It is hard to say whether that second lap was 90%, 95% or ???. I do know that I went fast enough that I had a little trouble holding my line in the turns! Reviewing my heart rate data, I also see that my average ws 136 bpm and I hit a high of 167 bpm. ┬áThat represents a significant effort on my part. I rarely see heart rates that high when I’m out road-riding. Anyway, bottom line — I rode close to 225 laps today (in about an hour of riding time) and my fastest lap was in 9.552 seconds.

Kinda funny, I am the rabbit I’m chasing today! I’m anxious to go back again to see if I can improve on that. I’m also going to start looking at my average speed over the entire ride and probably look to improve the total number of laps that I can complete in a training session. Fun stuff — just when I thought I had every possible scrap of data I find a new source!