Friday, May 22, 2009

I suck at building slowly

Building slowly over 15 minutes running. Building slowly over 8 minutes on the bike. Who knew it was so hard? Especially on the bike, with hills and wind. Lots of wind.

Today was beautiful out, starting at 0 C this am, but by 10:30 it was getting nice enough to ride. Almost by accident I wore a long sleeved tech shirt, mainly because of the sun, but it turned out to be a good idea.

I wanted to go out for a nice long ride and test my legs. They're feeling much better today. I tried the building over 8 minutes thing and it just didn't work out for me at all. I'd either peak too soon and realize I wasn't at a sustainable pace, or I'd have a hill and getting up it would take priority over the build. Once I started, and then totally lost track of what I was about, what with dealing with some interesting traffic.

In the end, I decided to push fairly hard, aiming to go well above my regular pace on this road, but holding a little back so I wasn't quite at race pace. I tried going out James McKevit instead of 37 St, and what a mess it is. Construction everywhere, and lots of gravel. Not just the pea gravel the City strews around by the mega-tonne during winter, but actual gravel, the kind on roads, and used as a base for concrete and such. There was a bit of an adventure dealing with a huge dump truck, but that all worked out ok.

I didn't push too hard till I got to 22X, not far from Spruce Meadows. Mentally, I cranked up the output and headed off. At this point I'd say it was a fairly stiff wind, mostly across the road, but I think pushing me along a little. I was astonished at my speed; the first hour was 29 K, and that includes the slow bits and some stops before getting to 22X. That got me pumped, and I carried on. I reached the 45 K mark in 1:39 (27.3 Kph), and kept on going west. I was attacking the hills like an animal, trying to be much stronger, in a harder gear than usual, and pushing hard over the top to get back up to speed again.

It's been a long time since I'd been out that far. I went past McLean Creek, past Paddy's Flats, and turned around at the 60 K mark, which was the top of the hill just before the Elbow River Launch. It was windier than ever, it had clouded over, and it was getting cold. Everybody else had on a jacket, and I was wishing I had one too.

Normally, going east on 66 and 22X is a fast affair. It's mostly downhill, and usually the wind is from the west. Today it was mostly from the south, so it was a stiff cross wind, and a bit from in front. Mentally, I bared my teeth at it and pressed on. I was a bit cold and was beginning to feel it in my shoulders of all places. There's 3 big hills on the way back, and I pushed hard up them. I was getting a few twinges from my left calf, but it was hanging in there. The wind made me tuck and lower my elbows, which changes my position on the bike a bit, hopefully for the better.

Going back was ok. Stopped at the info station for a civilized pee, and to be in a warm place for a minute. Tried to stay strong and maintain my pace. However, I did fade a bit during ride back, especially just before the turnoff for 37 st. I'd like to blame the wind, but I was getting a bit tired.
80 K in exactly 3 hours (26.6 Kph)
90 K in 3:23 hrs (26.6 Kph)
96 K (Chinook bike distance) 3:35. (26.8 Kph) Last year at Chinook my time was 3:46 for a similar ride, maybe not quite as windy. My ride today was a bit further west than the full Chinook course, so the times aren't exactly comparable.
115 K (Done!) 4:19 by my watch, and 4:16:29 by the bike computer
The bike says average speed is 26.9 Kph overall
It was sure nice to turn north on 37 st, and let the wind blow me home. The last hour or so of the ride was windier than the top of the hill above Cochrane last week.

T2 4:48
5 K run 35:30, nice and easy, mid to high zone 2.
The first few hundred meters were pretty tough. I settled into an easy stride for most of the second K, then things fell apart for the next couple K. The last K was wonderful. I found a fairly fast stride that still kept my heart rate in Zone 2, and my legs felt great. I could have done another 5 K of that, I think. Maybe. I don't have the experience that many of you do, but I suspect the wheels could come off the wagon with startling speed.

I didn't have a big enough breakfast, and was getting a bit hungry by the middle of the ride. Maybe that's why my speed faded a bit on the way back. I cut my Clif bars into 6, I took 3 bars, and ended up with 2 pieces at the end. I drank 1.5 bottles of energy drink, and one bottle of water. I had an extra water bottle if I needed it, but I sure didn't sweat much today.

After the run I chatted with one of my neighbours who was busy cleaning his road bike in prep for a ride tomorrow. I asked if I could bring mine around, and he says that everybody should clean their own bike. Home, and inhaled a banana and some V8 juice. Put my feet up for 10 minutes and did some stretching, then showered. Linda made me a great lamb sandwich on Turkish bread, with Havarti cheese, specialty mustard, mayo, with some sweet red pepper jelly. mmmmmmm. There will be beer a little later. Like, real soon now.

I'm really pleased! I pushed myself a bit today and had a great ride. For the longest time I've been all about just surviving up the hills. Now, I'm pushing harder, and feeling better. Life is good.


  1. I loved reading how you turned the negative feelings around! :) Sounds like that 8 minute build was a brick wall...

    I've been ruminating on this brick wall thing, and I as it sinks deeper into my ole brain, I am liking it more and more.

    You know when you read a really good book, but the REAL story starts after you put the book down? All the ideas slowly sink in and move around and initiate change within? Like a metamorphosis?

    This brick wall thing is like that for me -- I know it has stirred something deep inside me -- I can feel it. :)

  2. Nice job on the ride Keith! It sounds like you are definitely making some great progress and learning what is and isn't working for you.

    One of my teammates put together a video on how to clean your chain. It makes it a whole lot less intimidating. Not sure if that is what you were talking about specifically...but anyhow, in case you are interested in watching it:

  3. I love the wind at my back, there is nothing better!

    I just give my mountain bike a 'jiggle' when it's dry- my friend at the bike shop recommended that I didn't go too crazy because bikes really aren't meant to be washed like a car. A quick wipe down when it dries off, lube the chain- thats it.

    I like my mountain bike a little dirty anyway- she looks happy that way.


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