Tuesday, March 18, 2008

What a difference a day makes...

Here, a day late and a dollar short, is the post I meant to write yesterday...
So I rode both Sunday and Monday, my first moderately serious back-to-back training days. The schedule said 40 miles Saturday and Sunday, but with Paige's birthday madness and my need to watch the kids, Saturday was a no-go. So I figured "Hey, I could drive up to Mom's house on Sunday, check the fit on my old road bikes, then ride home. Then Monday after work I could ride back over there, get the car, and go home!" Genius, right? Well, sort of...

Sunday:

The first problem is that it's not 40 miles from Mom's to my house. It's like 33 or so. But hey, I'm off the training plan anyway, and that's farther than I've ridden so far, so what the heck. The second problem is that I waste a bunch of time and don't get out of the house until 11:10. I'd been aiming for 10:30. Crap. I have to be home by 3:30 so Paige can take Maya to a Girl Scout Cookie site-sale and not have to drag Logan along. "Hmm," I thought, "guess I'll have to push it a bit."

I make it to Mom's in good time (around noon, I think), clean out her roof drains, try out the bikes (both too tall...did my legs shrink, or did I just not care if I racked myself on the cross-bar when I was in High School?), chat with Mom, and hit the road. The first two miles from Mom's house are great: Pretty much straight down hill, not a lot of work, and a chance to get up some serious speed. Being 41 and careful, rather than 18 and nuts like I was the last time I rode this hill, I only topped out at around 35. Still a rush, but not completely out of control. From the foot of the hill I headed west to catch the Lake Washington Loop bike trail, rolling up and down minor hills from Coal Creek to Renton. In Renton things got a bit sketchy, since I wasn't exactly sure what the route was (and, apparently, delivery trucks don't like bikes in Renton 'cause they all honked at me). Eventually I found my way to Rainier Avenue and headed north toward Seward Park.

To this point I'd been making pretty good time, averaging around 15mph on the flats and down hills. Rainier is a bit more hilly, but I still kept the pace up, although I did slow to a pseudo-crawl on the last climb before the drop back to the lake at Seward Park. From there it was flat and smooth up the lake to Leshi (with a brief pit stop at the 20-mile mark), and I was able to keep up the pace. But all things must come to an end, and the nice flat Lakeshore Drive (Lakeview? One of those...) ends and it's time to climb. I chose to go up Madrona, which is long and moderately steep, but also straight. I gear down to the "not quite granny gear" (because my rear deraileur is mis-adjusted and won't stay in the lowest climbing gear) and crank away. And sweat. Lots and lots of sweat.

I finally reach the top of the hill, coast down through a neighborhood or two, and make it to the Arboretum. Which provides another great downhill run, although not as long or as steep as the descent from Mom's so I only hit 27 or so. Still, I'm making good time and cranking away. Across the Montlake bridge, down the Burke Gilman trail to Fremont, then north and up the hill home. I make it there around 3:20, pound some water, take a shower, and collapse in a heap on the couch. Whew!

Monday:

I wake up Monday still exhausted. Not a good sign. And my quads hurt a lot. Not as bad as the day after the one spinning class I've ever taken in my life (which resulted in charley horses so massive I had to take a day off of work because I couldn't go down the stairs...), but still pretty bad. But I shower, gear up, eat, and hit the road. Not to ride in, mind you, just to the bus...which goes well - the legs don't seem to mind riding as much as they do walking. Weird.

I spend most of Monday at work fluctuating between "oh my God I'm tired" and "wow, my legs really hurt." Neither of which is giving me much hope of making it to Mom's in one piece. So I begin revising the plan. First to go: the full route. My initial plan was to ride to Fremont from downtown, then basically repeat Sunday's route in reverse: University, Arboretum, Seward Park, Renton, Coal Creek, then up the hill. I figured this would be 30 miles or so. But 30 miles mid-day and 30 miles chasing darkness are two different things, and I don't think I can safely leave work at 2:30 or whatever. So I opt to cut off the north loop. I'll just head to I-90, ride through the tunnel, then pick up the lake route from there. That'll be more like 25 miles.

Then the afternoon goes on and it's clear I won't get out at 3:30 or 4 either, so I cut out Renton altogether and in the end just do the straight I-90 shot across Mercer Island, then ride down to Coal Creek before beginning the loooong slog up hill. And long it is. Looking at the distance chart you can see that the speed drops like a rock as the elevation starts to climb. And looking at the time-series chart, it appears that the last 2.5 miles took about as long as the first 10, if not longer. Yowch. Definitely not an easy ascent, and I doubt I would have been much faster with fresh legs. Don't remember the hill being that long or that steep when I was a kid...must have grown since then.

The Graphic Evidence

Here's the distance chart for Sunday: High speed (blue, left scale), net altitude drop (green, right scale)...



Then there's Monday (same color/scale scheme, shorter distance), distance and time series:



Gotta love that speed drop at the end...


2 comments:

kyano said...

You my friend, have some seriously geeky gear to have created those graphs... Color me impressed. :-)

Scott Chicken said...

Yes, I am the master of gadgetry...gotta love that GPS technology! Without it I wouldn't have a clear record of what a lard-ass I am.