Saturday, August 25, 2007

Rode My Age Today

Turned 51 today, and when I got off work, I "celebrated" by going for a nice long ride. I hadn't ridden that long in a while, due to the Godawful August heat and humidity. But the weather was relatively cool, and there wasn't much wind, so I decided to go for it.

Started out at the 41st St. trailhead of the Riverpark East Trail. Went north on the trail to the 21st bridge. Crossed the bridge and continued west to Avery Drive. I was averaging about 17 mph when I reached Avery Drive.

Avery Drive is one of my very favorite stretches of pavement. It's a 2-lane, tree-lined, road with nice shoulders that winds around the side of a large hill. The grade is a series of rollers that give you a decent workout on the climbs and a fair bit of fun on the descents. I pushed the pace a bit on this stretch, and was averaging 17.7 mph when I reached the junction with SH-51.

SH-51 is almost dead flat for the next 4 miles, but I've only done about 10 miles at this point, and I keep it at about 19 mph. When I make the turn back, I'm averaging about 18 mph. The 4 miles back to the junction are uneventful, and I manage to pull my average speed up to about 18.2 mph.

Avery Drive tends upward going east, and I push hard enough to hold an 18.1 mph average at the top. 21st St. is almost dead flat for the next few miles. I manage to get my average speed back up to 18.2 mph, but there are a couple of overpasses with stop lights at the bottom, and by the time I cross the 21st St. bridge and turn south onto the Riverpark East Trail, my average is back down to 18 mph.

I'm starting to fade a bit, and I can't manage to keep up the 18 mph. But I hang in as best I can. I take the trail to the turn-around loop at 71st St and back to the 41st St. trailhead, where I stopped and refilled my water bottles. I've done about 34 miles at this point, and my average speed has dropped to 17.7 mph.

I continue north on the trail to the turn-around loop at 11th St. and turn back south. I have a little over 40 miles in when I pass the 41st St. trailhead. I do the math, and I need to go out another 5.2 miles and come back to make my 51 miles. I'm down to about 17.5 mph average speed, and it's tie a knot in the end of my rope and hang on time. My feet are starting to hurt, my right knee is complaining, and the sun is getting closer to the horizon. But I keep going. Past the 71st St. turn-around, past the Creek Nation Casino at 81st St., to the magic 45.8 mile point where I can turn around and head for home.

Those who believe the dead do not return to life have never seen me on the last five miles of a ride. The trail was almost dead flat, there wasn't enough wind to disperse a good fart, but it was like a reserve battery just switched into the circuit. Before the turn, I was working to hold 17 mph. After the turn, I was cruising at 18 to 19 mph, and even hit 20 mph on short stretches.

Of course, it's hard to change your average speed much when you've already done 46 miles, and I finished up with an average speed of 17.5 mph. Max speed was 32.8 mph. Average heart rate was 147 (78% of max). Maximum heart rate was 164 (87% of max).

Friday, August 17, 2007

Hammered Today

The heat has been really bad, this month. I've been riding relatively short (less than 2 hrs) rides, but pushing the pace. Today, I turned in my fastest average speed ever for a ride of more than 20 miles. The route can be seen here.

Started out at the 41st St. trailhead of the River Park East Trail. Didn't really push the pace hard on the trail section. Kept my speed at or under (mostly under) 18mph on the trail portion of the course.

Crossed the Arkansas River at the 21st St. Bridge. Took 23rd St. over a couple of overpasses, nothing worth shifting out of the big ring. 23rd St. curves back into 21st St. I'm averaging about 17.2 mph at this point. It's pretty flat, and I grab the drops and push it up to about 19-20 mph. I'm averaging about 17.7 mph by the time 21st St. becomes Avery Drive.

Avery Drive is one of my favorite stretches of road. It's tree-lined, has good shoulders, nice, rolling hills that aren't too tough to climb and are fun to descend. I hit my max speed of the ride on one of the descents, 33 mph. I'm averaging 18.2 mph by the time I reach the SH-51 junction.

SH-51 is another nice, flat stretch of road. The shoulders are nice and wide and the pavement is in good shape. I grab the drops and kick it up to about 20-21 mph. About 4 miles of this pulls my average speed up to 19 mph when I make my turnaround.

I've been running in the high 70s to low 80s percent of my max heart rate for most of the ride, and I'm starting to tire a bit. Coming back I have to push my HR up to around 83-85% of max to keep my speed in the 19-20 mph range. I manage to pull my average up to 19.2 mph by the time I reach Avery Drive.

I really drop the hammer coming back up Avery drive, hitting 89% of max heart rate on one climb, and managing to average 19.1 mph by the time I reach 21st St.

21st St. tends downhill coming back, but even at 83-86% of max HR, it's all I can do to keep my speed in the 19-20.5 mph range. I manage to pull my average up to 19.2 mph again, when I hit the first of two overpasses. The pavement's really crappy, but I jump out of the saddle and give it all I've got. I top the overpass going about 14 mph, and my average speed dropped to 19.1 mph, but I get lucky and catch the green light at the bottom of the overpass and get the average back up to 19.2 mph within a couple of blocks.

I get another break at the stoplight at the bottom of the second overpass, but try as I might, I can't keep the average speed from dropping to 19.1 mph, and my speed won't come back up much going down the overpass.

I have to do two walking-pace U-turns to get from the bridge to the MUP, and the MUP isn't really suited to high-speed riding, so I pulled the computer about halfway across the bridge. I rode the rest of the way home as cool down, keeping the HR under 65% of max.

The ride was 25.5 miles, not counting the cool down. I averaged 19.1 mph, the fastest average speed I've ever managed on a ride of more than 20 miles. Max speed was 33 mph. Moving time was 1:20:09. Total time was 1:20:39. Average HR for the ride was 153 (83% of max). Max HR was 169 (89% of max).

Friday, July 20, 2007

New Wheels

My rear wheel gave up the ghost the other day. It had stress cracks at numerous drive-side spoke holes, and was starting to get squirrelly on me. Fortunately, the LBS had a sale on some Mavic Ksyrium Equipes for 30% off.

I'd gotten in a couple of short rides with them, but today, I got to try them out for the first time on a longer ride. Started at the 41st St. trailhead of the River Park East trail, crossed the 21st St. Bridge, took 21st St./Avery Dr. to SH-51, and part way up the first of 2 good-sized hills east of Lake Keystone. A map of the route can be seen here.

It was a hot, humid, breezy, day. The winds were mostly cross winds, and the temps were in the mid-90s. I was averaging 18 mph at the turn onto SH-51. The portion of SH-51 that I rode is flat, and I was able to raise the average speed to 18.5 mph by the turn around point. I managed to raise my average a little more, to 18.7 mph by the time I turned onto Avery Drive.

Avery Drive is rolling, trending slightly uphill when heading east, and my average speed dropped to 18.5 mph by the time I hit 21st St. Back on flat ground, I let her rip, and pulled my average back up to 18.8 mph by the finish.

Total distance was 28.9 mi. Average speed, 18.8 mph. Max speed, 32.4 mph. Average heart rate was 150 (70% of max). Max heart rate was 171 (90% of max). Total time was 1:32:50, moving time was 1:32:10. Split times were 34:49 at the SH-51 junction going out, 1:02:41 at the junction coming back, and 1:32:50 at the finish.

Verdict: I think I'm going to like these wheels. I can't find anything in my records of any ride of this length and difficulty with equal average speed. The old wheels served me well, and I wasn't wild about shelling out the money for a new wheelset, but there just may be something to that old saw about better wheels being faster.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Video of the Week

This week's Video of the Week happened last week. Fabian Cancellara sticks it to the wheelsuckers in stage 3 of the Tour de France.

Friday, July 13, 2007

New Personal Record

Yesterday, I set a new record for average speed. The course was an out and back on the Tulsa Riverpark East Trail, starting at the 41st St. trailhead, and turning around at the fork where the trail branches under or across the 96th St. Bridge. Winds were light, about 7-10 mph out of the South. The trail is almost dead flat, with no significant climbing.

The outbound leg was almost straight into the wind, and I had to push to average 18.4 mph going out. Coming back with the wind, I averaged about 21.1 mph for the return leg.

Sat down for a few minutes to catch my breath, and when I got back on the bike to ride home, I noticed the back tire had gone flat. I have no idea how long I rode on the flat tire.

I did the 12.4 miles in just 37:56, for an average speed of 19.6 mph. Maximum speed was 27.2 mph. Average heart rate was 158 (84% of max). Maximum heart rate was 171 (90% of max).

Saturday, July 7, 2007

Video of the Week

This week's Video of the Week features Flatland versus Kunst in an amazing display of artistic cycling. You simply gotta check this out.

Back on the Bike

Took a couple of days off after the Tour of Payne ride. Got a pretty good ride in, today. Rode 21st St. to Avery Drive to SH 51. Rode 51 to the last turnaround before the two hills east of Keystone Dam. Map is here. Weather was partly cloudy, temp in mid 90s, little or no wind.

I was pretty well rested, and I knew I wouldn't be riding tomorrow, so I hammered most of the way. I was averaging 17.9 mph, at the SH 51 junction. The portion of SH 51 I rode is pretty flat, and I was managing between 20.5 and 21.5 mph most of the way to the turn around point. Average speed at the turnaround was 18.3 mph.

I managed to get the average speed up to 18.4 mph on the way back, but lost some time on the Avery drive section of the course. I stopped to check my back tire on one of the climbing sections, and by the time I was back up to speed, I was down to 18.2 mph average speed. Held that average the rest of the way home, though.

Counting the distance I rode to and from the start point on the map, I rode 27.9 miles. Average speed was 18.2 mph. Time was 1:32:04. Max speed was 30.7 mph. Average heart rate was 144 (76% of max). Maximum heart rate was 164 (87% of max).

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Tour of Payne

Rode the Tour of Payne today. Did the 66 mile course. Their usual 62 mile course had a section closed for repairs, so the organizers added 4 miles of detour around it. A map of the route can be seen here.

The ride started from the Best Western Motel in Stillwater, OK, at 7:30. The weather was cool and overcast. We went South on Perkins Rd. I hung with the lead pack until the first climb. A second pack overtook me, and I managed to grab onto a pretty good paceline. Hung with them for a while. We were averaging around 18-22 mph on the flatter sections (of which there were few). I lost them on a nasty climb at about the 18 mile mark, but passed them a mile or so later, when one of them had a mechanical problem. Made the turn onto SH 108, passed through Ripley, OK (believe it or not), and skipped the rest stop there. This was about the 20 mile point, and I was averaging about 17.2 mph.

Crossed the Cimarron River, north of Ripley, and hit a long, gradual climb to Meehan Rd, where I turned east. Meehan Rd is mostly steep climbs and steep descents, with a relatively flat stretch from mile 27 to mile 30 on the map. The hill work I'd been doing paid off on the climbs in this part of the course. I even passed a couple of guys that were significantly lighter than me on one of the climbs. I was still holding about a 17.2 mph average, when I turned onto SH 18.

SH 18 climbs into Cushing, OK, and my average speed dropped to 17 mph by the time I pulled into the rest stop. Time was about 2:05. I made my second mistake at this point, and it nearly ruined the ride. I started out with 64 oz of Gatorade in three bottles. My first mistake was not drinking enough. I should have been out of Gatorade when I reached the stop. I had better than 1 1/2 bottles left. I compounded my first mistake, by chugging those bottles down before filling up. I spent most of the rest of the ride wondering whether I should pull over and barf. I was dehydrated, sick at my stomach, and tired from hammering out a faster pace than I'd planned.

I started out slowly, managed to make it over the high point of the course, and started to catch a second wind, as the course trended downhill. My average speed had dropped to about 16.2 mph when I rolled into the Ripley rest stop. I had to cool down (temps were in the high 90s, by this time), and I pulled a chair under a ceiling fan and vegged for about 10 min. I managed to get a piece of watermelon down, but I didn't bother filling my bottles. I only had 20 miles to go, and I still had more Gatorade in my gut than I really wanted.

I was still making better time than I'd expected going in. Made the turn (west) onto Meehan Rd. This section of Meehan Rd. was reasonably flat, and the climbs weren't too bad. I managed to hold my average speed, and might have gained a bit, but I don't remember.

Turned south onto the detour, and hit one of the hardest climbs of the day. Made it over the top, and really appreciated the 5 miles of almost unbroken descent. I passed up the last rest stop, about 8 miles from the end of the course, and held an average speed (on the bike time) of 16.2 mph to the end of the course.

Lessons learned:
  1. Drink!!! You brought the Gatorade to drink, so drink it!!!
  2. If you forget to drink, don't try to compensate by chugging down more than your stomach can handle.
  3. If you want to get better at climbing hills, climb more hills. I did, and I did.
Stats for the ride:
Total distance:
66.3 miles
Total time:
Riding time:
Average speed (riding):
16.2 mph
Maximum speed:
34.9 mph
Average heart rate;
140 (74% of max.)
Maximum heart rate:
171 (90% of max.)