3 seconds. Only 3 seconds.
Back up a day. I got into work early yesterday and I knew I was coming back to work for a dinner function last night. So I decided to take a break in the afternoon and go for a ride. It was a great day for riding. Cool. Light wind. I dressed in my brand new Fat Cyclist jersey (first time in pink!) and headed out.
I have a personal favorite 35 mile route that I ride when I have the time. It takes me out towards the mountains and has a number of steep, moderately long (i.e. longer than a kicker, not as long as a “climb”) hills and so it makes for a fun ride.
This ride also has two Strava segments on it. One each way depending the direction you take the loop. Strava, for those of you who don’t know, is a website that allows you to upload your ride from a gps. You can define what they call “segments” on pieces of road. Segments are like little mini races. Usually they are hills and you can see how fast you go up that climb. Others who ride that segment also record their times and everyone can see who is fastest (“King/Queen of the Mountain”). I don’t want to get into the goodness/evilness of Strava others have done that. But I find a weird thing happens to me when I define a segment to see how fast I am on it. I feel like I own it. I feel like I should be the fastest on that segment. I feel like I marked it as mine.
I defined the segment on my 35 mile loop. Its a 1.2 mile climb that has a 10-12% grade for the first half and a 2-3% grade for the second half. And it was mine until about a month ago.
So off I biked. It was a great bike ride. Lots of fall colors. Nice weather. I had a great time. Then I got to the segment. Up I went. Going hard. Then it was over. And the thing is you don’t really know how you did until you upload your gps track. But that didn’t bother me. The end of the ride was great. I love the last quarter of this loop. You are at the max altitude for the ride and you are left with a rolling hill decent back home. If you are feeling good those rollers are a lot of fun. You can maintain momentum up them and build momentum on the downhill. And I felt good yesterday.
When I got home I stretched and booted the computer. Up went the ride to Strava. (Geek Doug moment. I think this technology is way cool. This program takes my gps track, figures out if there are any segments on it, pulls the portion of the gps record for that segment out, calculates a time, and compares it to all the other times people have ridden it. Totally cool.)
Personal best (meaning it was MY fastest time ever), but not King of the mountain (meaning I wasn’t the fastest ever). I missed the fastest time by 3 seconds! 3 lousy seconds. That’s one hesitated shift. One more car going up with me instead of against me. I recognize the name of the guy who has the fastest time. He is a very strong, fast rider. And I was 3 seconds behind him. Can I beat him? How hard did he go? Maybe he was just cruising and taking it easy when he did it.
The ride was fantastic regardless, and I’m sure I will be doing it again, soon. I figure I have 3 more seconds I can shave off. I mean I better. After all, its MY hill!
(BTW. 3 seconds is about how much slower I am on a luge run than my friend Duncan Kennedy who is a former Olympic Luger. I will probably never make up that time on him, he is perhaps the best slider the US has ever produced. Just a quick aside. If you want to know just how cool Duncan is as a person, read this article. That’s who Duncan is.)