I have been using one of my favorite 50 mile loops as my long MTB training ride in this early spring. At the beginning of March I rode that loop and had The Perfect Climb. Then two weeks ago I rode it again and it was, well a Grind. On my first ride I averaged 15.6 mph over the ride. On the grind I averaged 14.7 mph. Almost a whole mph (which translated into 11 minutes) slower. I really never got into that second ride. I never felt good, I never felt comfortable. And it showed.
The directions for today’s ride were: 3 hours, hard, mtb, race pace. Attack on the hills, rest on the descents. Time to see where I am at. Tour of the Battenkill is up next weekend.
The weather today was chilly (34 F), but sunny. Way better than tomorrow which was supposed to be warmer, but wetter. I geared up accordingly. Two base layers, 1 full sleeved Fat Cyclist jersey, chamois cream ;), long pants, base layer (for my head), gloves, warm socks, shoes, shoe covers. two bottles of electrolytes, 6 honey stinger gels.
Then onto the bike.
I felt good from the start. I got about 10 minutes into the ride and I started to follow the directions. I attacked on the ups, rested on the downs. Checked the heart rate monitor and I knew I had my legs. And that was the best part of the day. Pushing and feeling like I could actually do it. Sustaining at a pretty good rate.
My coach also had this little tid-bit in the directions: work to get progressively faster as the ride goes on. That was a little difficult to figure out. The end of my ride was mostly downhill. I maintained a good temp, didn’t feel wasted, and could have gone farther.
I ended up 8 minutes faster than the first time I did this ride, and 21 minutes faster than the great grind ride. Average speed: 16.3 mph. (BTW. Levi Leipheimer set the record at Leadville of 6:16. For 103.5 miles that’s a 16.5 mph average. Time to go for the win?)