If you look over to the right you will see the countdown timer for the Willmington Whiteface Race. Today it was at “
12 11 10 9″. Yup only 12, uh 9, days left till the race. And it is taper week. Monday was my last long ride before the race. The instructions were to “make it count”. Work on pacing, hard on the flats, attack the climbs. “Make it count!”
This year I have not gotten up to Lake Placid to ride the course at all. It’s just been way to busy. So I decided to do my local “hill” ride. Hitting as many of the steep hills as I could. The route looked like this:
Pumkin Hill to Whitehill, to Catherine Rd to French Hill to French Pond to East hill then home. Mostly paved but with about 15 miles of jeep trails on it, including some pretty nasty gravel hills. All told it is about 5000 ft of elevation gain in 75(ish) miles of riding. Without doing hill repeats it is pretty much the most climby route I can get close to my house. Here is the elevation profile:
And the grade looks something like this:
You do have to keep in mind that the grade profile is smoothed, so you loose a lot of the real grade on the short hills when you look at it like this.
My goal for the ride was to ride zones 2-3 for the entire ride (except on the descents). To push but not quite race pace the climbs. The ride was the best long ride I have had this season.
I was able to keep my heart rate right in the zones that I wanted and to keep my speed up. I was able to keep my pace pretty constant for the entire ride and I never really got too tired even at the end.
I did a slightly shorter version of this ride last year and when I compare the rides two things stuck out. I was slightly slower on the longer climbs this year. That’s a little disappointing and worrisome. BUT my average speed was over half a mph faster for the entire ride over the ride last year. That tells me I have better endurance legs than I did last year.
I like having a good big ride going into a race. It gives me confidence and makes me feel like the work has paid off.
So we will see what happens. My goal for this race was to finish in the top 100 for the first time at this race. That means I need to shave about 30 minutes off my time from last year. (I need to finish in about 5:30, last year I was 6:01.)
To do that? Well I am really going to have to have a strong day physically, but probably more importantly, mentally.
Time to get it on.