After sleeping in and missing not one, but two workouts yesterday morning, I was scrambling to rearrange my schedule to make up the Master’s swim and bike ride that I blew off.
Side note: I am not technically “training” for anything, but I know that if I don’t want to walk away disappointed with my tri peformances over the next couple of months that I have to put time in on the bike and in the pool. My goal is to squeeze in 3 rides, 3 runs and 2 swims each week. This is similar to my 70.3 training from last year, but obviously not nearly as intense.
To make up the ride, I decided to join a group of riding friends after work at the Donaldson Center, where the Greenville Spinners (local bike club) meets for rides on Tuesday nights. I was assured by a friend that I wouldn’t get dropped and I felt pretty comfortable because instead of joining the Spinners, we were riding on our own with a group of 4 others that I have ridden with on a regular basis for about a year now.
As I was leaving work, I noticed that it was WINDY, like 30 mph+ gusts, windy. Some of you that live near the coast or in the Midwest may be used to this kind of wind, but Greenville sits at the base of the Blue Ridge mountains and we don’t get that kind of wind. Hills? Yes, bring them on. But wind? No thank you.
We took off from the meeting spot and I realized right away that I might be in trouble. From the very first mile I had to push to hold the tire in front of me. And with the wind, it was downright necessary to hold that tire or I would have been dropped almost immediately.
I mentioned recently that I am definitely not in “riding shape” right now and I definitely got my arse handed to me yesterday. Every incline we hit, I got gapped and I was in danger of being dropped at almost any time. I tried to stand up and push on the hills, but my legs were burning so bad that I could only do it for a few seconds then I had to get back in the saddle. I would catch back up on the declines and the flats or at a turn or stop sign, but it took every ounce of energy I had to stay with the group for the entire ride. I was sucking wind and my heart rate was sky high the whole time.
Ultimately I think what got me through the ride was focusing on my cadence. I tried to keep it between 90 – 95 rpm, which is the sweet spot for me (maybe not for you though!). This is where I feel like I am most efficient and have the most power. It seemed like every time the gap started grow, I would look down and see my cadence above 100 or below 85 rpm.
We rode right at 30 miles averaging 18.4 mph. When we rolled back into the parking lot at the end, my legs were on fire and shaking and I was more than ready to be off of that bike! Overall, this was definitely a good wake-up call to show me where my fitness it right now.
This is definitely motivation get those 3+ rides in every week, do some hill repeats on shorter rides, regularly include tempos or pick-ups into the rides and continue to ride with strong, fast riders. I am learning that biking is not different than running in that way…if you want to get faster, ride faster and of course, ride with fast people!