Outstanding ride yesterday, and another personal record.
Last Thursday when I rode at Wekiwa (and encountered a black bear!), I shaved 11 seconds off my personal best time on the first segment. Because I’ve been timing myself on that segment for such a long time, I was extremely happy with such a large improvement on my best time.
Yesterday morning when I hit the trails I was feeling really good. It was hot and pretty humid, but I decided to see if I could shave another second or two off my time on that first segment (Sand Lake Trailhead to Marker 13).
The first section of the first segment has a lot of sugar sand and some roots, but it was running fast thanks to the recent rains. As I rode I glanced down at my Garmin Edge 500 and saw that my speed was a hair below 20 MPH, which is really fast for that section of trail. By comparison, my speed on that same section when I set my PR last Thursday peaked somewhere between 17 and 18 MPH.
Encouraged by the high speed, I continued to ride as hard as possible.
None of the corners at Wekiwa are bermed, and most of them are covered in slippery dead pine needles and leaves. I was hitting the corners as fast as physics (and my skill) would allow, and I was right on the ragged edge of my tires breaking loose almost every turn. Taking the corners that fast is risky, as a fall would mean no possibility of breaking my record, but also necessary to keep my speed up. I came close to losing the bike several times on those corners, but I manged to maintain control and not fall.
When I got to the end of the segment I was destroyed. I unclipped from my bike and watched it roll away and crash into some brush as I collapsed on the forest floor. I was not a pretty sight: heart pounding like a jackhammer, completely out of breath, sweat pouring off me in buckets, snot rockets, drool on my face–complete and total exhaustion.
I allowed myself three minutes of rest, and then continued on for the rest of the ride. That was my only break.
I was pretty sure I broke my personal record on that segment, but I didn’t look at my time when I pushed my bike away from me. I had to wait until I got home and uploaded the data to Strava to find out for sure…
I couldn’t believe it when I saw my time: 12m31s–14 seconds faster than the record I set a few days ago. My average heart rate yesterday was 183 BPM, which is 2 BPM higher than when I set my previous best time on that segment.
I truly don’t see this new PR falling again anytime soon: I left everything I had on that trail yesterday. Of course that doesn’t mean I won’t keep trying.
I would LOVE to see some more XC riders out at Wekiwa giving me some Strava competition. Michael Simmons–the only person who has managed to beat my single loop time at Mt. Dora (he turned in an amazing time and took away my KOM crown)–commented on one of my rides last week and expressed interest in riding at Wekiwa. Michael is a much more experienced and a better rider than I am, and he’s very fast. Still, I feel confident that my time on that first segment will hold up to challengers. If Michael or someone else does manage to take me down, I guarantee he or she is going to have to work for it. If anyone can beat my times at Wekiwa, I’ll happily give that rider some well-deserved recognition here in my blog. Go for it!
The rest of the ride was also good, but there were still some downed trees so I wasn’t able to make any attempts at my other segment records. I took a picture of one of the fallen trees with my camera phone (the Samsung Galaxy S2 takes pretty good photos for a phone!) Even though I was not trying to break any more records, I still rode hard and had a lot of fun out there.
When I got to the spot where I saw the bear last Thursday I slowed down a bit and rode quietly. I was really hoping to see him again. The bears are on the move right now, as it’s the start of their breeding season. I would love to see another bear, but I also worry about coming around a blind corner really fast and literally running into one. I have a feeling he would not be a happy bear if that happened.
I’d better stop rambling and get to work. I’ve got a lot to do before my vacation starts at the end of the week!