Black Bear Rampage; Beat the PR I set the other day again; New KOM.
My friends Jim Beyer and Mike Simmons (along with a few other Central Florida-area riders) are in Tennessee for tomorrow’s 40 mile Black Bear Rampage mountain bike race. I saw on Strava that they’ve been hitting a couple of the trails in that area, and some of those trails included rated climbs. You don’t see many of those kinds of climbs when mountain biking in Florida, that’s for sure! Guys–best of luck tomorrow! Have fun and ride fast! Don’t forget to eat your mustard.
In yesterday’s blog I mentioned that on Wednesday I destroyed my old personal record of 8m22s on The Loop segment at Mt. Dora with a time of 7m51s. In that blog I talked about some of the reasons why I felt I was able to improve on my old record by 31 seconds, and how I plan to continue to get faster. I also lamented that even though I broke my personal record, I made an error that cost me about 10 seconds.
While I was certainly pleased that I beat my best time, all I could think about was the mistake I made. Yesterday was supposed to be my upper body weight training day, but I decided to scratch the itch: I went back to Mt. Dora with the goal of beating the personal record I set on Wednesday…
I rode pretty good and made no serious errors. My cardio felt strong, but perhaps not quite as good as it felt on Wednesday. When I completed the record-breaking lap attempt I was 99.9% sure that I’d beat the PR I’d set on Wednesday.
Turns out that I did beat my record, and by a pretty good amount! I took another 16 seconds off my time, setting a new personal record of 7m35s. Considering that my best time on The Loop was 8m22s all summer long, the 47 second improvement over the past week shows me that my training, equipment modifications and riding is heading in the right direction.
Even with my new time I’m still in 2nd place on The Loop segment leaderboard, and 23 seconds off of Mike’s insane KOM time of 7m12s. At least now I feel that with more hard work and a near-perfect ride I could actually have a shot at some point. Those 23 seconds are not going to come easy, that’s for sure.
So while I was riding yesterday I met another rider, Coleman, shredding the trails on a 29er hardtail. Coleman burst on to the Strava scene at Mt. Dora a couple weeks ago with some very solid times that got my attention. Mike actually ran into Coleman and rode with him a bit last week. Mike said he was fast, and after watching him ride and talking with him yesterday I definitely concur. Turns out he’s been racing since he was a kid (he’s 26 now), and he is also a strong runner. He’s clearly a very solid rider, and his cardio is crazy good. Ah, to be 26 again… Anyway, this guy is going to be some major Strava competition at Mt. Dora.
While I was talking with Coleman I realized that he was riding a couple of the segments using less than optimal routes, and that was costing him some time. I told him the correct way to ride the routes when gunning for the fastest time, and I have a feeling I’m going to regret doing that! Heck, even using a less than optimal route he turned in a third place time of 8m18s on The Loop segment yesterday.
One final note about The Loop segment. After my record attempt I did some additional laps, and on one of those laps I was just cruising and enjoying the trail. I was pumping the track for speed and trying to ride well, but I was not pushing myself hard at all. I cracked up when I saw my time on that fun lap was 8m26s–just four seconds slower than the personal record I set killing myself earlier in the summer. This pleased me almost as much as the new PR, as it was further evidence that my riding has improved over the past month or so.
I would be remiss if I didn’t give my friend Mike a lot of credit for these recent improvements to my riding. Watching Mike ride has helped me a great deal, and he’s also given me several really solid riding and equipment tips that have made a big difference. Thanks, Mike.
As I was winding up my ride I was feeling good, and I decided to make an attempt at the KOM on the Gravity Destroyer Climb segment. I’d not made any serious attempt at the KOM on this segment in quite some time–probably a few months. I thought it would be interesting to see what I could do with a 100%, holding nothing back, balls-to-the-wall, all-out effort. My exiting personal record on this segment was 2m38s, and I was tied for fourth place on the leaderboard…
Gravity Destroyer has lots of tight turns, switchbacks and some roots as you wind your way up the hill, and there are a couple of tricky places that can really slow you up if you don’t get your line just right. With all the Gravity Destroyer repeats I’ve been doing over the past few months, I know this section of trail very well; that familiarity really benefited me yesterday. In fact, I hit one tricky switchback/climb combo considerably faster and more efficiently than I ever had before. That felt so good I had to let out a “Woop!”, even though I was struggling to breathe.
When I finished the climb I knew with 100% certainty that I’d beat my old time, but I was shocked when I saw by how much. My time yesterday was 2m22s–a 16 second improvement, and a new KOM!
Check out Coleman’s time on that segment from yesterday: 2m30s! He would have taken the KOM if I’d not had such a good ride on that segment right after he did. Here’s the thing, though. I happen to know he did that climb immediately after hammering out a full lap at top speed (I saw him do it). That’s really impressive. If Coleman does that segment on fresh legs I have a feeling he could beat my new time.
Which reminds me, it’s time to train!