Another ride at Wekiwa, 4 more PRs smashed.
Wekiwa State Park is one of my favorite places to do mountain biking training rides, but during the rainy season the trails are often too wet and muddy to ride. With the rainy season behind us, two weeks ago I did some mountain biking at Wekiwa for the first time in several months. On that ride I absolutely demolished just about every personal record I’d ever set out there.
I wrote in detail about my drastic time improvements (and what I felt was responsible for them) in my November 29, 2012 blog. In short, road cycling combined with following highly structured cycling-specific training programs has clearly played a huge role in my improvements.
Yesterday morning I was in the mood for some mountain biking, and I was feeling really good. I thought it would be a good time to go back to Wekiwa and get a nice, hard training ride in.
The first segment, Sand Lake Trailhead to Marker 13 (Red Blaze), is the 2.7 mile segment I’ve been timing myself on for years. Up until two weeks ago my best time on this segment was 12m31s. As a reminder, this is what I wrote in my blog after riding that time:
“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.”
Two weeks ago I destroyed that PR with a time of 11m01s. I wrote this in my blog after riding the 11m01s time:
“As you saw from my the snippet from my June blog, after riding the 12m31s time I was “destroyed” and suffering from “…complete and total exhaustion”. Yesterday when I completed the segment I stopped, checked my time, took a couple swigs from my electrolyte bottle and continued on–less than 1 minute rest, and that was the first and only stop I made the entire day.”
Yesterday I again smashed my PR on this segment, turning in a time of 10m30s! This time I didn’t even stop for a break after completing that new PR, and continued directly into the next segment, Marker 13 to Marker 19 (Red Blaze), where I also set a new PR of 6m30s. My old PR on Marker 13 to Marker 19 was set after resting for a bit, so beating my old best time immediately after setting a new PR on the segment before it (with no rest between) says a lot about the improvements I’ve made to my endurance and stamina.
A couple of months ago if you’d suggested that I could ride the Sand Lake Trailhead to Marker 13 (Red Blaze) in under 10 minutes I would have said “Impossible!” Now I feel a sub-10 minute time is not only possible, it’s inevitable. It’s just a matter of more training.
One of my existing records that I failed to break two weeks ago fell yesterday–twice, in fact: once on each of the two laps I did. This segment is a short but very sandy climb called Sugar Sand Hill (Red Blaze). My old best time was 27s, and yesterday I beat it with a time of 24s on the first lap, and then again with a time of 23s on the second lap.
When I first started riding this sandy hill about 2 years ago my goal was to make it to the top without my speed dropping below 10 MPH at any point. I remember the first time I accomplished that goal being quite pleased. By comparison, yesterday my average speed up that hill was almost double that early modest goal: 19.1 MPH.
Finally, I smashed my old PR on the 7.5 mile segment called The Bike Loop: Sand Lake Trailhead Red Blaze Loop. This is a compete loop of the official bike trail at Wekiwa starting from the Sand Lake trailhead. My personal record was 38m56s (up until 2 weeks ago), and I remember when I rode that old time of 38m56s feeling like I was going to die towards the end. Two weeks ago I demolished my old PR by more than 5 minutes with a time of 33m33s. Yesterday I managed to shave another 1m45s off my best time, and did the entire loop in 31m48s.
That’s more than a 7 minute improvement on just a 7.5 mile course–and when I set that old time of 38m56s I was in good shape!
Here’s the summary of yesterday’s ride (click to enlarge), and here’s the complete ride on Strava. :
Something I’ve learned over the past few months is that there’s a massive difference between being in “good shape” and training specifically to improve at cycling. The cool thing is I’m just a few months into that process, and so I strongly believe that I’ve only seen the tip of my true potential as a cyclist. I’m going to keep training very hard, and I can’t wait to see where that training takes my riding.