Yesterday it was a little overcast, cool and windy, but I didn’t feel like riding inside. I didn’t have a specific plan for the ride when I left the house, but I decided to head over to Wekiwa Spring State Park to do some mountain biking. While I was unloading my bike the cold wind was biting into me, and I decided the best way to get warm would be to ride fast!
In yesterday’s blog I went over some numbers from Monday’s workout, and those numbers leave no doubt that I’ve lost some fitness over the past few weeks. I think I had that in the back of my mind when I set off from the trailhead, because I was determined to fight through that and take down at least a couple of personal records.
I did 18.3 miles with no stops and no rest. My average heart rate over the 1h33m32s ride was 171 BPM (a little over 85% of my maximum heart rate, which is 201 BPM). For the first 44m16s (which is a segment, more on that below) my average heart rate was 177 BPM (88% of my HR MAX). I rode hard!
I wound up taking down 4 personal records, and was very close on a couple of other segments. I’m especially pleased with these PRs because yesterday the trail conditions were not great: in the higher areas the sugar sand was about as loose and deep as I’ve seen it, and in the low-lying areas there was some really sticky mud.
Here’s some historical data and details on the four new PRs.
Segment: Wekiwa State Park – Marker 19 to Camp Cozy (White Blaze) (2.5 miles)
Notes: I’ve been timing myself on this segment pretty much since I first started riding at Wekiwa back in October 2010. This segment is technically a hiking-only trail, and it’s the most technical of the bunch. Much of this segment is low-lying, and during the rainy season standing water makes the trail pretty much impossible to ride. Even during dry periods it is always muddy in spots. There are also countless roots (both large and small) and small pedal-catching cypress stumps.
When I first started riding this segment back in 2010 it took me almost 30 minutes to complete it. By early 2011 I’d managed to get my time down to 21m41s which, at the time, I was pretty proud of. I recently rode this section of trail in 15m18s, and yesterday I beat that time by more than a full minute.
Ancient Record (early 2011): 21m41s
Old Record (May 22, 2012): 15m43s
Recent Record (November 28, 2012): 15m18s
New Record (January 22, 2013): 13m59s
Interesting side note: when I rode the 21m41s time back in 2011 my average heart rate was 187 BPM. Yesterday on this same segment my average heart rate was 179 BPM, and I completed the 2.5 mile segment almost 8 minutes faster than I was able to in 2011. Put another way, back in 2011 my average speed on this segment was 6.92 MPH with an average heart rate of 187 BPM; yesterday my average speed on this segment was 10.73 MPH with an average heart rate of 179 BPM. Also, when I rode the 21m41s time in 2011 I was gunning for time on this segment alone, while yesterday I rode it as part of a much longer ride.
I was in decent shape in 2011, but had not done any real cycling training. I think the improvements I’ve seen are due to a few different things: I’ve shed quite a bit of “show” muscle and am lighter, my bike handling skills have improved, my cardio and stamina have drastically improved and my current bike is lighter/better than my old bike.
Segment: Wekiwa State Park – Camp Cozy to Sand Lake (White Blaze) (2.2 miles)
Notes: This segment starts with lots of twists, mud and big roots, then the trail dries out and the roots become smaller and more numerous. This section sucks if you’re on a hardtail. This segment is the final section of the larger 9 mile “Big Loop” segment (next), so by the time I got here I’d been riding all-out for about 35 minutes. Pretty happy to have turned in a record time considering that.
Old Record (May 22, 2012): 13m10s
Recent Record (November 28, 2012): 12m01s
New Record (January 22, 2013): 11m34s
Notes: This segment includes most of the red-blaze (bike) trails, but it also includes a couple of hiking trails, including the two mentioned above. I felt like my existing PR of 47m56s was pretty strong, so when I saw that I’d beaten that record by more than 3.5 minutes on yesterday’s ride I was really happy. That time did not come easy: my average heart rate was 177 BPM for almost 45 minutes. It was pretty painful, but a great challenge!
Old Record (May 22, 2012): 51m35s
Recent Record (November 28, 2012): 47m56s
New Record (January 22, 2013): 44m16s
Wekiwa State Park – The Bike Loop w/ Camp Cozy to Sandlake Option: Sand Lake TH to Camp Cozy (Red Blaze) then Camp Cozy to Sand Lake (White Blaze)
Old Record (July 3, 2012): 45m09s
New Record (January 22, 2013): 41m29s
I don’t ride this variation too often, but yesterday I did this loop as my second loop. I beat my old record my almost 4 minutes, but when I rode my old PR it was the only lap I did that day. Yesterday I did this loop immediately after completing the record-breaking 9 mile loop mentioned just above. Honestly, this is the softest KOM I have at Wekiwa. If I ride this fresh I think I could get my time well under 40 minutes.
Great ride yesterday, I really enjoyed it! Here’s the complete ride on Strava.
I think I’d like to lead a group ride at Wekiwa, as many of my mountain biking buddies have not been there (or have and don’t know the trails as well as I do). Guys, hit me up if you’re interested!