Excellent week last week: numerous PRs for distance, speed, time and more.
My plan yesterday was to do an indoor training session, and I was 99% sure it was going to be the relatively lengthy “Local Hero” Sufferfest workout. Once I got my first glimpse of the weather, however, my plans changed in an instant. After a week of pretty much non-stop rain (which we desperately needed), yesterday’s incredible weather made it virtually impossible to stay indoors. It was clear, cool, sunny and very windy.
I’ve been doing a lot of riding over the past week on the West Orange Trail, and I’ve really enjoyed it. On a beautiful Sunday morning like yesterday I figured the trail was going to be as crowded as it gets, but I decided to head over there anyway. I figured worst-case I’d just take it easy and enjoy the ride if it was too congested to hammer.
When I arrived I was lucky to grab the very last parking spot at the Apopka-Vineland trailhead (there is an overflow parking area, too). It was wonderful to see so many people enjoying the weather, exercising and spending time outside!
Even though the trail was in heavy use, it’s a long (22 mile) trail, and people were spread out enough that I was able to safely ride fast. I’ve been working on improving my average speed this week, and I wanted to do at least thirty miles with an average speed of 19+ MPH. Adding to the challenge: I was riding solo (no drafting), I was riding into the wind for more than half the ride and some of the cross winds were brutal. Also, once in downtown Winter Garden riders must go slow, as there is a lot of traffic (both pedestrian and cars). My friend Chris showed me a Winter Garden bypass route, but I’m terrible with directions and forgot the route, and wound up slowly worming my way through downtown Winter Garden.
It was a great ride, and despite the wind and slowdown in Winter Garden I did manage to do 30.1 miles with an average speed of 19 MPH. Without Winter Garden I’m sure my average speed would have been well over 20 MPH.
I was feeling so good that I had a smile plastered on my face half the ride, and the entire final 5 miles (and I was riding hard!) I loved that as I passed other people they saw how much fun I was having and couldn’t help but smile back. 🙂
With the wind as strong as it was, I was really surprised that I set 8 new segment PRs, and cracked the top 10 (or close) on a few more segments…
Last uphill sprint to finish: 5th overall out of 154 riders/345 rides. Fun woods section with uphill finish: 9th overall out of 362 riders/1,297 rides. E.Orange Trail/Winter Garden to GC: 11th overall out of 342 riders/1,123 rides. Last Dig to the Temple: 11th overall out of 379 riders/1,450 rides.
The “Last Dig to the Temple” segment is a 1.2 mile sprint (awesome segment name, BTW), and it’s usually done at the very end of the ride. It’s a great place to drain the tank and finish up with a strong sprint. Problem is, I always forget where it starts, and that happened yesterday, too. I know I could shave at least another 10 seconds off my time if I started kicking at the right place. That would put me in the top 3. Of course Tic Bowen is in 1st on this segment, and was probably talking on the phone and eating a Clif bar while he rode no-hands.
Here’s the entire ride on Strava.
What a big week (well, for me) last week! I beat my all-time cycling distance personal record by logging 177.7 miles. My previous best was 161.6 miles, set last November. My Strava Suffer Score for last week’s rides totaled 609 (over 6 total rides), which is also a new weekly PR.
I’m pretty happy with how last week’s training went, and I am going to continue to build on that. My miles won’t be as big this week because I’ve got to lay off the roadie stuff and get back in the dirt.