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Excellent week last week: numerous PRs for distance, speed, time and more.

Monday, May 6, 2013 by  
Filed under Daily Blog

May
6
2013

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.

Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day for a ride!

Yesterday was an absolutely beautiful day for a ride!

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.

John Stone Fitness Comments

11 Responses to “Excellent week last week: numerous PRs for distance, speed, time and more.”
  1. I still have no idea where that ‘Last Dig to the Temple’ segment actually starts. The last time I rode WOT, I wondered why my PR on that segment was so far down the leader board compared to the others; then I realized that I’d already traveled half the segment before I even began to pedal hard. All this time I thought that the segment started at the bottom of the hill, when in fact it starts somewhere on the top!

    One comment I have about comparing yourself to other riders is that you (and to a much greater extent, I) have a natural disadvantage to most of these racers. Have a look at the pictures of Tic Bowen on Facebook, for example. Someone with the proportions of a stick insect is going to have a big advantage in the climbs, encounters less air resistance, while riding a smaller/lighter bike than you are. That all adds up, even if you don’t take his relative youth into account. I’ve checked out quite a number of riders at the tops of the leader boards for the segments that I do quite well on, and the result is pretty consistent: they weigh 30 lbs less than I do, while being 30 years younger. If Strava would create a special category for heavy 50+ year-olds who only ride on weekends, I’m sure I’d own all the KOM’s in sight. LOL

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    • I guess we look at things differently. When I view the leaderboards the only thing I really care about are the times. I don’t care if the best time was ridden by an overweight 60 year-old on a steel fixie or a 135 pound 19 year-old on a 16 pound carbon hardtail.

      Why? Because about the only variable that I don’t have control over is my age, and I don’t see that as a major disadvantage. There are some REALLY fast “old dudes” out there.

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      • It’s not just age, though. Healthy dieting and exercise will not transform people our size into 5′-6″, 135 lb adult males. I use the leader board to establish some rough performance goals, but comparing my PR’s to those of other riders is pretty meaningless when considered in the abstract. What needs to be considered is the variables which produced those numbers. Some of them are within my control, others simply aren’t. Becoming a Tic Bowen is plainly not a realistic goal. Even if I were in the shape he’s in, the laws of physics would still conspire against me. That might sound defeatist to some, but to me it’s the opposite. The fact that some of my PR’s today are even in the same neighborhood as his, fills me with an enormous amount of optimism about where I might be at this time next year.

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          • If you are a premium Strava member you can sort the leaderboards by age and weight and see where you stand against others of your age and size. I see both sides of the story, I’m a pretty fast old guy (45), I’ve got some KOM’s over some young guns, I race against a 15 yr old kid that weighs 120 lbs and rides a 20 lb hardtail and I beat him, but he does climb faster then me so I have to out wit him and out ride him on the technical stuff. But, I dont see my age or weight (~170 lbs/ 6′-0″) as a disadvantage.

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            • There was a discussion on another forum recently about using Strava’s leaderboard standings to gauge a rider’s abilities. The consensus was even if we interpret ‘ability’ strictly as the speed with which a rider can travel from point A to point B, there are entirely too many variables contaminating the results. A slower rider may be able to beat a faster rider’s PR’s by targeting each segment on different days, conserving his energy for just one segment at a time. A rider may take a running start to artificially increase his average speed. Some segments are much more hazardous than others; beating another rider’s PR on those segments could simply come down to your willingness to risk crashing. Or it could be an unpopular segment that many fast riders haven’t even ridden. For these and other reasons, it makes much more sense for me to focus on my own PR’s as a measure of my ability. Seeing my name appearing at the top of the leader boards certainly does give me an additional incentive to better my performance, however. 🙂

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  2. John, have you ever written up anywhere your suggestions on camera systems for home security? A home across the street was robbed during the day on Sunday afternoon and got me thinking about adding cameras.

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    • The equipment I’m using now was purchased when I bought my current home in 2007, and so today’s equipment is going to be much more powerful and have better features. I am planning to do a major upgrade on my system sometime relatively soon, but I have not started researching that yet. When I do, I’ll probably write something up.

      About the best general advice I can give you is stay away from the big box stores. Places like Costco, Amazon, Wal-Mart, etc. carry nothing but junk. Do a lot of research, and spend as much as you can. A good system is not going to be cheap, but a cheap system is not going to help you in the event of a break in. The DVR, in particular, is very important.

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