I woke up at 5:30 AM (this has been happening a lot lately - it's annoying). I couldn't go back to sleep and started thinking about some things I wanted to check on the Internet, so I got up and turned on the computer. Checking my e-mail I had a message from Stan, the ride leader of the Utah Velo Club. He had checked the weather forecasts and determined we could sneak in a ride this morning if we kept it short. Stan's my kind of guy - if there's a chance to ride, it's on.
I ate a little breakfast, filled up the water bottles and drove down to the second Springville exit, our meeting place. The were two other riders there. I put a new tube in my seat pack and pumped up the rear tire (I flatted yesterday on my lunch ride) and got dressed: Double jerseys, arm warmers and an ear band. A little after 8 AM we (6 of us) headed out. We had a good south-southwest wind. Here's the data from the Provo Airport (source: MesoWest):
8:48 AM, Wind 25, Gust 35, overcastNice, huh? For most of the ride we were going east or west so we had a nice cross wind. We rode in an echelon formation when we could, but some roads had too much traffic for it. Going out we had a few stretches right into the wind. But coming back the tail wind was nice. We got rolling in the high 20s. With 3-4 miles to go we got some rain - it was enough to wet the pavement, but didn't soak us. In the last couple miles the pace was pretty fast. I tried to make a break 1/4 mile from the finish. Mike jumped on me and moved into the lead. He tried to shake me a few times, but I barely hung on to finish in tow behind him.
9:50 AM, Wind 24, Gust 36, overcast
After the ride we headed over to Elevate Fitness in Orem to try out their cycling training equipment. I haven't really measured my cycling performance and I was curious to see where I stand. They have a pretty nice cycling room with 10 CompuTrainers and a big screen. I did a short session with the SpinScan software that showed my pedal stroke isn't bad, but it could be more smooth and my left leg does more work than my right. You'd think this uneven effort would be easy to detect while riding, but I've focused very intently on several rides to see if I could detect an imbalance, but I really couldn't. Well the software showed it right away. Now I'll be working to even them out. (I guess those one-legged workouts would help me.)
Next we "raced" together using the MultiRider software. After a few false starts (equipment problems) we got going on a 3 mile time trial with a few climbs. Yes, I said climbs. The resistance of the CompuTrainers can be controlled by the software so it's harder on the climbs and easier on the descents. You can even draft (the resistance eases up when another rider is 16 feet or less in front of you). After Stan caught up (he had to start the software, get on his bike and start pedaling) we went pretty hard. I was in the 3rd for a while, but caught them on the climb (about 1 mile in) and held on to finish 1st. (The software adjusts for weight on climbs so the resistance is higher for heavier riders.) I averaged 250 watts with a peak of 378 watts. My watts/kg ranged from the high 2s to the low 3s so I'd estimate my average is somewhere around 3 watts/kg. Average heart rate was 165, max 181.
These computerized training systems give you a LOT of data (to obsess over?). And it's pretty fun. The simulated rides make it more interesting. If you're solo you can race against a computer generated "pacer" or against your last "ride".
A training session cost $10, but a monthly pass costs only $40. I may do a monthly pass a few times this winter. It's near my house so I could do some training before or after work.