It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle. - Ernest HemingwayI swam for an hour at lunch on Friday. It was hard to stay indoors. The weather has been in the high 60's / low 70's for the past few days. I'm not sure of my speed in the water but while doing the 'Swim Golf' drill where I count my strokes I am seeing definite improvement. Last year it took my right around 20 strokes to go the 25 yards across the pool. I know - that sucks. I was able to get it down to right around 17 strokes by the end of the year. After last week and making some minor adjustments to the way that I pull I was hitting 14 strokes when I concentrated. Once, with a hard kick - and I do not have a hard kick - I was able to do the length in about 12.25 strokes. This is not sustainable but I do see improvement. I made up for the indoor sessions this weekend.
I met up with Sam, Chris and Shawn on Saturday for a trace ride. We got off of the trace and did some hill repeats. We found a hill that was just about a mile long and dropped into a gear that would allow for us to spin up it. We repeated this 5 times. The first couple were pretty easy but they got harder. Shawn was hacking up a lung left and right. My goal was to stay ahead of him. Mission accomplished - phlegm free. The total ride ended up being about 35 miles.
I did a very easy 30 minute / 3 mile brick following this bike ride. Nothing hard. I did not push anything. I am going to have to do some hard bricks in the near future. I used to look forward to these runs but I am feeling a little afraid. I just need to HTFU!
Sunday was also good weather. I am continuing to try and learn to use the rollers. I rode for 3 sets of 10 minutes with my road bike and clip less pedals. Not too bad. I had to stop every 10 minutes wipe the sweat streaming down my face. I am not comfotable enough to lift my hands from the bars.
Then I got back on the trace and replayed the route from yesterday minus the 5 times hill repeats. I went out a little further and got a total of 30 miles.
I met the group ride as they were heading out and jumped on the end of the train. It did not take long to get near the front. John and Ty were really hammering and I was just trying to hang on. We regrouped at Epley station and I realized that everyone else was really strung out behind us. It was only John, Ty and I at the front.
As luck would have it, for the third time this weekend I rode the exact same hills. I did not stay at the front of these at all. I let the fast guys rise up out of their saddles and attack. I just stayed back.
On the return trip it was my turn to pull just past Clyde depot. I was giving a strong effort at just about 24 MPH. I had pulled for about 1.5 miles and was nearing my limit when Ty pulls up next to me and yells for me to 'Did deep' or something like that. He was passing me easily. I told him I would just grab his wheel. And that is what I did - I did indeed need to dig deep just to grab on to that wheel. It would not have been a big deal if I had just not completed my pull.
Now firmly on his wheel we were going 27 - 28 MPH for several miles. My heart rate had descended to a more comfortable range and we just cruised. We had to slow for an intersection (the road I turn off on) and I noticed that once again no one was behind us.
It was a fast ride!