Monday, April 03, 2006

Indoor time trial

Thursday, 30 March

This was my last indoor TT of the season at CycleU, the tenth I've done since the middle of November. I had no great hopes or goals or expectations tonight, but something happened on the way to the finish line. And--my goal every time I race my bike--I learned something.

Martin said I went out really hard. The course starts with a gradual downhill so you get some momentum. I thought I was spinning pretty fast (maybe it just LOOKED like I was going hard) and should've shifted into a bigger gear. But when the course went up, I didn't have to shift down and powered right up the first hill.

For once there was someone next to me who was riding at just about my speed for the first half of the course. We swapped back and forth between being second and third; the CompuTrainer program projects tons of data on a screen, including how many feet you are behind the rider ahead of you. I found that when I was 5 or 6 feet back, I could put in a few really hard pedal strokes and catch him and pull ahead. Eventually we settled into a long climb and the gap between us went to double digits and then triple and I couldn't catch back up. But the extra efforts I put in to try to keep this guy from pulling away did amazing things for my results. Thanks, Ian! I thought you were supposed to be smooth and steady in a TT and not have little jumps and surges, but maybe I'll have to try super hard pedal strokes intermittently to catch that ghost rider just a bike length ahead in my next TT.

My time was a lot faster, my average watts were significantly higher, and my heart rate was as low as ever. Go figure. I'm gonna go back and try this again in the summer to see if I get overtrained, plateau, or really do get stronger as the season goes on. I don't think I'll beat tonight, though.

I knew Martin was tired tonight when he got off his single bike and SAT DOWN before we "warmed up" for the tandem ride. But he/we took off like a shot at the start, harder than last time. I shift a lot on my single bike, and it seems like he shifts hardly at all on the tandem, so I think our cadence probably varies by as much as 25-30 rpm during the race. At one stage I thought we were spinning like mad and wished he'd shift to a bigger gear. Oops! We didn't have a bigger gear! We were just 6 seconds off our fastest time, which wasn't bad considering the effort I must have put in on my single bike and his claim to just being tired.

So thanks Adrian and Kristi and Craig. Over 4.5 months, my average watts increased by 31, my max watts by 80, I took 90 seconds off my time--and my HR was exactly the same. And I gained 5 pounds. Okay, I was in rehab/recovery mode when I started, but numbers like that are motivating!

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