The bloom is off the rose
The honeymoon is over
Yes, I'm mired back in the stark reality of corporate shitheads. The catharsis of the past weekend had been has been thoroughly and decisively beat from my psyche.
Fuck all you fucking fucks.
The Zen Of Cycling - part 2:
The start up rte 100 north was difficult, as even though was was flat/downhill there was a wicked north wind pushing through the valley. Even on downhill sections I had to push 200 watts to keep moving. The turn onto rte 125 to start our first gap (not ten miles into the ride) was better, at least we were shielded from the wind. Heading up the first gap, I did my best to ride a comfortable pace, but Solo and Badballs were pushing each other. The thing about these gaps is if someone gets away from you it's so steep for so long that it's nearly impossible to close the 'gap'. Badballs and Solo were pulling away, but I had a long day in front of me and decided to pace it back a bit. This turned out to be the easiest climb of the day, so they weren't that far ahead at the crest. Solo maybe 30 seconds and Badballs maybe 20 seconds. [Presidente] was further back.
Middlebury Gap stats:
time - 34:20
average heart rate - 147 bpm
average speed - 11.8 mph
average cadence - 75 rpm
average power - 209 watts
I can see from the heart rate that I wasn't really pushing it.
(a note on the power reading: it's wrong. Polar uses a strange method of power calculation involving; chain deflection/speed/weight/length, chainstay length, rider weight. I suppose it's as repeatable as any other method (good as a reference), but the absolute accuracy is dubious. I used two different on-line power calculators to check my readings, and the polar was about 9% lower across the board. That aligns with what I've seen on a computrainer as well)
I rolled down the other side to a flat area so that when [presidente] caught up I wouldn't be cold and wet, then have to ride a 40+ mph downhill. Solo was long gone. When you're riding big hills in weather like this, it's best not to wait at the top of the hills. You get hot and wet, then cold and wet, then wind-chilled. I wasn't too worried about Solo riding off ahead. He knew the route, [presidente] knew the route and he was behind, so I decided to pretty much take it easy going downhill until Bad Balls and [presidente] caught up. Once the three of us were together, we picked up the pace going down into middlebury. This road turns into dirt for a bit, and I like dirt roads. I big-ringed it all the way to the bottom where solo was waiting, and [presidente] and baddballs soon followed.
Next up was Appalachian Gap, with a precursor to the climb called 'baby gap'. Once we hit this, we had a tailwind. Solo and Badballs started duking it out again. I started to go with them, but then I thought "geeze, this is nice, it's like 60 degrees, I have an awesome tailwind, it's beautiful country, I'm just gonna plant it in my 26 and spin up". I finally caught up to them where baby gap drops off again about minute down, and we waited for [presidente].
Baby Gap stats:
time - 29:25
average heart rate - 149 bpm
average speed - 13.6 mph
average cadence - 81 rpm
average power - 197 watts
again, not pushing very hard
We hit the App Gap proper climb, and I was feeling pretty good, so I lifted the pace. Solo went with me, Badballs tried but started cramping. I felt really good until we hit the 2 KM to the top mark (they actually have marking on the road). Here it gets steep, and it's when I faded. Solo pulled away. Once it 'leveled' out again I was able to pace him, and he kept about 30 seconds on me after that. I tried digging deep with 500 meters to go, but only got about 20 pedal strokes while standing and in the drops. Too steep, too much effort already. I stood holding the hoods for the rest of the climb with a miserably low cadence (~40). We waited at the top for [Presidente], just for the photo ops. You'll see them on Solos blog.
Appalachian Gap stats:
time - 28:30
average heart rate - 173 bpm
average speed - 8.5 mph
average cadence - 66 rpm
average power - 256 watts
Now you can see I was working harder. My HR should actually have been higher, but the low cadence kept it down.
On the way down I saw Solo on the side of the road. He had stopped at a roadside table where some girls were selling cupcakes. No, this is not a euphemism for anything, they had home-made cup cakes with decorative frosting designs. Got to hand it to Solo for making that call. They were fresh and delicious. [Presidente] and badballs saw us and stopped. Solo told the girls "charge the fat guy extra, he needs to lose weight". She replied "none of you guys are fat". [Presidente], the target of solos jibe, exclaimed "good sales tactic girls, you'll go far". We weren't' quite at the bottom of the hill, and stopped at the small village where we got water and snacks at a Qwicke-Mart. I had a cup of coffee, which went great with the taste of the fresh cupcakes.
Roxbury gap was next. I paced off Solo. BadBalls stayed with [presidente] for a bit, then rode up to us and caught us just before the summit. He was riding a 34x26 and was spinning a nice cadence compared to what solo and I were lugging. Badballs rode by and I took his pace. Solo dropped back. Badballs and I sparred with elbows and shoulders up the grade, with Solo laughing at us from behind, with the three of us reaching the top together.
Roxbury Gap stats:
time - 33:35
average heart rate - 161 bpm
average speed - 8.3 mph
average cadence - 62 rpm
average power - 191 watts
I was working here but had some margin still. The downhill was fun and I would have liked to have lit up up for the miles of dirt at high speed, but I didn't know the road.
After regrouping we headed south on rte 12 for about 20 miles, but it was downhill with a tailwind the whole way. It was somewhere along this section that my 'puter filled up. I knew it was going to happen, it only holds 5 hours of data the way I have it set up. Because of that I have no data for Rochester gap. Of course, this is where I pushed the pace, and of course my hardest sustained effort for the day wasn't recorded. Solo rolled away from Badballs and I, and at somepoint I decided I felt good enough to give chase. I didn't go hard, I just kept up the pressure, watching my power and keeping it below 280 watts. I managed to catch him, then we rode together for a bit, and I gapped him. I kept checking back to see where he was, and he appeared to be holding about a 30 second gap. I got to the point where I couldn't stand on the pedals anymore and had to sit grinding out a cadence in the 40's. Solo held the gap. I could sense the top of the hill, and as I approached the top I got out of the saddle in the drops, dropped a cog, and charged over the summit. I rolled up the speed quickly, sat up to pull up my arm warmers and zip up my jersey, then came around the downhill corner seeing the next climb. I said out loud "oh fuck me!!".
Fuck it, I charged into it. Up over the top in my big chainring, I kept it up all the way back to Rochester common. Solo dropped in about 1:30 later.
The car was only a few hundred yards from there. We got back, and the first order was to get into the SUV and get warm dry clothes. I peed next to the car and then took a swig from my still half full bottle. I realized I still had a full bottle, and hadn't taken any water at the qwickie-mart. I handed the half-full bottle to Solo, and said I still had a full one I didn't touch. The look on his face was something to me saying I liked chelada (you gotta follow this link and read the reviews). I wasn't dehydrated, If I was I wouldn't have had to pee right away when we got back. It wasn't warm out, it was overcast, cool and humid (~50%). Not exactly the kind of day I need to worry about running out of water. Still, 1/2 a large bottle of water + 1 cup of coffee wasn't a lot of fluids. I _did_ drink an 11 oz bottle of mix1 protein shake, but that's hardly thirst quenching. For food on the ride I had eaten a power bar, a cliff bar, the cupcake, and the protein drink. I was way more hungry than thirsty.
I'll publish part three, the conclusion, later. Here is a Half-Naked-Thursday reward for making it through this.