At the beginning of June I added cycling to my fitness efforts. I’ve been going out usually 3 or 4 times a week to do a route. At the beginning of June I did a 7.14km route that is basically a big loop around the city block my house is part of. My pace was 14km/h for the route. In other words, it took me a little over 30 minutes to do the loop. I decided that as a goal I would do a double loop (14.28km) with a pace of 20km/h or better by the end of July.
Well, tonight with the help of good equipment, I did it.
So, I had been using my mountain bike with road tires on it as my “normal” bike. Partly because my belly is big and it’s more comfortable to ride. But tonight, at the suggestion of a long-time friend who also cycles, Jim Warder, I decided to take out my road bike. It’s a Specialized Allez from the late 90’s with a few minor upgrades. See the pic above. I love this bike!
I’m always a bit surprised by how light it is. It has an aluminum frame and pretty good components. And riding it is a dream. The fit for me is perfect. Except for that darn belly that I have now that makes using the drop handlebars impossibly uncomfortable. But I guess that’s what I’m working to change!
Anyway, I started my ride this evening just thinking that I’d take it easy, do one loop and not worry about my time. The route starts with a nice downhill for about 1km and then has a steeper uphill climb for about 500m. On the climb I didn’t push too hard, but I got my gearing to be about the same as I had it on my mountain bike. I felt kinda tired from my ride yesterday. I didn’t expect much for time or pace.
However, once I passed the steep uphill portion, I started to warm up and my pace picked up a lot. I have a bike computer on this bike so I was constantly seeing that my speed was up in the 22 to 25km/h range on the flats. That made me hopeful. By time I was on the last 2km, I was pushing lightly and keeping my speed up at 24km/h+.
The last segment of my ride is a monster valley… down is great! Up is torture (and further than the down). I got up to 45km/h going down into the valley, and really pushed going up… but when I shifted down on my front chainring, I skipped my middle gear and spun my cranks… which totally wrecked my pace. I fixed my gearing but my last 100m up the hill was really slow – 11km/h.
Once I got to the top, though, I decided – heck! – I can go around again. I checked my average speed so far and it was 21.8km/h – WOOT! I could take it pretty easy on the second loop and maybe even get to my end of July goal! So, I went for it. But did I relax? Nope. I kept pushing it.
Admittedly, I couldn’t quite keep the same pace but things went smoother overall. No glitches on my shifting. I powered up that final hill, and coasted the last 200m to my house. Checked my pace: 21.4km/h for 14.28km!!!! I beat my goal by a huge margin!
I blame it on my bike. 🙂