On the Road Again

The weather finally took a turn for the much better this past Sunday in Boulder. Not only was it warm, but the winds were relatively calm for the morning which meant we could finally ride on the road again. We have been relegated to the trainer or spin class for the last couple of months and that makes no one very happy. Riding the trainer sucks because you just sit in your house and sweat. Doing a spin class sucks because they have 8 good power bikes and people line up to reserve those bikes 30 minutes before class starts – then there is the crappy music and someone yelling at me, I don’t like that either.

Earlier in the week Don posted something in our training group about a group ride in Boulder and what he thought was going to be 5 or 6 of us ballooned to 15. Including someone that overheard one of our members talking about the ride in a store and invited himself to come along. Apparently the road had a strong calling for all.

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Just to get this out of the way, the day was not particularly warm for cycling. It was in the mid forties when we set off with 5-10 mph winds along the foothills which could cause quite a chill. I had long fingered gloves, a pair of Pearl Izumi thermal cycling pants, and thermal warm warmers. I didn’t need a skull cap under my helmet but my hands got pretty cold. These two don’t mess around with the cold.

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They look ready for straight out arctic conditions. You tend to have to over-dress for cycling where you might dress to be a little chilly for a run. If you are going 16-20 mph and there is a wind of 5-10 mph, that is potentially 30 mph of cold air hitting your body.

We weren’t the only people on the road this day, there were a TON of other cyclists, including a bunch of club teams, who were clogging up the roads.

There were some things I learned during this ride that are new or different from my last ride last year.

  1. I am a much stronger cyclist than I was last year just based on my training in the off season. Much better by 3-4mph. Not just am I faster, but I am cycling more confidently. My cadence is up and I am pedaling all the time, instead of pedaling-resting-repeating.
  2. I need to train harder on the bike. I have been working not quite as hard on my bike as I have on the swim and the run; principally because riding the trainer for more than 45 minutes really sucks. I need to get over that and button this thing down.
  3. Fueling is important. I bonked hard on the transition run while I had a perfectly good bonk breaker in the fuel belt on my bike. A tool does you no good if you don’t use it. I should have eaten that a mile before I finished my bike.
  4. Tri bikes have a distinct advantage going downhill and on the flats. I road with people on Cervelo P3s and Orbea Tri bikes and they exerted less energy for their speed when they started getting into the 18-20 mph range.
  5. The CycleOps Fluid 2 trainer is a harder workout than any spin bike or class I have taken. It just is. The resistance is harder, the bike is less comfortable, and if you stop pedaling your back wheel stops in about 2 turns as opposed to 15 seconds on the spin bike or even longer if you are on the road.

What is most important is that I feel reinvigorated with the sport. I had started to feel a little beat down with the constant workouts and 3 hour days during the middle of the week. I am far from the only one in our group with this sentiment. It is far more fun to cycle (and cycle well) out on the actual road.

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