Monday, April 23, 2007

Suburbia Triathlon

Sunday I took part in a grueling event consisting of 3 distinct portions, the lawn mowing, the dog poo cleanup and the road bike. Its a tough event without glamor, fame or fortune but one that us mindless suburbia living lemmings take part in quite often.

First up was the lawn mowing, and I have to admit my skills were rusty coming off the long winter layoff. The thick grass in the backyard kept me down, but I pushed through and emerged mid-pack after the grass was cut. The 2nd event is downright nasty, but a necessary evil. I made quick work of the dog residue and then it was time for the final leg, the 50 mile bike.

The bike course was a mystery to me up to the point I jumped on the bike and headed out. I knew the course would involve some real climbing, which was good as I needed to test my early season legs. Sure I've been doing some climbing, but nothing too steep more of the gradual variety of climbing.

So off I went towards Carter Lake, where a somewhat steep switchback climb would await me after 15ish miles of mainly flat terrain. I was making sure to pace myself and go out easy. I was doing a nice job of keeping my heart rate in the 140-150 range (Zone 2 for me) while maintaining a nice cadence and speed.

As I made the left hand turn off Larmier County Rd 23E towards Carter Lake, the elevation ramped up quickly and so did my heart rate. You don't realize how much you are climbing as you approach the final steep leg, but you are gaining elevation quickly as you ride towards the foothills.

I pulled myself up the final climb, cresting onto the dam and some relatively flat terrain and my heart rate quickly came back from the stratosphere. After a brief stop to grab another Gatorade, I hit the road for the wicked fast descent. I've done this descent a couple times before, but yesterday's trip down was downright fast. I let it run a bit up top, and hit a scorching 53 mph coming down the back side before coming to my senses and reigning it in a bit.

After the big drop, I had another grinder of a climb. I as trudged along up the climb, I ran across a big pack of elk who were quite interested in me. They took notice and started following me up the road as I passed them. You'd think elk in these parts would be more used to cyclist than cars, and maybe thats why they showed interest in me.

After that I put my head down and dug in as I battled a head and cross wind the rest of the way home. Being out on the flats solo in a head wind feels a lot like climbing, as you feel you should be going faster than you are but to do so hurts in a big way.

Ended up putting in a 46 mile loop with a bit over 2,000 feet of climbing. Despite the harder climbing and windy conditions, I still knocked out at 17.6 mph average which was certainly acceptable for me. I need to start ramping up not only the mileage but also the intensity of my climbing as there is no place to hide when you hit the steep climbing.

No comments: