Monday, May 14, 2007

Tour de Dirt Roads Niner Style

After Saturday's high altitude ride on the Yeti, I was looking for something more to give Betty the Yeti her due. After pondering some scouting expeditions SW of here, I just decided to hop on Nancy the Niner and pound out some dirt road miles. While the dirt roads aren't exactly alpine singletrack, they do provide a nice change of pace to asphalt miles on the road bike. The other factor is that the loamy, loose and bumpy dirt roads provide a pretty serious workout.

I started with my normal route heading out east crossing under I-25 and continuing until I ran out of dirt roads and hit pavement. It was at that point that I began to suffer. A very stiff wind out of the NW made the uphill grind back west punishing. The grade wasn't steep at all, but factor the wind and the one gear and it was putting a strain on me.

I kept pedaling, and before I knew it I was turning south onto a slight downhill. Things were getting easier. I knocked out a small climb and as I turned back west i was treated to some more brutal head winds. Instead of turning north like my normal route, I kept heading east in order to add some more time/mileage to my ride.

I ended up hitting up the Sandstone Ranch, where they have a small loop with a pretty steep (but short climb). I did 3 quick loops, which were pretty much intervals, while the hikers looked confused as I kept passing them.

I knocked out my 3 loops, then headed back to the dirt roads and meandered my way back towards the house. I added on a couple small climbs where I could find them and then wrapped up my ride.

I ended up putting in 27+ miles in about 2 hours. While this certainly wasn't a climbing route, I still managed to get in about 1100 feet of elevation somewhere in there (300 coming on the Sandstone loops). By far my longest and furthest ride on the Niner SS, and it felt really good. I'm slowly transforming these legs from 1 hour sprint pace to more of an endurance type conditioning. With the road bike, SS and the Yeti I get a really nice blend of workouts and can find something that suits my fancy pretty much everyday.

And for the first time, I dared to wear my heart rate monitor while on the SS. I've been a bit scared to do so thus far but I'm getting into a pretty good groove with the Niner. For the 2 hours I averaged a 152HR, which is top Zone 2, bottom Zone 3 for me. A pretty hard ride all things considered, but it felt good to put in a hard effort.

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