Saturday morning I headed up to WP to enjoy the ridiculous powder that they've been getting all week long. 41 inches of powder since Monday meant epic conditions. I took the opportunity to get in two more lessons on the snowboard to give me a big boost on next season. My first lesson was just myself with the instructor, which really was a huge help. I did some runs on my own before signing back up for another lesson with the same instructor in the afternoon. My 2nd class only had 3 of us, so again another great opportunity to really refine my form and progress quickly. I've started to really get it dialed in, can carve at good speed on the blues. I do still fall more often than I'd like, but its mainly on cat-tracks and narrow, crowded stuff which I think just takes some time. Its definitely hard work for me on the board, unlike skiing which has become effortless this season, but I am having a great time and happy that its starting to click. Next season, I'll definitely be starting out on the board.
Got home in record time (1:40 from slope to my house) and immediately headed to dinner with Jill. After stuffing my belly, we came back home and I started working on getting Thor's room painted. Jill had taped off the room, so I just started slapping paint up on the wall until we ran out of paint. Worn out, I barely made it to 11 p.m. before nodding off during SNL.
This morning started quickly. It was already 50ish degress at 9 this morning, so I took the opportunity to get my bike ride in for the day early, leaving myself the afternoon to do my projects. I suited up and headed out, and then realized the timing was about right to hookup with the weekly ride for my cycling team, Blue Sky Velo, which has an A ride (i.e. race pace) and a B ride (i.e. relaxed pace). When I saw the group, I recognized a few people and asked about the ride. "We're going the B pace" I was told, not realizing the two groups were still together at that point.
I was just looking for an easy spin, so the B ride was exactly what I was looking for. I jumped on the back and before I knew it the group had splintered a bit, with me hanging on the back of a group of 7. I expected at any moment we'd be regrouping, so I just sat on and pedaled. After 45 minutes, we stopped at a park to give everyone a chance to use the restroom, and I assumed the dropped riders would get back to the pack here as well. After using the restroom, I noticed that the leader of the A ride was one of the 7 people I'd been in a pack with.
"I'm on the A ride, aren't I?" I asked. I knew the answer before anyone even responded.
The big problem was that the A riders had a sadistic climbing day planned, and I was only wanting to be gone for 2 hours. I could bail and ride solo back to the house, or I could ride with the pack and then look for a bail out option. I decided to just go with the pack despite my tired legs and time constraints.
Our route took us up Lee Hill Rd out of Boulder, which features some steep switchbacks to start and a long, griding grade after the initial steepness. My plan was to just set my pace based on my achievable power threshold and just get to the top at my pace. As we hit the climb, I moved to the back and our group of 7 immediately started breaking up. Two guys off the front, 3 grouped in the middle and 2 of us on the back. As we started up the initial steep sections, I found a good rhythm and started pulling back up to the middle 3. As I climbed I passed several people up the road, but could never make it all the way back up to the group of 3 that were 100 yards up the road.
The climb lasted about 45 minutes, and covered about 4.5 miles, with an average grade of 8%. I did remarkably well on the climb, actually setting a personal best for 20 and 30 minute normalized power. I was quite pleased with how resilient my legs were, something that is absolutely due to lots of winter trainer time and base miles. After the climb, the group was circling back around to do it all over again, but I peeled off and headed home.
Ended up putting in a 2:45 ride, getting in around 45 miles. Good ride, and the good legs on the climb makes me ready to get out there and point the bike west for some more elevation gains in the near future.