Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Externalities

In 2005, Dave Zabriskie won the first stage of the Tour de France and held the jersey until crashing during the team time trial in stage four. In a flat stage eight, high winds fractured the peleton and Zabriskie was caught out alone and finished last. He abandoned the next day.

Anyone who doesn’t think external factors affect a ride hasn’t spent much time on a bike.

Sometimes, however, we [and by “we” I mean “I”] think we’re immune to the elements or they really won’t make much difference. For example, Steve and I did the Suncrest Time Trial a week ago Monday into a strong headwind. I knew it slowed us down but didn’t realize how much until Sunday when I got the following text: “While you are away playing [I was in Moab over the weekend—more on this later] I am home busting my butt on Suncrest. 20:11”

Without the headwind, Steve took two minutes off his time. Since I was faster than him the first time and can’t let him have the upper hand for long, I had to try it again.

I rode home from work yesterday and figured if UTRider took most of the pulls (which he did), and I didn’t push the pace too hard, I’d be nice and warmed up to TT the climb. I ignored the fact that the thermometer on my computer showed 99 degrees. I figured the heat wouldn’t make nearly the difference the wind did.

To a certain degree, I was right. I was faster for the first half of the climb. And then the heat got to me and I completely blew up. I wanted to quit. But since I’ve railed on people stopping to rest, I couldn’t do that. I did, however, look forward to the clock reaching 22 minutes, because then my best time would already be passed and there would be no point in pushing it to the top.

Two hours after I got home, I was still shaking a bit and not all together. I was a little nervous about pedaling in this morning, but figured I’d take it easy and have a nice recovery ride. Which I did. I averaged 23 mph for the first 17 miles before being slowed down by stoplights and traffic as I neared downtown. I don’t think my heart rate got above 140, either. I just had a nice, stout tailwind.

I’m waiting until it’s blowing the other direction before doing Suncrest again.

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