First 6 miles I did exactly that. But then something happened. I got to wondering if this little tidbit of insight I had over the weekend about 88% Max HR being my lactate threshold was true. I've also been reading, absorbing, devouring any tips on climbing I could get my hands on in anticipation of an assault on either Pilot Mountain or Hanging rock. And one thing that I do not pay a lot of attention too kept coming up again and again (it must be true then, right?). Pedal in circles. So, I started focusing on pedaling in circles. First one leg. Then the other. Trying to get the rhythm and seeing how long I could go before my legs got tired.
A funny thing happened. I would lose focus and start to listen to a bridge or chorus before my legs gave out. then I noticed that my HR as getting to about 85-87%. Hmmm. Maybe it would help if I had two things to focus on. I found a gear where I could push with a relatively slow cadence and focus on getting my circles perfect and fluctuating around 88% MHR. I'd pick out a landmark, an promised myself a brief respite if I could hold the goal.
I ended up flying around the course without going excessively into the red. Taking corners at speed and circling up inclines and adjusting the pressure on the legs to keep everything ~ 88%. Turns out that this is a great little circuit to do this exercise. Only three short bumps, some smooth asphalt in places and fun corners to push over. I'm going to start calling this my "Circle 88" ride.