On one of my earlier PFBC rides, people were telling me about the Clemmons Bike shop Wednesday ride. I was told that it was a repeated loop, with each loop being faster than the previous and that you could do as much as you could handle and be done. Sounded like just the thing to gauge of my abilities and to see when I improved. So last night I gave it my first try.
It was lots 'o' fun. Definitely going to be doing this on a regular basis. The first 3 loops were easy and each slightly faster than the previous. First loop completed @ 28.4 kmh, the second @ 29.1, and the 3rd @ 29.7. On the last lap the hammerheads went to town and was the whole reason for going. I did not expect to keep up but I would at least know where/when I would get dropped and have a marker for later comparison.
Frankly, I was quite surpised at my performance. The first part of the loop was simply more speed and no problem keeping up. I spent most of my time just monitering those in front so that I could jump across if a split happened. The real push came as we went down the one fast descent and up the other side @ 33.5K. Given my mass, I coasted past pretty much everyone and flew by several others on the way up who were pedalling. I did nothing but navigate around them in a tuck. Once we got to the top it was a long gradual uphill to the end. I began near the front but wasn't sure what the deal was so I just followed the wheel in front. Very shortly though the big boys came through and I jumped onto their wheels.
The speed kept ramping up and up and I was keeping a good steady effort with little difficulty. Then the person in front of me cracked and pulled out. A gap had been forming and he couldn't hold the wheel. This meant I had to close a 2-3 bike length gap to the group travelling @ 40+ kmh. I leaned into it and slowly started to bring it back.
3 lengths. 2 lengths. 1.5 lengths. Definitely feeling the effort. 1.25 lengths. Heart pounding. Can't get closer. But I don't give up. I hold that position until about 800 m from the end and have to pull out. The guy behind goes past and gives an appreciative "Thanks for the awesome pull man" and the original guy off the front fades back to me and this other guy and we wheeled into the finish fast but just not quite as fast as the front group. In retrospect I realized I should have gotten out of the saddle to try to finish off the gap; rookie mistake. We finished that lap @ 34.9 kmh. Here is the link to the details should you be interested.
Given it was my first time on the ride, I'm still recovering from the chest cold and I had no expectation of holding the wheel of any of them, I'm happy with this result. As an added bonus I also acheived a personal best average speed of 29.5 kmh and new max speed of 69.7 kmh . My previous best average was 29.33 kmh and max speed was 68.33 on my own. Looks like the season still holds lots of promise.
As my wife and friend have noted, being dropped that Sunday several weeks ago may have been a gift in disguise. It resulted in my joining PFBC and hence to this ride. Thanks for all the support.
Distance: 41.35 km
Speed: 29.49 kmh
Cadence: 88 rpm
AVG HR: 151 bpm
Weight: 200.4 lbs