Saturday, March 31, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 31 March

This weekend's GTR was up in the beautiful country of Cherokee County, GA. We rode 45 miles out of the Free Home Publix, and as expected, it was amazing. When we were up in Free Home last year, it was a cold and rainy day, but even with the lousy weather I fell in love with the route. This year confirmed my memory of a great ride. I started out riding up to the front to be with J and G, but after stopping and restarting at an incorrect turn, I rode a bit further back with a line of alumni. I spent most of the rest of my day with A, D, and especially C. It was great to ride with him again; I hadn't had much opportunity to since the Wilson season, and we had a great time.

The day was sunny and not too warm; the only headwind kicked up on one part of the last loop, otherwise it was perfection.


Maximum speed: 38.5 mph
Average speed: 15.2 mph
Distance: 45.78 mi
Time: 2.59.07

Not bad, really. Going into the first SAG, with the fasties, I was over 17mph, which was in all likelihood unsustainable. It felt great, but I was glad to ride with old friends.

Details of the ride can be found here.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Weekday Ride - Thursday, 29 March

The last week in March saw our first official Brookhaven ride of the season. I started out feeling a little sluggish, but not more than usual. I found my stride pretty quickly, but probably rode a little too hard. I felt good. On the second go-round, I rode with L and V for a bit, and then HS showed up at the top of the loop and we waited for her to catch up. We weren't sure she had even made it because of traffic, but we left together and she looked strong. We took it a little easier on the second loop, and I rode in with Coach. All told, my legs felt good throughout, and I definitely pushed myself for at least the first half, because there were people behind me that I just wasn't going to let pass (until I got stuck at a stop sign whereas the guy behind me, undeterred, weaved through two cars and blew by me while I was about to get started again; jackass). Met some new, cool people and I am looking forward to these rides, among my favorite of the season.


Maximum speed: 29.2 mph
Average speed: 14.3 mph
Distance: 20.64 mi
Time: 1.26.04

Remaining details (QOM!) can be found here.

In other news....

I got an e-mail from the president of the GT Tri club (whom I had contacted about a week ago for information on whether the club was still active). He said they have a women's slot available for Collegiate Nationals, and if I don't take it it'll go to waste. Nationals are Saturday, 21 April (so I would miss a GTR) in Tuscaloosa. It would be cool to participate in so awesome and event (and to get a Tech tri kit), but I don't know if I am physically ready now, or if I could be then. Certainly, the cycling is ready to go, and I could easily get the running up, but the swim? And putting all three together? In less than a month? Mostly, I'm worried about embarrassing myself: the pictures they have posted from previous Nationals clearly indicate that, in terms of fitness, I am out of my league. Maybe there are more beginners than they showed that come to these things....

Anyway, I left him a voicemail, and hope that he calls back soon. I am thoroughly on the fence with this one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Buckhead Hills - Tuesday, 27 March

Tonight I got to ride with G and J on their usual Tuesday Buckhead ride. I joined them a few times last summer, and I'm looking forward to a full season this year now that DST has begun. My legs felt like molded lead from the get-go, likely because of riding hard on Sunday after a long ride on Saturday and not ever properly recovering (beside not doing much of anything yesterday). That said, I finally loosened up about halfway in, though I never felt strong on any of the climbs. I wasn't grumpy or in a bad mood, so I know it was just an off day in terms of feeling it. Even so, the numbers aren't horrific and I'm glad I went out.


Maximum speed: 36.9 mph
Average speed: 14.2 mph
Distance: 20.88 mi
Time: 1.27.44

You'll notice a slight difference between the stats above and those here; that's because I'd gotten a little way out before realizing I hadn't reset the computer. Whoops.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Stella's Gap - Sunday, 25 March

I lieu of the usual KSR, because I'd ridden it yesterday, today a few of us went over to the West Side and rode Stella's Gap, a training ride with ABC. There were three distance options: 23, 30, and 38 miles, and we all did the 38 mile route. The roads were familiar, from previous GTRs out of Vinings and from the Tuesday Buckhead hills rides with J and G. I fell in pretty comfortably with the B group, while G and other J were off up front with the fasties. I wanted to push today, but knew there was no way I would average 16+ mph.

I enjoyed the route, though the roads were rough in a lot of places. Around mile 18 I was ready for it to be over, as I was frustrated with some of the other cyclists and starting to get tired. I began rationing my water at that point. All told, it was a good ride, but it mostly served to reinforce my dislike of riding with unknown and unaware cyclists.

Maximum speed: 40.4 mph
Average speed: 14.1 mph
Distance: 37.04 mi
Time: 2.36.47

This isn't so bad: it's not a fast average by any means, but given the total elevation of 2,636', and the long, though slow, ride yesterday, I'm pretty pleased with it.

The map and goodies can be found here.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 24 March

We were in my usual stomping grounds for the GTR today, doing what is most of the KSR, with the twist of doing both the outer and inner loop around Stone Mountain. I rode with A today, who is a survivor and recent alumna. We had a great ride, keeping a pretty steady pace and effort the whole time, even with wind and spider/inch worm webs in our faces on the way back. Spring was out in full force today - the tires are green with pollen and the yards and park were full to bursting with luscious azaleas and fragrant wisteria. Add to it the "Ferris Bueller" weather -- blue sky and hardly a cloud in sight -- and it was well nigh perfect.

I used Strava for the first time, which does a lot of things that my previous sports app, SportyPal doesn't, including blocking out my home and work addresses from the public map and tracking fastest rides along various segments of known routes (and you can add your own segments, too, which I am going to do as soon as I Cat 6 my way to school starting Monday). Because we weren't going balls-to-the-wall, I am lower down in the female ranking on a lot of the segments today than I would like. But, the best part about that is that Strava compares how you do against others and against yourself: the next time I do this route I'm going to kill in terms of PRs and other ladies. They know who they are.

The worst part about Strava is that it's already bringing out my competitive side, which doesn't take much.


Maximum speed: 30.8mph
Average speed: 10.6mph
Distance: 42.84 mi
Time: 4.00.46

Ride info:

It was, as I said, a great ride.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Let the (road) training begin! Sort of...

I've already been riding on Saturday and Sunday of each week, but I have missed being outside during the week, made all the more salient with the incredible weather of the last two weeks. Tonight was the last night of our Ultimate Cycling trainer class. It lasted 11 weeks, for a total of 22 sessions (3 of which we missed because of the first nice day just begging us to be in Brookhaven, sickness, or grumpiness). Over the last two and a half months, for an hour and a half each Tuesday and Thursday night, we got on the trainers and pedaled, pedaled, pedaled. Sometimes we did lactate sprints, in which you jump out of the saddle for 15 seconds and pedal at a high cadence and then, for the next 45 seconds, maintain that cadence seated; repeat 2 or 3 times without rest. It is tiresome. Or, we might do power drills, in which you pop into the highest gear and just go for 5 minutes. Repeat 2 or 3 times. It was tiring, exhausting, and especially tonight, overheating. But I feel stronger and faster, and that may be borne out on the road.

I am looking forward to returning to last year's routine of Tuesday rides in the hills of Buckhead and Thursday rides in the fast loops of Brookhaven. Spring is officially here, according to all sources (the calendar, the groundhog, the 9000+ pollen count, and the green trees). The violets are blooming, the wisteria is waving in the breeze. It's the best time of year. Let's ride bikes. I'll get to, next week.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 18 March

We will be riding the usual KSR route at the upcoming GTR this weekend, and knowing that - for now - the outer loop is on the cue sheet, I wanted to get it out of the way once so I would know how to mentor others up it. And I did.

In a (few) word(s): it ain't no thang.

I had myself worked up into a bit of a state beforehand, having distorted what everyone had told me about how the hill is a killer and super steep and awful, etc. Being myself, I was naturally anxious starting off, but then when I got to the base of the climb itself and looked up at it I realized it wasn't really much of anything. Steep, sure, but not awful, and certainly not as bad as it looked in profile from the inner loop.

Lesson learned: don't psych yourself out; stay out of your head.

On the ride out, though I'd initially wanted to go after it because of the easier ride the day before, I just didn't have much in me. I had eaten as much breakfast beforehand as usual, but I didn't feel very strong. Getting to the park, I noticed I'd averaged 13.9 mph on the way out, and and I was very hungry and almost a bit fatigue-shaky. As L and I brought up the rear, the boys and J were already there and eating, ready to go, so I hopped on their tail before I could talk myself out of doing the loop and rode. I had S with me, who convinced me that it really wouldn't be that bad, and he psyched me up for it. He's a great riding buddy. After the climb, I was REALLY shaky and I just had to eat, so I started to pull out a pack of Honey Stingers, but dropped other food on the way. S rode on while I went back to pick it up. I had him in my sight for the rest of the loop, catching him when he stopped to make the turn on the way back in.

I REALLY like that loop; it's fast, the worst is over quickly, and it's interesting. I definitely prefer it to the inner loop.

After getting back to the rest area, I ate the rest of my bagel from breakfast (still shaky) and saw my average had gone up to 14.0 mph. That didn't surprise me, because of the speed of the loop, and I expected it to drop on the way back home, which it always does.

Except for this time it didn't. L and I killed it on the way back, without putting in any apparent extra effort. I felt great at the end of the ride, and super proud of myself. Cycling is, for me, a mental game. If I can talk myself into doing something, then I can do it.


Maximum speed: 34.4 mph
Average speed: 14.2 mph
Distance: 36.83 mi
Time: 2.34.38

You can see the elevation and all that here.

Training Ride - Saturday, 17 March

It was a luscious green St. Patrick's Day down in Silk Sheets, with only the best weather for this year's team. There wasn't much wind, the sun was shining, and we got to ride the 35-mile route in reverse. I tell you, it was a pleasant change to ride the roads backwards, and so simple. It made me remember why I first loved riding in the area, before we were there too much last year.

Saturday's clinic was pacelining, and boy, did it take. At one point we had...6? 7? people, all new to the team, in a sweet line. Some work still could be done, but it was a sight to behold.

Behold; it's a sight.

Maximum speed: 32.9 mph
Average speed: 13.6 mph
Distance: 38.40 mi
Time: 2.48.50

It was, all told, a great ride. At the end, feeling "froggy", I went out to meet up with a later group and rode in with them for the extra miles and company. It was perfect, and I felt good.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Quilt Progress: Repost from Stash Slash Project: "A Good Drying Day"

 The quilt is all but complete: only the binding needs doing. See the link to ARA's blog below for pictures of her laundry blowing in the wind, along with the quilt that YOU, dear reader, could win.

ARA is much better about completing projects than I am, so if you were to win this, the binding would be done well before Christmas.

Stash Slash Project: "A Good Drying Day": It's a beautiful day in Lebanon, PA.  The sun is shining.  There is a nice breeze and as my mother use to say "it's a good drying day."  Wha...

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Kirkwood Sunday Ride - Sunday, 11 March

Today started off cool and cloudy. The clouds parted here and there, but never so much that it got warm during or immediately after the ride. That's OK, it provided the impetus to keep going. It was also a VERY windy day, which made keeping going less pleasant. It was a great ride, though: D, L, and V from the cycle team all made it out (D and L for the first time evar!) and we had a blast.


Maximum speed: 32.1 mph
Average speed: 13.4 mph
Distance: 29.63 mi
Time: 2.12.28

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Training Ride - Saturday, 10 March

Friends, this Urban Cyclist hangs her head in shame. Woe to me for having neglected my post-ride updates. I have been riding every GTR and KSR for the last month, I just have not been good (obviously) about actually posting the post-game shake down.

Today, I begin anew. I will slough off the poor work ethic of February (now 10 days gone) and, like March, roar like a lion.

Something like that.

Our GTR was in Peachtree City this morning, and it was a beautiful morning indeed. We rode 30 miles through the lovely and fast country roads about an hour south of Atlanta, and it was great. I just love riding down there. I rode with some new-to-me people, and I am very positive about the team this year. Mentor L, a local to PTC, even worked out a deal with the Chick-fil-a we park near, wherein we got a free chicken sandwich with a milkshake. I got the milkshake, gave the sandwich to J (with whom I spent most of the ride, and whom I adore), and we split an order of fries. A great day!

Maximum speed: 33.0 mph
Average speed: 13.6 mph
Distance: 30.65 mi
Time: 2.15.49

It was a bit windy here and there, which slowed us down, but at one point we got a steady, FAST paceline going into the park for our SAG, and it was a lot of fun. I'm really enjoying the team this year, and I'm looking forward to seeing how everyone continues to grow.