Monday, March 15, 2010

Robin's Ride

Filled with angst over Congress playing political football with continued unemployment insurance (still not as much money collected as my signing bonus and severance pay at my last job in corporate America) my friend Robin exhorted me to take my nose off the grindstone long enough to go for a sanity ride. Glad I did.

A close contender for the title of this post was "Super-Surge", as I had one of these rare quirks of human physiology yesterday while riding up to Beal's point to see how much water is in the lake, and take in a beautiful warm day on the first day of daylight savings time.

I have heard of professional athletes having super-surges. I know Eddy Merckx had a famous one in the TDF, as did Lance Armstrong. The last time I had one was almost exactly a year ago, and in the same general area. Last year's surge started at the base of the Folsom footbridge across the American River and lasted about 10-12 minutes up through the area where the Folsom Crossing Bridge is now.

Yesterday's surge didn't come slamming in as hard as last year's, but lasted all the way to the top of Beals. Yesterday I also had my Garmin with me, so I know it was quantifiable. What is a super-surge? It is a glorious surge of strength and stamina where you can put down 50-100% of normal power without any sensation of fatigue or clawing at the limits of VO2max. You are incredulous as you power up hills and past riders who are much stronger, and it seems so easy it's effortless. I just wish I knew what brought on, created, or caused these thrill rides so I could duplicate them on demand.

I have a beautiful Garmin trace of sprinting up the last 150 yards at the top of Beals at 14-12.5mph over 8.5 to 9.5% grade. That's right at 600 watts for about 4 minutes in the saddle! After a 15 minute break where I ate a Powerbar, and drank a bottle of water, I headed down for home. Expecting the ride would even itself out as it always does, I instead found I was hammering hills, flying on the flats, and recovering in 10-20% of the normal time after hammering those hills.

In fact, this surge carried me all the way home. Even the hills between Bannister Pk and home got hammered. I was shaking my head as I stayed ahead of a couple of cars on Sutter coming back to California. Wow, what a ride!

I uploaded my Garmin and studied the trace. It verified my subjective impressions in spades. I crushed all of the hills, and shaved almost 2 min off my PB.

I didn't even have to yell "SIDE" OR "LEFT" as people saw me coming and fled. I had one scary moment with a small dog on a long leash. He took one look at me bearing down on him and ran into the bushes pulling his owner after him. I looked at the speed-O on the Garmin, smiled and shook my head. If I could make these things appear on demand I could quit my day job and become a pro racer. For all the crappy days where my body doesn't cooperate, this was a grand make-up gesture.

A local bike club has started doing free TTs on Tuesdays starting tomorrow. I hope one of these super-surges shows up then. I'd love to hammer a 20min TT on a super-surge.

Thanks Robin, and please feel free to live vicariously until you get your mo-jo back.

1 comment:

Gotta Run..Gotta Ride said...

Now this makes my heart sing. I was concerned for you and now I am smiling knowing that you are with us....riding...soaking in the sun! Times are and have been hard for you. Still...you must continue to move forward. We all have to keep moving forward. It is just what we do.

Now go and hammer those FREE TT's. YOU HAVE GOT IT NOW!!!!