19.8

Something unusual happened on my Sunday ride.  I broke a personal best pace on a 16.7 mile circuit I occasionally ride.  Setting new personal records aren’t extremely rare, but this ride was different – I crushed my old record.

And I can’t explain why.

I’ve reached the point in my cycling development where my personal marks are increasingly difficult to beat.  For months, the mark for a “short”  ride (ie., under 30 miles) like this was 18.7 mph.  I set that mark last October and struggled mightily to beat it on many occasions.  In February, I had a shot at it but earned my first (and to date only) flat of the year.  In April, I entered my final intersection with a 19.0 mph pace, only to hit the traffic light at a terrible time.  I finished with tying my record.  On Saturday, I rode this route and came up short again, this time with an average pace of 18.5 mph.

18.7 mph is pretty good for me.  I knew I could do better and thought with a herculean effort I might even be able to break the 19.0 barrier.  Maybe.

So on a lark, I rode the same route on Sunday.  I rarely do the same ride on consecutive days, but time was short and I couldn’t do a longer ride.  Besides, I’m more interested in sprint work in preparation for this Saturday’s “sportive” in Crystal City, so the shorter route helped in that regard as well.  I gave it all I had (like I always do on this ride) and was stunned to clock in with an average pace of 19.8 mph.

!

To exceed my best pace by this incredible amount was…  incredible.  I think I may have experienced the perfect sprint:

  • The temperature was a pleasant 74 degrees
  • There was no wind
  • The road was smooth
  • Traffic was light
  • I hit every traffic light green

To me, all that doesn’t add up to obliterating a record which withstood over a dozen assaults, but there it is.  I have no other explanation.  The stars aligned for me and I put up a number on the ole’ PBR wall that will stand for quite some time, I think.

This morning, I had a very rare chance to go for a ride before work.  Lots of cars and stop lights.  My average pace?  15.7 mph.  Back to reality!

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13 thoughts on “19.8

    • Right. I’m sure that’s what all the motorists, joggers, and walkers I passed said – “Look at that 240 lb guy wheezing past us. He looks Cavendishesque!”
      :)

  1. Maybe it’s those intervals you’ve been doing. Sounds like the training is paying off at the right time. I just hope you didn’t ‘peak’ 4 days before your event! Good luck Saturday!

    • Thanks – I don’t think peaking will be my problem. If anything, it will be “staring up at the peak I should have been at but failed to attain!”

  2. I’ve just had a look at your heart rate. Impressively steady. You must have pedalled hard downhill to keep it like that. It looks as though you timed yourself from a standing start heart rate wise. Do a warm up first and the 20 mph will be yours!

    • Thanks! With my substantial frame, downhills are my secret weapon. I do indeed usually time my routes without any significant warmup other than some stretching.

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