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!