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!

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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