Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Sat Jan 7th 4:30 80 miles

VERY cold today (mid 20's ) as I set off for the "city bakery" group ride. This is a new ride that Justin England put together a few weeks ago. Since it was so cold we had about a dozen hearty souls....which is fine with me, as the bigger rides around here make me nervous. Not because of the riders so much, but because of the nature of the roads we ride on. Here in western north carolina we don't really have any shoulders on our winding mountain roads....Which makes large group rides a bit nerve wracking...but at least the traffic in general is fairly light on most of the roads we ride and for the most part drivers are courteous....but I digress. The ride started by going over town mountain, up the parkway and down ox creek. We then made a right and headed up a climb (paint fork) that I have not done in a few years. Holy ouch. I forgot how steep that thing is. For an early season ride it was pretty painful. I can generally keep my heart rate down on any climb, buy riding a sensible pace and using my 27 (yes I use a 12-27 for training), but this climb is brutal. After that we wound around the hills of Madison county and headed back. 3 of us took a detour to add another 30-40 minutes to the ride. A good day for such cold weather. It was still only 40 when I got home.

A note about group rides : especially in the early season my athletes know that I generally discourage doing too many group rides. I usually try to limit them to once a week. The reason being that many group rides just go too hard all season long. The other reason being that even with a "well behaved and well intentioned" group, the pace on a rolling or climbing course tends to be too hard on the hills and too easy on the flats. Remember that base period training is all about building aerobic fitness. Going too easy (HR zone 1), or too hard (too much above HR zone 3) will not accomplish this goal nearly as well as steady riding in HR zone 2.

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