I have a love-hate relationship with this ride. I love the loop. It's is without a doubt the most perfect weeknight training loop in the Metro area. I come here and do intervals on my own quite a bit. There are only two times in 32 miles that you have to stop for traffic and both of them are at the same intersection. Paxtuent River Road and Central Ave. The intersection is 15 minutes into the ride and 15 min from the end of the ride. How perfect is that? Built in warm-up and cool-down zones right where you need them. In between those zones is a loop that has everything you need. A big kilometer long hill, A long stretch of flat fast roads with slight gradient changes, but nothing that would ever slow you down. And very little traffic. I love this loop, but I hate the fact that I have to drive to it to train on it during the week. Except on the weekends when I can ride to the ride from my house 13 miles away in Crownsville.
I went to D-ville for the first time this year on Tuesday night. Kyle from Pedal'n Around had a write up for his adventures there last week. Here are mine.
After a rest day on Monday, I was gonna just do all my workouts from my office in Columbia. I find that if I stick to my program I get better and faster quickly. The problem is I need the suffering that goes with getting your head bashed in from the team hammers. So throwing caution to the wind and the fact that I took the Jetta to work instead of the Ducati I chose allot of constant drawn out pain over allot of short sharp pain with rest periods. I threw my bike back in the trunk, clocked out and headed to Davidsonville.
Here comes the hate part.
Since my crash in June 2006, on this ride no less while sprinting for the win ahead of Rocket Rick at the very end, I have not been able to get from start to finish with the main group. I was having a breakthrough year in 2006 after 5 years of no racing or any real training. I was actually riding better than when I had stopped after the 2000 season. It's been an uphill struggle ever since that soul crushing sprint crash. It's been 2 years and my knee scars don't look any better.
Once again, after going the entire 2007 season without finishing with the main group on a Tuesday night, I got dropped again on Waysons Corner. I didn't even make it to Harwood Hill. Shit!. Dolan was way easier than this ride, I was thinking to myself. But I was not alone this time, like I had been mostly in 2007. This year this ride is shredding a lot of folks. Funny thing was just as I was getting gapped off on Bump #2 on Waysons, my cell phone started ringing. I had to take it, cause it was my wife and she only calls during this time if it's an emergency. The last time she called me during this ride one of our dogs had a nasty seizure (I have an epileptic dog) and we needed to go to the vet right away. With dread I answered it but this time it was a personal crisis not medical one. Phew! I kept on the route and stayed on the phone talking my wife off the ledge all the while panting and now climbing up Harwood Hill one handed. She was OK by the time I reached the top so I hung up and put the phone back in my pocket. Now my back was so sore from riding up the hill twisted to one side to balance myself I thought I was gong to have to stop. Note to self: Never climb one handed. Its not good for the back muscles.
Continuing onward down RT-2 there was a lot of police activity ahead past the short cut turn down Polling House Rd. I went to see what happened and to really make sure it didn't involve anyone on the ride, as they had blown thru there a couple minutes earlier. Turned out to be just a fender bender. Some poor sod had his new Mini's front end smashed in by a non-descript mini-van. I hate mini-vans. Well, mostly I hate the vapid soccer moms who drive them. The van is just an object so my hate is misplaced. Once i was satisfied there were no ABRT'ers involved I turned around an headed back to Polling House. Just about this time Greg S, Bill N. and El Presidente Doug S. were coming to the same intersection, so we four got together and pounded out a pace slow enough to get caught from behind. That didn't last long. Greg notched it up (goddam he is fast!) and we were soon flying down Polling House, up the bump and onto Bayard. Greg gapped us all at the corner and I chased back onto his wheel with Bill in tow. We lost Doug. So now the three of us hammered all the way up Sands with Greg and I trading pulls, but with Greg doing about a an 80/20 split it the work. (Did I mention he is fast?). After my last 500+ watt pull up an incline, I sat up to rest and wait for the inevitable catch from behind as Greg and Bill rode away. Just as I was reaching the 2nd sprint point solo, the breakaway group with all the fast guys came up and blew by me like I was standing still. Bastards! I noticed that the group was really small, so there were others coming up too moving much slower. So I rode tempo hoping to catch Bill, who I see up ahead, who got dropped by Greg. I never got up to Bill before a group of three came up, Alex P. (riding strong, good job Alex!), Bob W (always fast) and Tom (always fast too) , from behind. Bob W says, 'Hey John, your ride is here." as he rode past me. I eeked out a sad "Thank You" and jumped on the back. We only had about 3 miles to go, as they had caught me after the light at the aforementioned Rt-214 intersection. Bob, Alex and Tom kept the pace high while I just stared at what ever back wheel was in front me of hoping to hold on to it like a hobo to a ham sandwich. We got to the last sprint and I sat up. I will not ever be contesting this sprint. I made my mind up after that fall in '06 that if I was going down, It was gonna be in a race where it mattered. We all coasted back to the Park & Ride. Much to my surprise there were stragglers still wheeling in after we got back. I thought we were the "Tail End Charlies" tonight. Nope.
Post ride reflections and data reviewing revealed pretty much the same thing as Dolan. I'm wasting my energy riding my slug of a training bike on rides I should be riding the A ticket bike, my IF Crown Jewel. The IF is far less fatiguing on a fast ride than the old Trek2100. That might be because its 5-7 lbs lighter and the frame is a marvelous synergy of steel and carbon that puts every stroke of power to the rear wheel while having the ride quality of a Ferrari GT car. Fast and comfortable. The power numbers, like the Dolan race, are not impressive when looking at things like 10 minute power and up. It's the same hammer and coast, hammer and coast affair. When I'm not coasting, I'm hitting it hard in high power 30-60 second spurts. I can do that on my IF and from now on and save myself untold fatique. And from now on I will be. The Mule will only get used for interval days when specific workouts need to be done. At least until i get a 2nd Polar Power kit to put on the IF. Or I break down and get a Power Tap. I think that will have to wait though. Neuvation is still selling 50mm carbon tub wheelsets for 650 bucks. I have 3 of his wheelsets and I love em. I've broken both of my sets of M28 Aero 2s and he has replaced them both with the newer design flaw corrected Aero 3s. Free of charge. Neuvation's customer service is 2nd to none. Thank you John Nugent!
That is my tale of woe for the week. The rest of the week here is Sprints, VO2 Max and long endurance rides this weekend. No races for me until the end of May.
But I'm sure by the end of business today, I will load up the car and head out for the Thursday edition of pain and do so for the rest of the year until it ends in October/November.
One of these days I make it the whole way. For my own peace of mind, I can only hope.