Been a long time since my last post. Apologies for any interested parties.
Tuesday and Thursday of this week I rode in the Pasadena area Rose Bowl Ride, a fast paced training ride with minimal climbing. It does have a 1-mile long false flat. By itself, not bad, but at 25-26mph, it can tire a person out. I usually do Tuesday or Thursday, so when Saturday morning’s Montrose Ride arrived, I was feeling tired.
On Sunday morning, I’m planning on racing August SoCal Cup Crit Series race. I can enter the Master’s 35+ or the Cat 3 race, or both. I’m trying to lay the groundwork for a good (great?) performance in this year’s El Tour in November, so I’d like to be doing at least 2, but preferably 3 crits in the weekend races. The 3′s are usually easier while the 35+ field will probably hurt, especially if Charon Smith shows. The plan was therefore to sit in and not over-exert myself so I might finally get some rest before Sunday’s race.
My son and I parked at the Rose Bowl (normal) and rode up to Descanso Gardens. I definitely felt tired and fatigued in my legs, as I huffed & puffed more than normal. However, it turns out we were somehow setting a faster-than-normal pace. I set a PR on the climb, 9-secs faster than my previous best 2 weeks prior.
I can usually recover quickly after exerting myself, but not this morning. After arriving at the Gardens, taking a natural break, and chatting a bit, we rolled out pretty normally, but not today. And the restful ride was not to be: I should have taken notice of the fact we were rolling through stops a little faster than normal.
The past couple weeks, I have been able to be at the front of the pack descending from the Gardens. Today I forced myself to stay further back, letting other riders pull through, and trying to stay on-goal. We arrived at Trader Joe’s to a green light, highly unusual, and continued on. The next several miles were uneventful and not overly fast-paced.
As we approached the high school sprint, however, the pace was picking up. Plenty of riders were moving forward while I tried to stay close to the front. We hit our usual red light about a half-mile from the line and I remembered what my purpose was for the day. So I decided to not even try to move up. I followed wheels and maintained my position.
After the sprint, it was a bit mellow until the left on Langden and the merge onto Arrow Highway. It picked up there, the traditional hard zone. I stayed a bit mid-pack, with a few moments near the front. The pack split into long/short routes and we began heading toward Bradbury Hill. The turn past Encanto Park was a bit intense, although I never felt under too much pressure.
The climb up Bradbury was a bit middle of the road for me as I tried to conserve my energy while still getting over in contact with the leaders. However, I ended up with a 51-second time (according to Strava), good for my 8th best time and 6-seconds off my PR.
Down Foothill we flew, hitting a couple red lights, and then the final slog up to Sierra Madre. Again, I would set a personal best on the 1-mile climb, beating last week’s effort by another 3-seconds. (Thanks to Jen, who paced me and provided a rabbit when she finally dropped me.)
At the finish, I was perspiring freely as the moisture-filled air finally let loose. I was tired and a little leary of what would come tomorrow morning, but very happy with my performance in several areas.