Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Tale of Two Rides

Yesterday's scheduled workout called for a two hour bike ride at high cadence.    I'm down on the Outer Banks, so after spending most of the day sanding kitchen cabinets in preparation for a new coat of paint, I finally got ready to head out at around 3 pm.   Beautiful sunny day, but a pretty strong wind out of the south and those of you who have read some of my previous post will know that the winds down here are the Outer Banks equivalent of hills!

I decided to ride from Nags Head to the town of Duck and back - a total distance of something a little over 35 miles.  I had two "key thoughts" for the ride:

1.   Stay on the small chain ring and keep cadence high (target around 90 rpm)
2.   Loose arms and relaxed shoulders

I was also under strict instructions from The Puppeteer not to fight any head winds!

I was soon riding north on the beach road and flying along with little effort.  It took me about 50 minutes to get to Duck at an average speed of ~22.5 mph.  Fun!  Took a five minute break to take a drink and enjoy a little late afternoon sunshine....

Trusty Steed
Now it was time to ride south again and wow! what a difference!   I never cease to be amazed by how much impact a head wind has when you're on the bike!  It was a bit like riding into a brick wall at times.  To make matters worse, it was very gusty, which made it difficult to control the bike when getting down on to the aerobars to reduce drag.   There were also a few other obstructions to deal with along the way.....

Being a good victim  student, I didn't worry about speed and concentrated on constantly changing gear so as to keep my cadence at around 90 rpm.  The bottom line is that it took me about 1 hour 17 minutes to do the same distance going south at an average speed of around 15.5 mph - quite a difference!

Overall I managed to average a cadence of 89 rpm - well within my target range - and I think that I did a reasonable job of keeping arms/shoulders loose.   It was becoming a bit of a slog (and the sun was getting low!) by the time I got home and, while the speedy run north was fun, I was much more pleased with my efforts on the way south again - a good ride and I was back just in time to enjoy a classic Outer Banks sunset!

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