Endurance Check

For Easter, Mother Nature gift-wrapped 2 sunny days for us.  I wouldn’t go so far to say they were warm – still leg warmers & jacket weather for me but at least I finally switched to fingerless gloves!

I have a confession though.  I returned to the dark side & rekindled some long hauls.  No speed work.  What has winter done to my endurance?  This weekend was my test.

I selected familiar but favourite routes for 2 reasons: 1) Less preparation; 2) Comparison with last year’s performance to assess where I am.

FRIDAY – Mount Nemo (72km)

It was overall an enjoyable ride (ROUTE MAP).  This route consisted of false flats at the beginning, a 2km grind up Nemo, followed by a few rollers on the way back.

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Can you guess where Nemo is?

Once in motion, I immediately noticed the following:
1) Last week’s PB might partially be due to tailwind.  The 1st 16km of this route was identical except this time, headwind smacked me in the face & my pace was nowhere near it.
2) The smell of manure, a sign of Spring.
3) My nose was running faster than I was cycling.  Thanks wind.

I enjoy revisiting familiar routes.  I now have a collection of Rattlesnake Point at various seasons, all but winter.  Which one looks the best? I vote last Fall!! (hover over the images for captions).

Winter has destroyed my endurance as I was already seeing stars at 30km.  Maybe I was too premature to battle a hilly course because  I was suffering, pushing at 12-15kph up Mt. Nemo.  Three-quarters of the way up, my lungs suddenly opened and I was able to maintain a rhythm at ease to the top.  It felt great!!

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This section of the route is 1 of my faves. A downhill followed by an uphill turn.

Riding home on a busy road, I couldn’t avoid a pothole at the base of a hill and my water bottle flew out.  I immediately felt a weight difference, not bad!!  As I pedaled on, I couldn’t help but reminisced about all the rides we did together and all the ride we could’ve had.  A sad & abrupt departure indeed.

I admit I don’t usually do a complete stop at a Stop Sign (on a bike).  As I crossed an intersection after a rolling stop, I saw a police car on the right.  I picked up the pace just in case someone decided to chase me.

nemo results

72km

SATURDAY – The Shed Coffee Bar (100km)

This route (ROUTE MAP) assessed both my endurance and long climbs with half of the ride going up the escarpment.  Similar to Friday, I struggled on all the hills but I felt strong on the last quarter of each hill.  Knowing pace wasn’t important on this ride, I used the opportunity to practice riding out of the saddle which is a skill I want to master.  My pace at the halfway mark wasn’t pretty which was fine.  I now have a baseline for improvement.  It can only get better from here.

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My midway reward at The Shed Coffee Bar is always worth all the sweat & tears.  Their latte bowl never disappoints me.

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Tried the Fruited Wild Rice Salad for the 1st time. It was right down my alley with dried fruits & nuts.

Their decor is always top-notch.  Isn’t this the best mirror?  Although the sentence was never finished, “Life is like riding a bicycle in order to keep ….”.  To keep what? I pondered this mystery for an hour as I sipped on my latte.  I still don’t have an answer …

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The endurance part was an improvement from Friday.  No longer do I see stars.  In fact, the last leg of the ride was strong, perhaps it was the downhill talking but I maintained above 25kph for the last 20-30km.  Nothing I did at the end could save my overall time.

shed results

100km

The Easter Long weekend is not over yet.  So far, I’m having a fantastic time …. and with no saddle sores!!

How did you spend your Easter holiday?

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