Our plans for the long weekend got totally switched around at the last minutes, so instead of my parents coming to DC, we went to visit them in NY. They still live in the house to which I was brought home from the hospital. Thankfully, it isn't an unintentional homage to shag carpeting and avocado shaded applainces. But the neighborhood has changed quite a bit since my childhood, with a lot of people building big houses or adding onto existing houses, but the essential character is still there.
After waking up late, I got out for a ride on Thursday, which was beautiful. The relatively warm, dry fall kept the leaves on the trees so I was treated to awesome foliage the whole time. Despite being on Long Island, it's wicked easy to avoid any sort of strip mall crap and stay completely on nice short hills along the waterfront. The north shore of LI has a lot of hills, mostly relatively steep, short gut punchers that last 3 or 4 minutes. When I was in school I would ride my bike from my parents house in Centerport to my job coaching sailing at Cold Spring Harbor Beach Club, so I did a ride taking in the best parts of that, but adding a bunch of distance. There is a house on Lloyd Neck that Billy Joel lived in for a long time, so everyone obviously refers to it as "Billy Joel's house." I have no idea if he still lives there or not, but when you are at the house, you are on a causeway separating Lloyd Harbor, which is off of Huntington Bay, and Oyster Bay. An overland journey of about 200' which takes about a half hour in a fast motorboat or a good few hours in a sailboat. The view down Lloyd Harbor is awesome, and brings back a lot of memories of screwing around on the water when I was a kid. The ride pretty much ends with a climb up Fleets Cove road, which borders the Huntington Crescent Club, where I caddied as a kid. I think it's the 5th hole that parallels Fleets Cove, which provides ample opportunity to get drilled in the face by an errant drive. The climb itself probably averages about a 6 or 7% grade for two miles. Nothing too out of hand but a nice hard power climb. The FPG and I both grew up in places that are easy as hell to mock, LI and NJ, but I tell you they are both pretty great to visit. Except for getting there.
We got back in time for me to do a short ride yesterday afternoon, mostly focusing on Rock Creek Park. The Mormon hill is a son of a beyotch. I definitely had enough turkey, gravy, potatoes and pie to work off.
This morning was my last day of just screwing around on the bike before beginning a 12 week base phase, so I did the team's Espresso Ride with the intent of kind of letting it all hang out and getting a good recording of the ride. Average watts weren't very high, only around 190, but you do get some good 5 minute zones where you are hauling ass and pounding out the watts. We do an uphill sprint point coming across from Glen Road to River somewhere near the WSSC plant on River. The last couple of times I've done the ride I've done well on this one, but a couple more hitters were out today. I was a few riders back of where I wanted to be going in, but surfed up a few wheels going in and thought I'd found a lane on the inside. Blocked. Switched lanes all the way to the outside and got blocked again. Switched lanes again and got through to nearly make it to the line but no dice. It was a good, hard effort though, and I was psyched to be able to bounce around to different lines and still keep a sprint going. It was the first time I've recorded a 100 watt 5 second effort. Probably nothing to write home about (I have no idea at all, really), but it felt solid and I'd never made an effort like that with the PT installed. Then, up the Great Falls hill, I did a nice ride just holding 360 watts the whole way. A couple of guys were holding my wheel and chumped me at the top, but whatever. You definitely don't want to be leading at the top of that climb, since the little downhill just before the top gives a big advantage to followers, but it's a club ride, what are you going to do?
So for a long time, I've claimed that my heart rate is janked up, and here's what I mean. The yellow bars are my power file from today. I spent time a lot of time in the recovery zone, a bunch in endurance, lots in threshold, some in race pace and some in the max zone. The red bars are heart rate - pretty much all recovery, which for me is less than 136. There are a couple of things that could be happening here, none of which I'm qualified to judge.
Anyhow, the 2008 season officially begins tomorrow and I've got a lot of goals out there for my self and my team this year, so there's a ton of work to do. Through the winter, I'll be really excited to watch the changes in my quantitative values, and hopefully that keeps the motivation up throughout a bunch of boring weeks sitting and sweating it out on the turbo trainer.
The FPG met the President of Squadra Coppi at yoga this morning. She says he's nice as hell, which isn't surprising since most of the guys on that team seem pretty all right (except for that one guy who's always busting stuff up...), but he did let her know that he'd been in some hideous bike accident and it fouled him up really badly. Just what she needs to hear to make her feel good about me riding and giving it a shot herself.
Oh, and the Skins gave another one away. This season blows. The coaching staff needs a big spring cleaning.