Once again I had to forego the usual Sunday ride with the Austin Flyers to attend grandson, John's, 5th birthday celebration at noon in College Station. That is not to say I didn't get a ride in. I left the house (driving) at 5:45am and by 6:05am started the 360 Loop ride. This is the same 42 mile ride where I lost 10 minutes (see previous post) for some unexplained reason. Today I felt smooth and strong and was able to spin up the hills with relative ease, including Steiner Ranch. But...... While my time was good, within 4 minutes of my alltime best, I thought it should have been better. Once home and showered and driving east, I had time to disect the ride and all the variables that go into what makes some rides faster than others. After tossing out a lot of reasons, it suddenly came upon me that I had changed equipment! Wait, that's not true, it wasn't a Eureka!-moment at all.
I crested Steiner and passed 2222 as I cruised down 620. A young woman on a bike merged in behind me and I said "hi" but didn't slow down to chat. I held 23-26mph for several miles but got stopped at a light. Only 15 seconds, but she had stopped behind me so we exchanged a few pleasantries. She had just started her ride, I was two hours into mine. Green! I took off and again powered up to 26mph and a mile later turned onto Anderson Mill, and into a slight headwind. With my speed dropped to 20mph, still good, I saw in my mirror the rider behind, inexorably catching up and passing me. She was folded nicely into her aerobars and had a quick cadence.
So, as I drove to College Station, I realized my very best time occurred when I had aerobars and regular chain rings (I'm in a compact at the moment). It wasn't that my slow speed cut into the time, it was the lack of high-end speed. Also, the previous computer paused when I stopped, and although I knew both the overall time and saddle time, I only recorded saddle time. Now, my current computer pauses. Next month I'll re-install the aerobars and have a new drive-train. And, yes, I'll be ready to set a new pr.