Friday, July 5, 2019


     That's a rhetorical question.  I think I'm getting better and Training Peaks thinks I'm getting better, so we have consensus.  But to get faster at The Driveway, I need to get my head in the game.  Last night during my warm-up, the legs weren't happy.  The sensation of power just wasn't there.  I was resigned to another disappointing outing.  And then:
     As we lined up for the start I saw the guy who originally inspired me to give it a go.  This is a negative comment.  I first saw him two years ago.  The peleton would lose him in the first 500 yards, and he would be lapped multiple times.  And yet, he persisted.  Why would an old guy come out and embarrass himself week after week.  Same thing the next year.  I opined to my friends that I'm faster than he, I should go out and beat him, then invite him to partake in the Senior Games where he could race against guys his own age.  By the way, I was told he was 62.  Turns out he is 72, but that's still in a younger age group than me.  Anyhow, this would be my first opportunity to see if I really could take him.  I figured if anything, I'd draft then out-sprint.
     Well, he is faster than when I first saw him, but his start hasn't improved.  Fifty yards from the start, he had already lost the group.  I accelerated around him and tagged on, into the wind.  So from the start I knew I wouldn't finish last.  This Championship Loop doesn't have the long straightaway of the Grand Prix course, and I lost the guys on the first turn.  Like last time, they didn't leave me in the dust, just gradually pulled away.  But this time I had company.
     I feel no guilt in drafting a much younger guy.  With folks my own age I'd trade off leading, but this time I just sucked wheel for three laps.  He would pull away slightly but I was faster in the corners and catch back up.  I especially stayed tight going into the wind.  He finally slowed a bit and I moved up to take my turn leading.  But he was done and couldn't hold on, so I was once again by myself.
     On the fifth lap the peleton passed.  I'd moved out to the right to give them space and all went well, for the most part.  This was a big group, and after about fifty guys went by I tagged on to enjoy a bit of draft.  Unfortunately, I misread the gap, and another group of about twenty-five were closing in, and we had a curve coming up.  I slowed a bit and tried to make myself as small as possible as they passed.   I don't think I impeded their speed too much.  Then it was back to time-trialling another four laps until they caught me again.  This time I slowed a bunch and they went by without a hitch.
     Because of the large group, course marshals were pulling lapped riders.  The announcer said starting with five laps to go, but I kept getting waved through until two laps to go.  I finished with nine laps, the leaders with fourteen.
     Now for some stats.  My average speed was .5 mph slower than the last time.  However, the last time we had that long straightaway where we could hold some speed.  My max speed was the same at 32.5.  I didn't work as hard, per my HR.  Last time 150/158 and this time 149/156.  That is still in the 95% range.
     There were a handful of guys who dropped out, so technically I finished ahead of them.  I also lapped my inspiration guy, who dropped out after five laps.  One other finisher was slower than me.  My philosophy is not to sprint to avoid last place, so I lost a place by one second.  Afterwards I berated myself for not doing an out-of-saddle sprint.  I'm not doing these as races, but as training.  It would look like bad form to sprint, but I need the practice.  Next time I'll be sprinting.

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