Sunday, April 15, 2007

Base Miles, Head Wind

I got on the bike today as promised and put in some base miles, something that was much needed. Lately I've been going out and hammering on my workouts because of limited time, or other commitments later on in the day that conflict with my desire to sleep in until 10 or 11 before riding. My plan for this ride was to start accumulating base miles in zone 2 and 3, and spend minimal time in zones 4 and 5. To my surprise, I actually stuck to it.

Today I was up at 7 a.m. to meet with some old TNT friends for a good ride. I like getting on the bike that early, but I like to sleep too, but since these guys like to ride early I made a sacrifice; it was well worth it. The guys I rode with today are great guys, and I forgot how much I enjoy their company. It's good to have people to talk with when you ride. Especially when two out of the 5 are hilarious and the other two are Lawyers. When I was younger I was the scrawny kid people picked on. later in life I got big scary looking friends, which gave me the right to talk shit and cause trouble, which I did plenty of. Riding with Lawyers is kind of the same thing. You can talk shit to drivers as the cut you off and disrespect you because you're on a bike knowing that if an altercation ensues you have a lawyer there, ready to go! The funny guys are great to have around because, well, they're funny. Now that I think about it, everyone on the ride is pretty funny in their own way. There was limited interaction with shithole drivers today, and all in all it was just a great ride. Great weather, great conversation (albeit at some points i was notified of information that I could have done without) great base mileage pace, and a great route, the only thing missing was a great beer at the end but oh well.

We started the ride doing my standard route, starting at Griffith Park and going around the studios. We caught the bike path at Riverside dr. and took that to Fletcher, turned onto Riverside and headed back to Griffith Park. I was able to maintain a heart rate of 125-135 through this, although on Forest Lawn I did kick it up to 150. We dropped one of our guys at Griffith Park (he had family obligations and a bum knee) took a piss break and rolled out again. Heading up to Glenoaks you could see that there was weather rolling in. It had rained the night before so I assumed it was left over weather from last nights storm. When we turned onto Glenoaks we were immediately greeted by a 25-30 mile/hour head wind. Awesome. Headwinds are the most demoralizing weather phenomenon for cyclists. My heart rate was between 135-140 the whole time on Glenoaks and I was hardly moving. I would rather ride in freezing rain than a headwind, although it would be realized later that our fortunes would change and struggling through the headwind would be worth it.

Glenoaks runs East to West, and La Tuna runs basically East to West as well, so when we made the turn to get onto La Tuna we had the wind at our back. Aaaaahhh salvation. I was able to big ring the climb thanks to the tail wind. I kept my cadence between 45-50 rpm's and my heart rate was 170-180. Normally La Tuna can be a bit miserable, you can always count on it being hot and windy. Today, because it was pretty chilly due to the rain, the heat was good and of course the wind for once was going in the right direction. I turned around at the top of the climb, descended to about the half way point to find one of the guys from our group. I stopped and did the climb again with him. Climbing by yourself can be a bummer, having some one with you to chat with up the climb is always a plus.

For those that have climbed La Tuna before you are aware of the pay off. For those that haven't let me explain. The back side of La Tuna is a short, steep descent. 45 mph is an easy target. When your done with that descent, you get to descend more, down Honolulu, down Pennsylvania, down Verdugo, down Glenoaks, down down down down all the way to Griffith Park. And then your done. Average speed for the second part of the ride should never be below 25 mph. All in all it was a great day. I couldn't have asked for a better day of riding and a better group of guys to ride with. I look forward to riding with those guys again.

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