Miami Springs Friday, Key Biscayne Saturday: My Riding is Improving

Last night:
I went to out to Miami Springs to do the 8 mile loop with the guys, and put the a typical performance for me. While we’re moving I can hang with the group fine, but slowing down for intersections, or stopping for lights DESTROYS me, specially with everyone sprinting from a stand still. I usually just fall off the back and work my way up to speed slowly and eventually close the gap at my own pace, but that in itself kills me since I can’t draft and recently the wind has been BLOWING here.  I should just man up and sprint out with them and fight through it and hang on, but I’m a wimp and don’t have to will power for that plus I’m sure it’ll hurt me more than it’ll help me.  Which is brings me to another thing, I really need a heart rate monitor to see if I’m just being a wuss or I’m doing the right thing by not pushing beyond what I feel is my limit.The ride wasn’t anything crazy, 24 miles total and I wish we could do more, but we’re usually strapped for time.  I never got dropped by the group, but in reality they weren’t going very fast, usually 20-21 mph.  About 20 miles I got into a sprint with Alex which shocked me, I was able to bring up to 30.5 mph without a lead out into a bit of a head wind.  Of course to crush my joy, Alex managed to turn it up to 32+ despite a bike that was falling apart under him, while screaming s372 (turbo/car joke) mockingly as he dropped me…  Yea out sprinted me, and was able to talk through it too… Thanks meng, thanks lol

Our parade was almost rained on, literally but by luck, the skies cleared and the scorching Miami heat managed to dry the road just in time for our ride.  I hit up The Key with Alex and Jorge for a quick ride, just one lap of City which is about 16 miles.  It’s got one large climb, for Miami anyway, and a smaller bridge that would be a ton of fun if it was longer but it’s all we got so we make due.  Jorge is just starting out so he can’t keep up for long which is fine, he rides at his own pace and still has a good time, about 4 miles in I broke away with Alex with him pulling into the wind since he’s the much stronger rider and he pulled almost until the end of the city into a stiff wind, very impressive.  I took over for the last half mile or so and was surprised I was able to keep the speed I was into the wind but the again I was fresh since I was wheel sucking the whole way.

We turned around and the way back I did the pulling and I surprised myself, like really surprised myself.  I brought up the speed slowly to about 18 mph for half a mile just to get the legs ready and then started turning it up.  I was keeping a good 21-22 mph and at first I was dying, I didn’t think my legs could do it, my heart was screaming at me, my lungs were burning but I pushed on.  I told myself just pull for a mile to let Alex relax for a bit and then fall back, and the mile came. Meh, I could fight the pain for another half mile right? Keep pulling Yani, keep pulling I told myself.  The half mile came and something happened, the pain that was killing me, the desire to quit, all vanished.  Suddenly this was fun again, and I came up to a group of riders going slower so I turned it up a few mph to pass them quickly and little did I know they decided to latch on.  And another surprise… The speed I built up to pass them didn’t fall away, I kept it at 23-24 mph for another mile or so, by now I had been pulling for about 4 or 5 miles and feeling good, then the pack that latched decided to attack…

This is where a lack of experience KILLED me, I see the first one go by and think nothing of it, the next to pass and I don’t do anything.  When they’re about 150 feet up the road I think WTF am I doing, I need to catch them, I’m sick of pulling.  I come out of the saddle for a sprint and about 5 seconds into it I realize my tank is empty, they’re pulling and there’s nothing I can do about it.  Alex comes around to try to pull me with him to catch them, but after about 10 seconds of that I fall back.  I’m sure if I would’ve countered as soon as it happened I wouldn’t have been dropped, Alex managed to catch them and said they were shocked he closed that gap.  They had been going about 27 mph since the attack.

I still don’t feel about about myself though, I might not have been able to close the gap, but after we crossed the small bridge on the way back I reeled them in a bit and held them there.  I still didn’t drop under 20 mph and for the most part kept it around 22 without any draft which is a real accomplishment for me.  I couldn’t believe I was riding like that, and couldn’t believe I was riding like that after having another hard ride the previous night.  Eventually one of the guys in the pack broke away, I don’t know if he had to leave or was cooked, but at least I wasn’t the first to give up heh.  Then we got back to the big bridge, which after this effort seemed like the HUUUUUUGE bridge, on the way up I had thoughts of walking it, wishing I had the granny gear, maybe I should just jump into the water?  Screw it, I’ve made it this far, lets finish it right so I trucked up to the top and Alex was waiting for me.  I forgot to mention the wind, I don’t know what happened by we had a strong wind climbing the bridge into the key, but it must’ve doubled and shifted on the way out because that was ridiculous, I couldn’t even keep the bike straight while climbing the bridge.  We descended and still kept the speed over 20 on the way  back to the car, overall I was proud of my effort and hopefully I keep it up.

Tomorrow I’m going to go for an easy ride on the Busway to down to Homestead, finish listening to my Freakonomics audio book and hopefully get 40 or 50 miles in with some nice relaxed riding.

Lets see how I feel tomorrow morning after tonight’s effort  though

The view around 7 pm on the Rickenbacker Causeway, made with autostitch from 10 photo’s using an iPhone:


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