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Like a Bat Out of Hell

June 1, 2011

Today was a hot one: 90+ degrees and 60% rh.  My first thought upon getting home from work was that it was too hot to ride.  I’ve never liked the heat; I can do something to warm myself (exercise) when cold but there is not much you can do to cool yourself when hot.   Coasting downhill is a fun way to cool oneself though.

Anywho (sic) I started out on my ride.  I got to my first marker and was averaging about 16.6 mph.  A little slow for me, but I started feeling the strength of my legs.  I started cranking.  I was concentrating on spinning those pedals so much I forgot to observe my markers.  I just felt strong.

Berkshire road hill is a good hill for finding out if you are strong or if you’re just feeling strong.  I attacked it.  For a few moments my speed dropped to about 9.8-9.9 mph.  But just for a short distance.  Then I started cranking that da**ed thing like my life depended on it.  I was doing 12 mph.  That’s good.  For such an early ride that’s really good!  I didn’t care about anything but cranking those pedals as fast as I possibly could.  Some might say I was a mad man.  I was really quite possessed.  I didn’t care about my burning lungs or my screaming thighs… I was gonna ride that ***** like a bat out of hell.

At the top my average was15.3 mph.  Quite good for so early in the season.  Spinning classes do help!  I was sure I could increase my average to 15.6 mph or so.  But there was a problem.

It’s called “wind.”  I started fighting a stiff headwind.  I was doing 15.6, 15.8, 16.3 mph, but I just couldn’t hold those speeds long enough to increase my average.  Then to make matters worse, I had another (slight) uphill.  There was one significant downhill where I hoped I could boost my average, but at its bottom inflection point my average was only 15.4 mph.  And from there it was uphill against the wind.

Slowly my speed dropped: 15.3, 15.0, 14.1 mph.  I tried to hold 14 but just could not: 13.5, 13.0.

My average followed, down to 15.2 mph.  But at this point I crested the last hill and jammed it into top gear, cranking hard; ripping my lungs out with each breath.  That’s hyperbole folks.  Makes for some color. 

For the last two miles I was doing 16.5-17.5 mph and got my average back up to 15.3.  I was sweating like a pig, but I was a happy pig: quite pleased.

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