Friday Group Ride #256

Friday Group Ride #256

I wound my way up Sommerset, chasing an appliance repair man in his juddering van. Sommerset was a crappy road before the winter robbed it of its top coat, the snow plows excavating last year’s patches, the frost heaving the lumps and bumps into some kind of rally car nightmare.

I gained on him. It’s not a long hill, and it’s not too steep, but the pitch and terrain conspire to keep your speed down. The repair man’s suspension was taking a beating, but so was I, still in what I’ll call the bronchial phase of my fitness build up, my chest giving way before my legs.

It wasn’t much of a race. He beat me to the top, to the good pavement, and sped off combusting internally, while twenty meters behind I also seemed to combust internally.

I’m fitter than I was even two weeks ago. I’m pushing a bigger gear, climbing a little faster, suffering a little less, but I’m a long way short of 100%. If I had to score it, I’d call it 52%. That’s curiously precise, I realize, but it feels true to me, just more than halfway to peak.

This week’s Group Ride asks where you are, expressed as a percentage. Are you reading from another hemisphere, where summer is rounding into fall? Or are you here in the northwestern quadrant of the globe, where some of us have enjoyed the Pineapple Express, while the rest dealt with the Polar Vortex? I am assuming, of course, that your percentage is tied to your geographical meteorology, when in some cases it’s just about the ebb and flow of motivation. They do seem related though, don’t they?

Photo by Matt O’Keefe

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  1. Kyle V.

    Down here in Tucson, AZ racing just about finishes up in a little over a month. So with my big target of the year being Tour of the Gila I’m sitting at ~90%. Can’t wait for Silver City.

  2. Andrew

    I can’t figure it out yet. I worked hard all winter, tons of intervals and long interval sessions. On the indoor bike I’m pushing bigger watts more easily. My legs log strong and my weight is good. But outside I feel like I am floundering, messing with my seat, just feeling out of sorts. I guess it’s just getting used to outside riding again, but it’s making me wonder if all that indoor work did me any good. Maybe I’m just being neurotic?

  3. Jay

    The winter has been harsh here in Pennsylvania, although not so bad as New England. I would estimate that I am at about 40%. I have missed being out on my bike only about 15 days so far this year, but most of my rides have been too short to really count. Most of the fitness that I have right now is from walking and doing stair intervals indoors. Recent outdoor rides have been encouraging though.

  4. Pat O'Brien

    These Arizona winters really get me down. I didn’t get in many miles when it’s cold. I’m at 70%. Hell, I’m always at 70%. I call it the “zone.”

  5. mechaNICK

    My tights are looser and my jersey tighter, but that’s pretty normal after a Duluth, MN winter. I’d say I’m at 78.5%, if my time on the mile-long climb on my commute home is anything to go by. It feels much worse though… Maybe a longer study is in order.

  6. bryan

    We’ve had 11 feet of snow in Vermont this winter and the average temperature in February was 4 degrees. March hasn’t been much better. I’ve run, skied and snowboarded consistently through the winter. I’ve ridden the trainer in the basement regularly. I feel strong and haven’t had any injuries. And right now riding outside still seems really hard as the roads are beginning to clear and I resume regularly scheduled programming in the saddle. The upside to this, as I look at a backyard that shows much more snow than grass, is that I’m old and mature enough to realize that in a couple weeks I will have worked through cold damp showers and strong north headwinds to the point that my fitness is blooming with the spring. Let’s call it 66% and gaining fast.

  7. Hoshie99

    Team mates are at 90 and have done early season racing, I am at 40%. Low miles, busy at work.
    I look forward to being at 75%. Nuff said.

    1. Luigi

      85% for me. Road season will be heavily concentrated in the early spring with classics trip next week (including Roubaix sportif) then Battenkill (racing in group lower than actual age to help team mates). I’m also in the PA/NJ area with more snow than normal and winter still hanging on. Lots of trainer time and outdoor rides have been fewer and more focused. With nice winters and early springs, I often fall prey to junk miles and enter the season tired and bored with riding. Paradoxically the crappy weather has helped me focus more and get in better shape. My other ‘new’ things this year include continuing lifting 1 – 2 x / week (usually stop in February). I’m using a resistance breather trainer (PowerBreathe). I’m usually skeptical of such things but came across some credible peer-reviewed research that made me spring for it. I have moderate ‘real’ (i.e.spent my childhood blue and wheezy before current generations of meds, not the now-fashionable exercise induced asthma looking for a TUE.) It’s limited my performance to that of pack filler, but the resistance breathing seems to have made a difference and I’m climbing better than ever. No power meter to test objectively, but I hope to now fill the middle or front third of the pack at races. The remaining 15% of potential has not been fulfilled due to the usual masters issues of work stress and my competing loves of great food (couldn’t pass up the wild boar ragu gnocchi and a good Montepulciano the other night) and fitness.

  8. Margaret

    I’ve been focused on rowing all winter so I’d be great at a prologue or TT. Long distances will take some building back into in the next few weeks.

  9. Mark Young

    Compared to 26 years ago when I got married and riding regularly in WA State (80%) to now in Central CA riding weekends (50) feeling like every ride is similar to the climb back to Laguna Seca at the end of Sea Otter, not doing too bad.

  10. Richard Stewart

    Short and sweet (spot) feels akin to as it has in past seasons: Seemingly endless and not all that sweet. Long endurance work feels more like a labor of necessity instead of fueling me to go for an occasional much longer excursion. Aging best serves Super Tuscans and non-Belgian bierres.

  11. Not saying..

    30%. Successful winter in the gym working on core and strength. No base yet. And, as the girl sang, “It’s all about that bass…”

  12. gregorio

    I’m always glad [after the fact!] that I put in hours on the trainer and did a few weeks of strength training during the winter. But like some of the comments above, it’s not until you get on the road that you know your fitness. 300 watts indoors is not the same as 300 watts into the wind. So, all things being equal, I think I’m around 60%. Though I have noticed that getting from 60-80% is easier than going from 80-100%.

  13. Mike C

    The dinner fork vs the pedals. And the winner is. ….
    My knee was killing me early last year and I cut way back in riding until I stopped. Had it repaired in December. Doc said stay off it for a couple of weeks. Got back on the bike with great intentions late Dec. I’ve done three rides since then.
    Nothing is preventing me except lack of motivation.
    To answer the question. Where am I on my fitness?
    About a -300%.
    I can still go and do a 40 mile ride, but my legs and sit bones hate me for days. Time to push through the discomfort and move into at least a little better fitness and less flab.

  14. Pingback: Friday Group Ride #261 | RKP

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