I’d like to start out by saying that the “Espresso Love” flavor of Gu ™ is not love. I am an avid espresso drinker and this is considerably closer to “ass” than what I drink thrice daily, and what I do actually love.
Cara and I have a tall social/music schedule this week so this was probably my only night of cycling. We did a shot of “Espresso Love” (not the real love) and hit the track. Immediately upon entering the park and nearing the merge lane I saw a pack forming and dropped to a low gear to turn a few extra RPM to speed my warmup while I watch the group coming together.
I think our cutoff jeanshort wearing friend upgraded shorts this week and is now sporting some form of Quicksilver surfing shorts or similar. I got a closer look at his bike today and it’s one of those fancypants handmade titanium bikes. If I had unlimited funds I’m not sure what I’d get for my second road bike (the first would be a recently discontinued Breezer Venturi) — maybe I’d get something titanium like a Seven or a Merlin. Though I haven’t gotten my bike on the scales yet, I know it started at 19lbs before I upgraded all of the Specialized parts to Ritchey so with pedals we’re probably 18.5 or so — plenty light to hang with these fast groups.
As soon as the pack lined up about 6 long a guy in a neon orange bike sprinted out ahead but nobody chased — we were already going 21mph which was comfortable enough. In 7/10 of a mile or so we’d be at the hill and could catch him then.
We cruised along nice and easy and slowly started to reel him in and by the bottom of the hill, sure enough, we were right on his back wheel.
The next thing that happened was kind of interesting, nobody wanted to lead up the hill. Everyone was trying to keep their pace but kind of fanning out to the far left and right. Of course I love the hill so I went up the middle and kept it at a steady 18mph. There was the sound of clicking derailers as everyone adjusted. A stout but strong guy caught up to me half way up the hill and gave a huff and put the pedal down as if he owned the hill. We threw a little fuel at our calves and burned over the hill at over 22mph and only slowed to 20 over the top and eased back into that pace for a while. A few lumps over the top two guys who presumably were with me the whole time passed and I tucked in behind their draft. A glace back and I didn’t see anyone.
The third in our group dropped off at the bottom of the hill so we were left with me and a young guy on a bianchi. Since we had broken off the pack which still contained some speed demons I think we both decided to keep the pressure on and gain some more distance over the next few laps. This guy seemed like another racer as we traded pulls pretty frequently — 4-6 per lap in very even intervals. Basically we’d try to keep the pace at 22-23mph and whenever one of us started to slide a little (down to 21) the other would jump in front.
On the hills we’d ride more or less side-by-side keeping each other in our peripheral vision to make sure neither of us was going to try to make a break for it again.
After three laps we shook hands and he was out for the day, leaving me for two cool down laps which on the last one I had to fight off a guy on a fixed gear and a mountain bike (the hill took care of the mountain bike but the fixed gear guy seemed pretty fresh and after a half-lap battle I let him have it).
Today’s average speed was the best of the season so far: 21mph (thanks to a few good pulls by a few strangers). My endurance doesn’t seem to want to let me maintain these speeds for longer than an hour (by which time I’ve burned through a packet of Gu and two water bottles) which makes me wonder if I’m not reaching a theoretical peak for my diet/sleep pattern/ride time logged. We’ll see in the coming weeks, but I’ve never been much for a strict regiment, even though the results are undeniable.