Spinning On Air

Distance: 20.4 miles

Time: 1:09:06

Avg. Speed: 17.73

Weather: 66º, 50% humidity, wind N7, partly cloudy

Song stuck in head: Middle of the Road - The Pretenders

Took a rest day yesterday as I was feeling pretty achy and in particular, was sore just above my right knee when I bent it. I think I also might have bruised a couple of ribs when I had my little spill on Taylor Road.

Today, the goal was to do a REAL spin ride so I targeted my cadence at 110 rpm and my heart rate at 140 bpm or lower. I set out to do a 20 mile out-and-back route (map below) into Boxboro that is about as flat as you can get around here.

It was easier to hit my cadence and HR targets today largely due to some lingering soreness in my legs and so I settled into concentrating on form as I went, focusing on keeping pressure on the pedals all the way around each rotation while holding a good line. If I came to any sort of incline, I shifted down immediately to keep my cadence up. This meant that I was going as slow as 12 mph on some of the rollers I typically crank up at 20 mph or more.

As I rode, I wondered if my hill climbing technique demands too much of my muscles and not enough of my hear/lungs (even though I end up breathing hard anyways). At my current state of fitness, I might do well to try to really spin my way up hills. I'll give it a go tomorrow on Stow Road to find out...

I didn't check my time at my usual waypoints along the way and was fine with that: I was actually spinning my way through the whole ride... until I approached the intersection of Boxboro and West Acton Roads when I saw another cyclist take the turn onto South Acton Road, where I was headed. My first instinct was to just let him go and keep to the plan for this ride.

It didn't take long for me to let the competitive spirit take over and soon enough, I was on the big chainring, pushing my way up to 22 mph across the rollers on S. Acton in the attempt to catch whoever it was ahead of me. He/she was far enough ahead that I would briefly lose sight of them from time to time. I wanted to catch him before Red Acre Road if I could but each time I was able to see him again, the distance between us didn't change so I did a little sprint each time I crested a roller to help put on some additional speed, getting up to 25 mph.

Sadly, by the time he made it to the Red Acre intersection, he went left... I was going right and had not caught up at all so I settled back into my spin regimen which came much easier after the effort I had just put in. 10 minutes later, I was back home.

After a typical ride, I'll park my bike while I take off my helmet, sunglasses and shoes then grab the notebook I record my ride data in. When I start copying down the stats, it's been about 5 minutes since I got off the bike so I take a post-ride heart rate measurement to gauge my ability to recover. Usually, this reading falls between 95 and 100 bpm but today, with the lighter effort, it came in at 80.

NOTE: The title for today's post came from a radio show I used to enjoy when I lived in CT, "Spinning On Air" - and now I see I can listen online!

UPDATE: Upon checking my riding log, my SPIN ride today was faster than the first two NON-spin rides for this course four weeks ago and exactly the same time as the third time I rode the course on May 14. Now that's progress!

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