What do I mean by “mission accomplished”? I mean that my friend and training buddy KK now has no option but to believe in his potential to challenge the best riders in the A team at the November CTS Tucson El Tour camp (Ned, we have competition!). KK has been riding for just over a year now but he has progressed a lot in a short period of time.
However, in my opinion, KK has often lacked the motivation to put himself through a lot of pain during short interval training or long sustained efforts. Over the last couple of months KK seemed more at ease with longer but easier rides. Once in a while though, when we ride together, I will push him and when I do, he always puts up impressive power numbers. In particular, I have always felt that KK was seriously underforming in intense one hour efforts – not because he can’t put out the power but because he won’t.
I was very happy when KK decided to join me at the Mount Equinox Hill Climb Race in Vermont. I felt that with the motivation that naturally comes from being in a race vs just training KK would go for it and we would find out exactly how much his one hour power had increased over the last year. The verdict is clear: BY A LOT. Back in May KK was telling me he was shooting for 215 watts average at the Whiteface Hill Climb Race (just over an hour). Yesterday KK averaged 244 watts for an hour. No only did he close the gap on our buddy Steve (in June Steve was 7 minutes faster than Ron going up Whiteface and yesterday they were 19 seconds apart in Equinox) but he came within 3 watts of my average of 247 watts average (over 1:16 hrs) when I dominated the field and was named KOM going up Mount Lemmon at the 2009 CTS El Tour camp in Tucson. And remember, KK and I have the same weight.
So start believing buddy.
Mission accomplished also means that I set a new power record for a 51 minutes effort and that I beat my time goal of 54 minutes by 2:31 mins with an official time of 51:29 mins. Although I finished an unimpressive 63rd out of 142 participants or 23rd out of 37 in the 40-49 age group I was satisfied with my race. At this stage of my “young racing career” I still view these types of events as hard training rides and I mainly focus on gaining experience. Yesterday gave me an opportunity to do exactly that. After the 3 miles marker there was a relatively long and straight section of road which means I could see the riders in front of me. This gave me the motivation to pick up the pace and try to pass as many riders as I could. I also focused more on how I felt than on my power meter. It worked beautifully and I was successful in passing many riders.
After that stretch I settled back into an easier pace just before I could catch a small group of about five riders. And then I made a big mistake. I thought I would try and pass these riders on the very steep section in the last half a mile of the race. Guess what, whenever riders can see the finish they pick up the pace. When these riders saw the finish line they started picking up the pace which meant that I had to pick up the pace just to stay close to the group.
I used my new gear set up (30T chainring in the front with my 28-11 cassette in the back) and averaged 70 RPM, 10 more than at Ascutney. I will be using a 26T in the front in the future which should really make a big difference.
The trip to Vermont was also very special as it was an opportunity to reunite with CTS athlete and Tour of Gila alumni Jamie Riehle. Jamie finished an impressive 12th overall at 42:14 mins and 5th of the 40 to 49 age group. We had a great dinner together on Friday night and even had a glass of red.
Next race is August 21st in Mount Washington.