A good chunk of the Family Bikes shop ride crew went to Frederick yesterday to ride some hills, using a cue sheet that Darren Biggs and some of the DCMTB folks had developed. I've ridden hills up in that area, and I tend to prefer the long, smooth ascents, the roads that you might know from the Civil War Century. These boys, however, cobbled together a route that includes some of the nastiest, steepest pitches I've ever ridden. It was literally the hardest ride I've ever done.
The Powertap tells the tale. 4:20 of riding time, 61 miles. Average power: 214. Normalized Power: 289. Intensity Factor: .89. TSS: 324. The TSS tells you all you need to know, really. I tried to ride within myself on the climbs and keep it just below threshold, so there are a number of 20 and 30 minute periods at 310 watts. The average power would have been much higher, of course, had I not coasted on downhills as much as possible to preserve some energy for the climbs. I've ridden longer and slower, and I've ridden much shorter and more intense rides. But I haven't gone that long, at that level of effort ever before. Although I'm nowhere near race fitness I set personal bests yesterday in 90 minute critical power, and my entire power curve past 2 hours was personal best CP. Shoot, I took the bailout and the easy way back to Frederick on Rt. 40a after mile 50, and even that resulted in a 15 minute climb at 97% of threshold. *That* seemed easy though, because it had miles and miles of 7% standard highway graded road, rather than the 15 and 20% grades we'd been riding on. I spent a couple hours, literally, cruising up hills, sweating hard, panting, staring at my front tire with my head down, going 5 MPH. Amazing hard ride.
[Update: The route package:
OMG to Shepherdstown w/Coxy 82 miles
OMG to Shepherdstown wo/Coxy 78 miles
OMG no Shepherdstown w/Coxy 67 miles
OMG no Shepherdstown bail out 62 miles]
My hat's off to DB and his crew. It was a brutal route, one that I will try to integrate into my early season training next year.