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March 8, 2011

Today’s ride: 41km—Course for Good Friday RR

Weather: Sunny, cold. Some crosswinds on the escarpment

On Good Friday, there’s an annual road race just outside of town. It runs three laps of an 18km square (square this year; in previous years, it cut into the square a bit. This year, the course will trade a short, nasty climb for some equally tough crosswinds along a long, straight stretch of road) clockwise along 5th Concession Rd., Westover Rd., Safari Rd., and Brock Rd. I’m not sure yet if I’ll take part, but this morning’s ride involved riding the course. It’s a good distance and interesting for an intermediate ride near here. I had meant to do two laps of the course, but stopped for an espresso and got to talking, which cut short the time I had available.

I climbed out of the valley along Brock Rd., feeling marginally better than a couple of weeks ago. The lost weight makes a difference and I felt more willing and able to hop out of the saddle. Beautiful morning. Cold, but sunny. The snow lining the roads made it all the brighter. The aforementioned crosswinds were tough, but I found a fairly good and easy cadence and just found myself enjoying the ride. I’m still trying to find my legs, and between cold and fitness, I’ve not really been pushing the pace too much—rather letting lungs and legs tell me when to ease up or dig in. As my fitness improves, a big part of these rides will involve stretching the limits a bit more each time. Right now, though, feeling winded doesn’t feel good and likely doesn’t help. Especially in the cold.

The attractive feature of the Good Friday course is the ups and downs on a series of local drumlins—small hills. The first—at Westover—is one of my favorites. The banner at the top has me climbing it last fall (in reverse to what I did this morning). It’s short and not too steep, which means you can really attack it. I was spinning in the smaller ring this morning, but I have forced myself up in the big ring on numerous occasions. It’s a great little hill for a rider like me: bigger and stronger, where my power isn’t overcome by my weight and lack of endurance. Down the other side and a nice roll for a couple of kilometers, there’s a small staircase, which is tough if you let it take you by surprise (as I frequently do). The last step is at the turn onto Safari Rd. The last bump on Westover Rd. is pretty steep and there’s no respite, as Safari Rd. is even steeper as you round the corner. At the top, there’s a short descent before two more drumlins, back-to-back. These aren’t so bad, and when fit, I found there was enough time to recover before attacking these smaller hills. The third, especially, is typically okay: there’s a wire fence that runs along the roadside, from about a third of the way up to the top. It’s a good marker for climbing out of the saddle. Typically. Still struggling to find my form, I didn’t handle it particularly well today. Then down and more or less flat the rest of the course, though head- and crosswinds can be unpleasant and the road seems longer than it ought to be.

Back a little stiff, and I lost my rhythm a bit on the return leg (and back home), but managed to pick it back up and descended well into the valley. Home for lunch and then to work…

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